Bedford courts to spend more

Highway construction, decrease in traffic violations cited for lost revenue

BEDFORD — While Bedford County’s courts and finance departments anticipate spending more in 2019, veterans affairs and children and youth services project spending less.

President Judge Thomas Ling requested $341,265 for next year compared to $325,361 in 2018. He said both the courts of Magisterial District Judges Tonya Osman and Kathy Calhoun experienced drops in revenue, which Ling attributed to highway construction and a decrease in traffic violations.

In 2017, Osman’s office brought in $83,532 in revenue but is expected to bring in $65,000 this year. For her office, a total budget of $79,888 was requested for 2019, a slight increase from this year’s budget. In 2017, Calhoun’s office brought in $226,521 in revenue but anticipates bringing in about $35,000 less. Her proposed 2019 budget request is $192,850, a couple thousand dollars more than what is budgeted for this year.

For Judge Cyril Bingham Jr.’s court, a total budget of $65,748 was requested compared to the 2018’s $60,598. For Judge Brian Baker’s court, the proposed total budget amounts to $46,000, a comparable amount to this year’s budget.

Domestic relations asked for about $13,000 less or $327,600 for 2019. The probation office requested $510,723 or about $40,000 more, which is mostly attributed to proposed staff wage increases and capital purchases.

The county’s finance department anticipates spending $204,035 in 2019 compared to the $148,450 budgeted for this year. The increase includes staff raises and a software program for employees to enter their time, which costs an estimated $35,000 to $40,000.

Veterans Affairs requested less for 2019. The proposed budget of $79,428 is down $11,000 from this year. A majority of the decrease is because of a drop in veterans’ burial expenses from an estimated $25,000 to $13,000. There were 58 headstones last year and 38 headstones this year so far, according to the director, Barbara Cheke.

Children and Youth Services requested $4,458,324 from the county. But with anticipated incoming state funding, the county would pay approximately $565,468 next year. Last year, the county’s general fund contributed $620,538.29 to the department, spending close to $47,000 less than what was budgeted.