Dare commissioners create School Capital Investment Fund

Published 11:22 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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While approving the next five-year Capital Improvement Plan, Dare County Board of Commissioners also created a new, separate fund for capital revenue and expenses for Dare County Schools.

The Schools Capital Investment Fund, created Aug. 7, 2023, will receive revenue from sales taxes and lottery money and for the next two fiscal years, the General Capital Investment Fund. Percentages of two sales tax revenue are restricted to school capital expenses as is lottery money.

In a series of budget amendments, the commissioners created a School Capital Investment Fund budget transferring sales tax revenue of $6,771,977 and a fiscal year 2024 contribution from the county’s Capital Investment Fund of $1,622,672.

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The school funds will be spent on debt service and capital improvements approved by the county’s Board of Education of $2,045,000 and local capital outlay of $600,000.

Between 2004 and 2007, Dare County borrowed around $135 million on a building campaign for Dare County schools. After 20 years, that debt begins to melt away. So, by fiscal year 2026, the Schools Capital Investment Fund can handle the remaining debt service, its approved capital improvements plan and local capital outlay. According to information presented to the commissioners, the School Capital Investment fund begins to accumulate fund balance in fiscal year 2026.

In that year, the fund balance will be $1.82 million and lottery funds held by the state of $1.45 million, making a total of $3,267,941 with a total available of $619,178. By fiscal year 2028, the fund balance grows to $7.01 million and lottery funds hit $2.2 million for a total of $9,240,776 with $7.39 million available.

Creating the discrete School Capital Investment Fund reduces the required coverage rate for the General Capital Investment Fund.

At its meeting Aug. 7, 2023, Dare’s commissioners also made several other money moves.

At the previous board meeting, Bill Coleman, executive director of the Outer Banks SPCA, advised that the SPCA had hired a veterinarian to perform simple pet procedures including spay and neutering but needs a surgical room. Coleman’s office will be converted. At this meeting, the commissioners were asked and agreed to fund the purchase of needed equipment at $25,000. If more is needed, the board of SPCA will cover.

The board agreed to send a letter of support for a NCDOT grant application to the United States Department of Transportation for a Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) grant program.

The state transportation department, with support from U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the National Park Service, is seeking funding to “perform comprehensive resiliency planning, alternatives development and evaluation and extensive public and stakeholder engagement” for an 11-mile section from Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe. The study will address the identified hot spots called the Canal Zone and the Pea Island Visitor Center. The state’s program is called Solving Access for NC 12 in Dare County, or SAND.

NCDOT is applying for a $1.865 million grant.

The commissioners adopted a local government resolution approving the application for a grant from the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program in the amount of $25,000, submitted through the Dare County’s Sheriff’s Office.

The board rescinded a grant ordinance amendment adopted July 17, 2023 along with a resolution directing the expenditure of opioid settlement funds. The county’s finance department received direction from NC Department of Justice that a grant project ordinance cannot be used for opioid settlement funds. The board adopted a budget amendment for the $424,188 of settlement funds to be expended in the county. The budget amendment details the six strategy categories for funding.

The commissioners authorized entering a contract in the amount of $1.8 million with Harn RO for the sole source purchase of two nanofiltration water treatment units for the Dare County Skyco Water Treatment Plant. The county manager is directed to sign the agreement. The sole source contract is required for compatibility with the three existing units.

The board also adopted a reimbursement resolution for purchasing public works and information technology equipment. The resolution is necessary because financing in the amount of $2,014,911 has not yet been arranged.