Leftover school funds moved for bus purchases

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023

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Unspent funding from the 2022-2023 city school district’s fiscal year has been approved to be re-appropriated for this upcoming fiscal year. 

During its Wednesday, July 19 meeting at City Hall, Suffolk City Council approved an ordinance to accept and reappropriate $1,665,550 the unspent funds, which moves the money to the 2023-2024 School Operating Fund. The approval came as part of the consent agenda’s approval by Council on an 8-0 vote.

City Manager Albert S. Moor II said the funding will allow Suffolk Public Schools to complete acquisition of 10 school buses and six passenger buses.

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“Adoption of the ordinance will increase the FY 2023-2024 School Operating Fund budget by $1,665,550,” Moor said.

A memo from Superintendent John B. Gordon III, Ph.D., stated that the purchase order for the 10 77-passenger school buses totals $1,211,860, while the 14-passenger buses come in at $453,690. The buses, purchased from Sonny Merryman, may not all be delivered prior to September due to supply chain issues, Gordon noted.

“These buses are needed to replace the buses that were built before 2007 and to transport smaller numbers of students with drivers who do not require a CDL and are more readily employed,” he said.

The ordinance goes on to say that any absent local funds “not lawfully obligated or encumbered” will lapse by the end of the fiscal year and be given back to the city.

Other consent agenda items winning approval include:

  • An ordinance to authorize the City Manager to accept the deed of donation of 0.638 acre strip of land from Fairmac Realty LLC for property between College Drive and future fire station 11 on Hampton Roads Parkway.
  • An ordinance to accept and appropriate $10,080 from the Virginia Department of Forestry Trees for Clean Water Grant for the Suffolk Department of Parks and Recreation. The money will be used to plant native trees and shrubs at Sleepy Hole and Cypress parks.
  • An ordinance to accept and appropriate $170,066 paid by McDonald Development Co. in support of the Westport Commerce Park project. The funds are part of a U.S. 58 corridor water storage tank and water pump station cost participation agreement for this project.
  • An ordinance to increase the local juror fee from $30 to $50 per day in the city’s fee schedule for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
  • An ordinance to appropriate $1.6 million from the General Fund Committed Fund Balance Capital Reserve Fund and to transfer funds to the Capital Projects Fund for the Downtown Implementation Plan project. The money will be used to acquire land in the downtown area.
  • An ordinance to accept and appropriate $4,000 from the Virginia 911 Services Board Public Safety Answering Point Grant Program for the Suffolk Police Department. The funds will go toward public safety communication, education and training for the emergency communication operators.
  • A resolution to adopt the Debris Management Plan, developed to provide the City of Suffolk with a plan to help manage debris generated from natural disasters and public emergencies. It also establishes the framework on how the city will respond and coordinate removal of this debris. In effect since 2008, the plan was revised on June 30, 2023.