Overspending gets attention

As Richmond County school board members look to raise your taxes, they continue to sort through questionable handling of public money.

In a couple of 6-4 votes, board members approved moving money around Thursday to cover overspending by two departments, spending that drew the ire of board members earlier in the week.

On Tuesday, the board learned two budgets had overspent by $850,000 - $205,000 from the print shop and $645,000 from the Title I Department.

To cover the overspending in Title I, the board dipped into the School Nutrition Department's budget Thursday.

"The general fund has absorbed these expenditures, but we're also recommending bringing in the revenue to cover it," Controller Gene Spires told board members.

To make up for the overspending in the print shop, the board transferred money from its natural gas account. Mr. Spires said the account had about $500,000 in it, largely because of the mild winter, which led to the lower cost to heat the schools.

The financial dealing didn't sit well with some board members, including school board Vice President Joe Scott who wanted to know how the overspending could occur.

Board members are hoping that Dana Bedden will clean up some of the financial mess that recently has come to light.

Dr. Bedden is the board's choice to be superintendent, but the two sides haven't settled on a contract.

By law, the board must hold three public hearings to give residents the opportunity to comment on raising millage above the rollback rate. No one showed up to either hearing this week.

The final hearing will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday at the board's central offices, 864 Broad St., followed by a meeting to approve the millage.

Under the proposal, the owner of a $100,000 house would pay $6.62 more in taxes.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

BUDGETS IN THE RED

DEPARTMENTOVERSPENTSOLUTION
Print Shop$205,000Transferred money from
the natural gas account
Title I$645,000Transferred money from the school
nutrition program

Source: Richmond County Board of Education