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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Folks in New Hanover County got to voice their opinions about the county’s proposed budget Monday night. During a County Commissioners meeting, nearly an hour was allotted to residents who wanted amendments to the budget.

Funding for education was one of the main issues discussed. Tim Markley, the New Hanover County Schools superintendent, requested $1 million for their operating budget, the same amount that was allotted last year.

“We’re looking at a $17 million shortfall,” Markley said. “That $1 million is not going to fill that entire shortfall, but it will help us save some positions, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

County Commission Chair Jonathan Barfield said he would be willing to give New Hanover County chools $600,000 instead of the $1 million, and would like to see the district use its money more wisely.

“You’ve got to be a better steward of tax payers’ dollars,” Barfield said. “We have schools that are understaffed in terms of students, but we have some schools that have an abundance of trailers. That lets me know that you’re not distributing the students in a proper manner.”

Barfield said he was shocked that the only school board member to attend was Elizabeth Redenbaugh, who was recognized at the beginning of the meeting for her recent “Profile in Courage Award.”

Bradley Coxe spoke on behalf of the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross. He says as of now, no money is being provided by the county even though the organization has requested funding for several years. Coxe says there are several things the money could help provide.

“These are things like food, shelter, blankets, medicine, anything that they need during that disaster,” Coxe said.

The County Commission will vote on the proposed budget plan at its next meeting June 20.

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