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Proposed budget to get hearing next week

The King George Board of Supervisors will hold public hearings next week on April 17 to take comment on a proposed 2012-13 budget that totals $62,419,950.

The board also wants to hear what people have to say about a possible real estate tax increase of up to four-cents per $100 valuation that was advertised on a split vote of 3-2.

Ruby Brabo lead the charge on that potential hike, with Cedell Brooks and John LoBuglio agreeing.  Joe Grzeika and Dale Sisson voted against the possibility of an increase that high.  (See related article elsewhere in this issue.)

At last week’s meeting on April 3, county administrator Travis Quesenberry proposed his recommended budget that had been massaged by Supervisors at several meetings since the

beginning of the calendar year. Quesenberry and his staff started working on it last fall.

Quesenberry said the budget “attempts to maintain core, essential services, both external and internal, provided by the county government in the face of limited financial resources.”
He said the proposal was balanced by the addition of a proposed three-cent real estate tax increase, along with $600,900 of undesignated fund balance.

As noted above, Supervisors left the door open to raise it even higher to a potential four-cent increase on the real estate tax per $100 valuation. Each one cent on the real estate tax is estimated to bring in about $256,000.

Quesenberry stated, “The Board of Supervisors is aware of the impact the slowing economy and State mandates has had on revenues for FY2011-2012.  This trend is continuing with the revenue projections for FY2012-2013.”

The $62.4 million total budget proposal represents a one percent increase over the current fiscal year’s adopted budget.  More than half of that total is earmarked for public school education to be expended by the School Board.

SCHOOL BOARD BUDGET REQUEST
The School Board requested an operating budget of $35,049,106, wanting $14,347,399 in local funds, to go along with an anticipated $18,771,203 in state funds, $1,680,504 in federal funds, and $250,000 in other funds, based on an average daily membership (ADM) of 4,049 students, more than a 100 fewer than the current year’s budget.

Quesenberry pointed out that his proposal would provide $33,973,107 to the School Board for its operating budget, with $13,271,400 in local funds, $18,771,203 in state funds, $1,680,504 in Federal funds, and $250,000 in other funding.

He said, “The key change to the original requested amount is a reduction in the amount of local funding provided for costs associated with the Virginia Retirement System. Although the amount of local funding in the proposed budget is $1,075,999 less than the amount requested by the School Board, the amount of local funding proposed is $1,163,564 more than the School Board received in FY2011-2012, and $4,524,783 more than the required local effort (RLE).

PROPOSED BUDGET
Quesenberry noted that the original departmental expenditure requests were reduced through a series of reviews by department heads and Constitutional Officers with himself and Donita Harper, deputy county administrator. Some of the highlights of the changes are listed below.

Decreased capital project debt service as a result of restructuring debt was ($100,000), a decrease of approximately 3%.

County employee health insurance premiums are unchanged.

New fund was created for Tourism based on the State Code, with three-percent of the Transient Occupancy Tax to be used for Tourism related activities, with $79,200 transferred.
Increased funding for Line of Duty totaling $11,000.

Increases for maintenance service contracts, fuel, utilities, replacement equipment, and other fixed expenditures.

Funding for Comprehensive Services Act program increased by 12 percent, from $1,700,000 to $1,900,000, with the county’s share going up by $74,000.
Five replacement vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office is included at $140,000.

No staff furloughs or layoffs and maintains existing employee benefits.  

Contribution to the Rappahannock Regional Jail increased by $76,000 and contribution to the Rappahannock Juvenile Detention Facility increased by $7,800.

Contributions to other outside agencies held to the same funding amounts, or less, as FY2011-2012. However, funding for Fredericksburg Regional Transit (FRED), Rappahannock Refuge (Hope House), and Rappahannock Area CASA has been eliminated, resulting in a reduction of $105,000.

One new outside agency contribution added for Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center in the amount of $1,000.

The proposed County budget includes a $176,000 increase in the funding for the Virginia Retirement System.

No transfer to the Capital Projects Fund from the General Fund.

Transfer from General Fund balance of $600,900, which includes $426,700 to pay off the Economic Development Authority debt and $174,200 for a portion of the real estate reassessment cost.

PUBLIC HEARING
The Board of Supervisors has scheduled public hearings to take comments on both the proposed budget and the potential tax increase of as much as four cents on the real estate rate. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, April 17, in the ground floor board room in the Revercomb Administration building, located behind the Courthouse. The hearings are slated to begin at 6:45 p.m.

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