- Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 21:50
- Published on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 21:50
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At 7 p.m. this Friday Westmoreland citizens will have their chance to make comments on the budget proposed for the 12-month period that begins July 1. Action will follow at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 1. Both Board of Supervisors sessions will take place in the A.T. Johnson auditorium.
Additional local funding will offset major reductions in school funding from state and federal sources. An additional $347,956 from county sources will allow the Westmore-land school division to retain its teacher’s aides, middle school assistant principal and pre-kindergarten and algebra readiness programs.
An allocation of $300,000 will be made for non-mandatory programs such as the county’s 4-H program, Little League, Bay Aging, Bay Transit, the County Museum and Bridge House.
“Those are very worthwhile programs,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Woody Hynson said during an April 12 discussion of the budget draft.
The budget proposal provides a breakdown of projected revenues and suggested tax rates. The real estate rate will drop from the current 50 cents per hundred-dollar value to 46 cents in order to offset the jurisdiction’s higher land assessment values. County Administrator Norm Risavi has explained that most property owners’ 2010 real estate tax bills will be essentially the same as the 2009 county tax bills.
According to the proposed values, the county’s general fund revenue will total $20,893,010. As much as $14,148,864 will be derived from property taxes and $2,197,345 will be collected from other local tax streams. Additional locally derived revenues will generate $610,160. State sources will provide $3,701,279 and transfers will provide $235,362.
General government administration is expected to cost $1,975,400 between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011. Judicial administration is allocated $905,999, $4,240,700 is being allocated for public safety purposes, and $2,756.056 will be spent on public works. A non-departmental expenditure is listed at $8,885,520.
The county school division’s operating fund revenue total is $16,749,382, with $7,612,578 coming from local sources, $7,299,215 from the state and $1,596,543 from the federal government. The school division will expend $10,768,482 for instructional purposes.
During the April 12 budget discussion, global, national, state and local economic conditions were readily acknowledged. Chairman Hynson made it clear that no one’s taxes should be raised.
Vice Chairman Darryl Fisher breathed a sigh of relief when essential school division pro-grams and positions were restored without a tax increase.
“I believe we’ve reached the best compromise we can,” Fisher said. “I also believe we are in the most volatile budget era I have ever had to deal with.”
“I’m glad about the progress we have made,” Hynson said. “This is no time to raise any-body’s taxes.”
Risavi said the last four years’ budgets all reflected reductions in county government operating costs.
“We have cut back as much as possible, but we constantly look for new ways to save money,” he explained. He praised the local departments “that traditionally underspend their budgets and return the balance to the county’s general fund.”
According to Risavi, the county government currently has approximately $687,000 set aside in a contingency account.