New Martinsville City Council to discuss school funding request at next meeting

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

MARTINSVILLE (WSLS 10) - Martinsville's new council members and mayor are officially sworn in and they already have a couple of big issues to tackle.

One is figuring out what to do about a request from the city's school district to get back money left over from its 2016 fiscal year budget.

The amount of money in question is about $660,000.

That's what the school district had left at the end of its 2016 fiscal year budget and that is, then, what the district gave back to the city.

Now, the school district is asking for the city to return that money in order for the district to pay out the remainder of the previous superintend's salary and cover an unexpected shortfall in state funding due to lower than anticipated enrollment this year.

The problem is, the city now needs the money to balance its budget.

If the city gives the money back, that would put the city's budget in about a $370,000 hole for the upcoming fiscal year.

"The city manager and the school folks are going to sit down and look at the budget issues and what the impact are," said Mayor Gene Teague. "That's going to be one of the topics at our next council meeting."

Councilwoman Sharon Brooks Hodge emphasized Tuesday that the city previously promised the school district the money back, so she has no problem giving it back.

As for the deficit the city would be in, she said the city's revenue source would have to be closely examined.

"We have to look at revenue and part of the revenue includes our wastewater treatment plant and we've already committed to $28 million for renovations, but we have not been able to come to terms with Henry County on their portion of it," Hodge pointed out.

The next council meeting is scheduled for January 10.

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