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At least $4.3 million in additional Federal Impact Aid funds could help York County schools pay for needed capital projects.
York County Administrator Neil Morgan addressed the anticipated surplus Tuesday during a Board of Supervisors work session after Superintendent Victor Shandor notified him of substantial payments being received in the past few weeks over the budgeted amount from Impact Aid.
The federal government disburses funds through Impact Aid to local school divisions as reimbursement for additional expenses incurred as a result of federal activities, such as the presence of the Naval Weapons Station in the county.
Morgan said the funds could be used in a number of ways and will be discussed between the two staffs and boards in the future.
The funds are anticipated at the end of the fiscal year in June and may amount to more than the current projections.
Morgan’s initial glance at using the funds includes boosting the county’s Capital Improvements Program.
Morgan’s proposed CIP for the next six years comes with $96.2 million in reductions from the previous plan, which he believes is a more realistic level making future projects more obtainable. The reductions include $22.1 million from schools for capital projects.
“While we’ve taken it about as far as we can with our current revenue base, we’re going to have to do more in the future,” Morgan said.
With a portion of the funds, the county could create a capital reserves fund for the school division, which would help the county be more aggressive and flexible in the capital budget in the next two or three years, Morgan said.
Additionally, another portion of the surplus could go into the Impact Aid reserve fund, which helps supplement the school’s operating budget. About $5 million is currently in the fund.
The county requested and county staff proposed using $900,000 from the Impact Aid reserves for the next fiscal year’s budget for that purpose. Morgan said he supported the transfer because federal funds appear to be remaining in the pipeline.
One scenario could also place $2 million in capital reserves to purchase land for the new elementary school, which was proposed to alleviate overcrowding at York and Magruder elementary schools.
The school’s CIP includes $3.5 million in fiscal 2017 for site acquisition and architecture with $2 million going toward the site.
If the county does not have to purchase land, the funds could be used on the $1.5 million anticipated cost for architecture, ultimately freeing up $2 million in the CIP for other needed renovation and repair projects.
The school division has already anticipated 23 HVAC replacement projects needed through the six-year CIP and beyond, totaling $35.17 million, as well as 18 roof repair and replacement projects for $16.7 million and more than 50 additional projects, including locker room renovations, parking lot repaving and reorienting main offices for security purposes among others.
“The really good news is we have this significant cash federal impact aid resource that even at the time I proposed my budget I didn’t know about,” Morgan said.