By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
Even as Hoke County departments continue providing services during the COVID-19 emergency, county officials are also continuing the work of putting together the county budget and completing the yearly audit.
County department heads turned in their budget proposals to Hoke County Manager Letitia Edens by the end of March. Now Edens and county finance staff are working on a draft manager’s budget. Edens updated the Hoke County Board of Commissioners Monday about the progress during the regularly scheduled commission meeting.
The meeting took place in the commissioners’ room at the Pratt Building in Raeford, with extra precautions: commissioners sat farther apart than usual to maintain social distancing, and only a limited number of people could be inside the room at one time. People waiting to be called before the board were seated outside in one of two waiting areas.
The budget work is well underway, and Edens said she plans to have a draft budget proposal for the 2020-2021 fiscal year ready for review by June 1. The commissioners requested that county staff begin scheduling in advance the budget workshops.
Typically the workshops involve commissioners meeting with representatives from each county department to hear their budget requests. However, due to the coronavirus, the meeting process could take longer than usual, commissioners said.
Meanwhile, the county finance office continues working with its contracted independent auditing team to complete the required yearly financial audit.
In other business, the commissioners approved a six-item consent agenda, including an agreement between the Hoke Area Transit Service (HATS) and Teen Court; budget amendments for the finance office, and contracts for copier/printer leases with Dex Imaging.
In further business, the board took the following action:
•Tabled discussion of a potential “piggyback” agreement for HATS that would allow other entities to join in on an already-approved request for proposals; tabled pending further investigation by the county attorney.
•Tabled a possible $200,000 zero-interest loan to SunPath from the county’s revolving loan fund for business development; tabled pending further discussion with SunPath
•Approved a resolution to accept an offer of a $7,000 bid for surplus county property at 150 Windlock Drive.
The board did not hold a closed session and adjourned.