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Hearing next week on proposed budget

The King George Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the county’s proposed 2013-14 budget at next week’s meeting on Tuesday, April 16, scheduled for 6:45 p.m.

The county’s total proposed expenditures would be $65,489,552 including $35,603,036 for the School Board operating fund.

TAX RATES
County administrator Travis Quesenberry proposed a budget with no tax increases, with guidance from supervisors. The budget proposal would keep taxes level with no change in any rates.

The current and proposed advertised real estate/mobile home tax rate is 53 cents per $100 valuation. Personal property taxes are advertised at the current $3.20 with machinery & tools taxed at $2.50, both assessed per $100 of assessed valuation.

An annual local government budget cannot be adopted until at least a week after its public hearing. But a tax rate can be adopted at any time if there is no increase.

A higher tax rate than advertised could only be adopted if the Board re-authorized advertisement of new, higher rates, and held another public hearing on any proposed higher rates, along with amendments to the budget.

Under state law, the governing body must adopt a budget for the School Board by May 1. A meeting to adopt a 2013-14 budget is set for April 23.

BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS
The county will provide 1-percent pay increases across the board to county employees, including those who are under the Constitutional officers and the Registrar and her employees.

One part-time position would be added in the General Properties department for custodial maintenance at the expanded library building. Six new EMS positions would be hired mid-year. Those EMS positions would provide around-the-clock staffing of the Fairview Beach Firehouse, which is currently not staffed by paid personnel.

Adjustments were made to fire and rescue costs for overtime due to re-calculation and rolling shift differential. And there is a proposed increase in ambulance rates charged to insurance companies and Medicare that is projected to bring in an additional $321,000 annually.

Funding is proposed to upgrade two part-time animal control positions to full-time.

While taxes are not being raised, real estate revenue and other local taxes are projected to increase by about 4 percent.

Other changes include: Employees to pay their share of the health insurance increase.

There will be a transfer of $100,000 from the General Fund balance for one-time equipment purchases.
Outside agency funding was scrubbed and re-scrubbed to achieve a reduction of about $48,000. Supervisors also avoided raising taxes by instead agreeing to transfer upwards of $300,000 from a ‘stabilization fund’ set up a few years ago for emergencies to keep taxes stable.

SCHOOL BOARD FUNDING
The School Board’s operating fund budget is proposed at $35,603,036. That amount is $1.46 million more than the current year’s approved budget for schools, currently set at $34,140,836 for 2012-13.

That does not include the Cafeteria Fund nor the amount transferred back to the county to cover debt service costs for schools that have been constructed, which totals just under $4 million.

Under the county’s advertised proposed budget, the School Board and Superintendent Rob Benson will have to make some cuts from their proposed request of $36,540,244.

That request contained funding for two new central office positions and three instructional aides, in addition to 2-percent raises for all employees. That compares to the 1-percent that county employees would get under the proposed budget.

The school division will have two months to line up a budget with the final funding amount, with amounts to be requested for the state categories. Appropriations are slated to be made in the end of June by the Board of Supervisors.

The minimum amount of local funding required under the state’s Standards of Quality (SOQs) for an average daily attendance (ADM) estimated at 4,100 students for next year is $8,973,038.

The county’s budget proposal for schools for 2013-14 would be $14,349,353 in local county funding, which is $5.37 million over the minimum required by the state.

BUDGET HEARING SET FOR APRIL 16
Public hearings on the proposed 2013-14 budget and tax rates will take place at next week’s meeting on April 16. The hearing will take place in the Revercomb administration building located behind the Courthouse on Route 3 (Kings Hwy). The board meeting room is located on the main floor.

A final budget is slated to be adopted the following week, on April 23, at a special meeting scheduled at 4 p.m. The budget timeline provides for appropriations to take place on June 25, prior to the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

Phyllis Cook

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