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Budget Amendments Get Unanimous Board Support

CUMBERLAND — Although the Cumberland Board of Supervisors barely passed the 2014-2015 budget, with only two supervisors supporting it, they were able to unanimously approve amendments to the current budget, tying up loose strings for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

To end the year in the black, the board voted to pull just over $200,000 from reserve funds during their June 10 meeting. The majority of the money — roughly $160,000 — was needed to cover the increased cost to house prisoners at Piedmont Regional Jail. The remaining $40,000 was to pay a bill to the company that conducted last year’s reassessment.

Because Pearson’s Appraisal Service, Inc. had a slow start, they did not bill the County last fiscal year, when the money was originally budgeted, so staff was simply requesting the money be pulled into the current year, County Administrator and Attorney Vivian Giles explained.

As for the jail, in all, the County spent roughly $250,000 to house prisoners during the past year. They had budgeted only $92,000.

But, it wasn’t all bad news.

The County may not need all of the $200,000 to balance the budget, Giles told the board, although she hated to count her chickens before they were hatched. The tax-rate adopted by the board two months ago was expected to decrease real estate tax revenue for the County. But, “We’re pretty much on target and OK,” she told the board. To be safe, she requested the board make the amendments.

Supervisor Bill Osl, District One, also pointed out that, overall, many expenditures for the County are considerably less than what was budgeted.

Chairman Lloyd Banks also added to the good news, saying he’d spoken with the treasurer and revenue was up $100,000 more than expected. There has also been an increase in delinquent tax payments. Banks said, that according to the treasurer, the County was “in a comfortable position” regarding the amount of money it had on hand.

In summation, Banks told those gathered at the Tuesday night meeting that the board was amending the budget to add the $200,000, with the idea that they may not need to use it.

Following a motion by Supervisor Parker Wheeler, District Five, the board approved the budget amendments unanimously. They then unanimously voted to appropriate the funds, allowing them to be used.

During the meeting, the board also approved $1,373,464.70 in budget transfers. The internal transfers moved excess money from departments that had experienced a savings over the course of the 2013-2014 fiscal year and deposited it into accounts that were over budget.

VRS

The County finance director recommended and the board unanimously approved the certified rate of 9.75 percent for the Virginia Retirement System. Their action determined the percentage of an employee’s salary that will be contributed to their retirement account by the County. Employees pay five percent of their salary into the retirement system.

The rate was lower than last year’s, which only happened in a few other localities, Tracie Wright, director of accounting, told the board. Most localities saw an increase.

There was an option for an even lower rate, but Giles also recommended they use the higher of the two, the 9.75 percent rate, to ensure they did not underfund the retirement accounts and have to increase their contribution down the road.

Criminal Justice Academy

The board unanimously approved amendments to the Central Virginia Criminal Justice Academy charter. The revised charter did not impact how the County interacted with the academy, but only adjusted the inner workings of the academy’s board, Giles explained.