a quarter-million more for montgomery?regional brief
ment openness. The county does not haveits checkbook, contracts, future liability forretirees, Capital Improvement Plan, num-ber of employees, audit reports, salaries of employees by job code, nor the Comprehen-sive Annual Financial Report available online.Nowhere on the county’s web site is there evena mention that the sales tax vote will occur onNovember 8. Voters have to go the Montgom-ery County Schools web site for that.
Since the special county taxing authoritywas established by the legislature in 2007, vot-ers have turned down 82 of 101 requests fortax increases (on either sales or land-transfertaxes),
sending the message that county com-missioners must be more responsible stewardsof taxpayers’ hard-earned money before vot-ers will entrust them with tax increases. Bytheir votes on this referendum, Montgom-ery County voters can demonstrate whethercounty commissioners have earned their trustor still have work to do.
Proponents of the tax increase claimthat “Montgomery County Schools has notreceived any funding for capital/building needs in the last three years.”
It is true thatMontgomery County has not received
state cor- porate tax revenue
for the last three years. In fact,no school district in North Carolina has accessto these funds. In 2009, Democratic leaders inthe N.C. General Assembly redirected corpo-rate tax revenue from the Public School Build-ing Capital Fund to the state’s General Fund.
Republicans retained this practice in the cur-rent state budget.Nevertheless, schools districts continue toreceive thousands of dollars for school facili-ties improvements and debt service thanks tothe N.C. Education Lottery (see Table 1).
Currently, the state sets aside 65 percent of lottery revenue for prizes and administrativeexpenses. School districts receive part of theremaining 35 percent. Of the school districtportion, the state allocates 40 percent forschool facilities, which accounts for approxi-mately 14 percent of total lottery revenue.In terms of aggregate facilities dollars fromthe lottery, North Carolina’s school districtsshared nearly $146 million in lottery revenuelast year, and over $710 million since the startof the lottery in 2006.
Since 2006, the Montgomery CountySchools system has received $1.9 million inlottery funds earmarked for school facilities. In2007, the school district used nearly $880,000in lottery funds to pay the debt service on anelementary school and added over $412,000toward that effort in April 2011. As of Sep-tember 27, the district had nearly $661,000in lottery revenue available – over twice theamount of the annual estimated revenue thatthe county would receive from the proposedquarter-cent hike in the sales tax (see Table1).
Lottery funds and interest accrued onunused funds will continue to add capital dol-lars to the unallocated balance. According toprojections by the N.C. Department of PublicInstruction, Montgomery County Schools will
Table 1. State Facilities Funding, Montgomery County Schools, 2006–12
Fiscal Year Corporate Tax Revenue Project Allocation
Unallocated Balance Lottery Revenue Project AllocationUnallocated Balance
As of September 27, 2011.