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Granville board passes budget; no tax increases included

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OXFORD — The Granville County Board of Commissioners officially signed off on its 2019-2020 budget during its Monday meeting.

Granville County residents will not see an increase in their taxes this year. Around $25 million of the budget will go toward education while human services (social, veteran, senior and health services) gets $14.5 million. Public safety is budgeted to receive $12.9 million.

The board approved the budget, which goes into effect July 1, by a unanimous vote. Commissioner Owen Roberts was the only commissioner not in attendance for the vote.

Also during its Monday meeting, the board approved support for a resolution against State House Bill 971, which would privatize the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control. The bill would allow a minimum of 1,500 permits to be distributed to retail businesses, such as grocery stores, authorizes liquor sales between 7 a.m.-2 a.m., and paves the way for businesses to ship liquor directly to individuals in and out of the state.

“I personally think this is the one of the mistakes in Raleigh (state legislators) make from time to time,” Commissioner Edgar Smoak said. “If you have a system that’s working, why mess with it? There’s no way they’re going to do that and not cause quite a bit of upheaval not just here but across the state.”

Board Chair Zelodis Jay agreed, saying his fear if this bill passed would be a rise of “pop-up stores selling liquor.”

In other business, the outgoing chair of the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council made his annual report and warned the board about upcoming challenges in funding and state law changes that would require additional funding.

Art Beeler, who has been a rotating chair/co-chair for the last five years, said that while juvenile crime and juvenile facility population is down, diversion programs provided by the JCPC are a “double-edged sword.”

“We no longer have a hook to make people work in the programs,” Beeler said to the board. “Most of the kids we go to must have parental supervision.”

Beeler also cited the lack of funding toward more sophisticated programs to help juveniles who may suffer from addiction or mental illness.

“When you have $170,000 to spend on programs, that money doesn’t go very far,” he said. “And in the last seven years I’ve been associated with the JCPC, the cost of programs have only gone up.”

Beeler added that if JCPC funding — which the board funds 20 percent of — remains stagnate, he foresees JCPC becoming less effective over time.

The next Granville County Board of Commissioners regular meeting is scheduled for June 17 at 7 p.m. at the Granville County Expo and Convention Center, 4185 U.S. Highway 15 S., Oxford.