PE Supervisors Look To Budget

Published 4:27 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2012

PRINCE EDWARD – Supervisors sat down with County Administrator Wade Bartlett for a February 3 budget work session and discussed some preliminary issues in budget development.

The board has months to agree on funding and other issues. From revenues to salaries, the board touched on a number of areas that could serve as the framework for the county administrator's budget development including trying to hold the rates of all taxes and fees level.

Among other highlights:

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*Revenues are above budget projections this year in several of the County's major categories. Real Estate is expected to be up a “minor amount,” as compared to personal property, which is anticipated to be a significant amount with car values holding higher than thought and more vehicles.

*The VRS (Virginia Retirement System) rate is expected to go up, which means an increase of about $70,000 (a figure that does not include the Department of Social Services).

*On the plus side, the current fiscal year marks the last of the scheduled payment to the Town of Farmville for the lease of the parking lot, a savings of $66,700.

“…Basically, what I'm saying is the revenues and the expenditures are pretty flat,” Bartlett summed up, “except for one case, and that's debt service. That's gonna go up about $250,000.”

*The board discussed what should be included for school funding. The school board, faced with declining enrollment and fewer state dollars, would need $2.2 million more local funds to bridge the budget gap.

Leigh District Supervisor Don Gantt suggested they wait to see what the General Assembly comes up with, offering that he thinks the governor's budget is going to be amended and that they would see more money. Bartlett noted the General Assembly can make changes in the VRS and have done so in the past.

*Following some discussion, the majority of the board appeared to agree to look to level fund charitable donations. Should there be any new requests, they will be forwarded to the board.

*Supervisors also indicated a desire to level fund fire and rescue departments.

*And the board will at least begin by looking at a raise up to 3.6 percent for county employees but also weigh the X-factor of revenue and have the option of reducing the figure. (Supervisor Gantt reminded the board that they are already spent $70,000 additional in VRS benefits. The five percent they're already paying into the VRS, he also cited, is significant.)

Other Issues

*Farmville District (701) Supervisor Jim Wilck asked if he had reached some sort of an agreement with Social Services on their request for more space. A committee, it was noted, is going to make a recommendation at the Board's February 14 meeting. Bartlett also cited that they are not going to get any more money from the state. They have, he detailed, as much space as they need by the state guidelines.

*Supervisors also discussed replacing additional vehicles for the sheriff's department. At one time, Leigh District Supervisor Don Gantt cited, they were switching out three-four cars a year and it got cut back to two. He noted that looking at what they have, that it would be a bad idea to try to add a couple of more to the budget.

Bartlett noted that the use of forfeited assets may help.

*It was noted that other departments are in need of vehicles as well, including the building inspector and planner. Vehicles used by animal control and the biosolids inspector are also getting old. Bartlett later noted that they will look at their County fleet in the next two to three weeks and may be able to use some of the old sheriff's vehicles.

*The county administrator cited that they are going to have to replace some computers, noting that the state is not giving any money for any of the constitutional offices for equipment. Bartlett also cited that they have many computers that are seven to eight years old.