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Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

King George Supervisors discuss 2014-15 budgeting process

The King George Board of Supervisors met this week for its first budget meeting to discuss its general process for proceeding with upcoming fiscal decisions for 2014-15.

Chairman Joe Grzeika kicked off the two-hour session saying it would provide a generic view of the budget and the Board would hear from a couple of the primary contributors to the budget, with more to come at future sessions.

The meeting was also intended to provide some budget guidance for the county administrator and finance staff to enable them to put some finishing touches on a budget proposal under development.

The next budget meeting is scheduled for Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. at a location to be determined.

This week’s budget meeting took place on Feb. 11, with the School Board also meeting separately the same evening and agreeing to attend the county’s next budget session to provide an overview of its budget request for next year.

Fire & Rescue is expected to also provide a presentation at an upcoming budget session, with presentations also expected from the county department of Human Resources and from the Electoral Board. Travis Quesenberry, county administrator, also said budget books would be distributed at a future budget work session.

BUDGET STARTING POINT      
Quesenberry provided an overview of the current year’s budget as a starting point for next year’s.

Quesenberry said of the current year budget of $65,489,551, that 56.6 percent goes to the School Board, with 11.3 percent toward public safety, including Sheriff, E-911, Fire & Rescue and Animal Control. Debt Service is 10 percent, with 6.4 percent going to Social Services, 3.1 percent toward Constitutional Officers, Courts and the Registrar.

He noted those five categories add up to 87.4 percent of the current year budget.

In addition, 2 percent goes to General Properties, 1.7 percent toward the Rappahannock Regional Jail and Juvenile Detention, 1 percent to outside agencies, the Virginia Department of Health, and VPI Extension.
The Capital Improvement Fund makes up 0.9 percent, the Smoot Library gets 0.8 percent, with 0.12 percent toward the Tourism Fund.

Those, with the first five categories, add up to 93.9 percent of the current year budget, with the remaining 6.1 percent going toward costs for the Board of Supervisors, County Administration, County Attorney, Human Resources, Information Technology, Landfill, Engineering and Inspections, Parks and Recreation & the Citizen Center, Community Development, Economic Development, and Contingency.

Quesenberry said he had directed as in the past that department heads and agencies use the previous year’s ending budget amount as their starting point for building the next year’s budget request. He also said they were informed that part-time employees would be limited to 29 hours per week, as per action previously taken by the Board of Supervisors.

Quesenberry said there would be a request to upgrade two positions in general properties from part-time to full-time, along with an increase projected for health insurance costs, with firm numbers yet to be obtained from providers.

Supervisors listened to presentations with some discussion taking place but no decisions made at this point in the process.

WORK SESSION HIGHLIGHTS    
~ SHERIFF     Sheriff Steve Dempsey was on the agenda and discussed his request for six new positions, including two deputies and four communication officers for dispatch. He provided details on increased need to justify the positions. The Sheriff’s budget pages were distributed, indicating that his total budget request would ask for an increase of $522,000 over the current year’s budget.

~ COUNTY ATTORNEY      County Attorney Eric Gregory presented his request for a new position for a paraprofessional for his office providing details of the rationale for the needed position. His budget pages were distributed, indicating that his total budget request would ask for an increase of $690,000.

~ OUTSIDE AGENCIES      Supervisors spent time reviewing outside agency requests, coming to concurrence to direct staff to bring back more information about the requests and to categorize them to indicate which are optional, those that have a regional component, and the ones that are non-discretionary and required to be funded.

~ COMMUNITY COLLEGES     Supervisors concurred with Grzeika to ask that more information be obtained by Quesenberry about the need to continue to provide financial support for both of the community colleges, Germanna and Rappahannock Community College. The board’s desire is to only contribute to one, though there are arguments that county residents utilize both institutions providing higher education services.

~ TOURISM FUND BUDGET    There was a great deal of discussion about which items might be funded under the relatively small amount of $79,600 required to fund tourism as part of the transient occupancy tax revenue.

EQUALIZATION OF TAX RATES
Supervisors agreed that they wanted to go forward to be provided an equalized tax rate from the results of the reassessment process undertaken last calendar year.

The reassessment process resulted in a 4 percent lower valuation for total property assessments across of the county, which will affect an equalized tax rate to be calculated.

Phyllis Cook

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