PE Supervisors Talk County Issues

Published 1:25 pm Thursday, July 16, 2015

PRINCE EDWARD — County supervisors presented a detailed state of the county report Tuesday night. Each of eight members took turns reading the report that dealt with a range of issues – from a financial analysis and economic development to reassessment and the public schools.

The full texts of the report can be viewed at Among the highlights:

• The county is “in a solid financial position,” the report says. As of June 30, there is a cash balance of $10.4 million. However, almost $8 million of that amount is needed for cash flow or is restricted. It is estimated that there would be $1.4 million in unrestricted cash next June.

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• Two hundred and forty-five new jobs were created in the county (which also includes Farmville), and there was a net gain of seven businesses.

• There are 200 volunteer firefighters and 80 Emergency Medical Services members serving the county. The County provides more than $600,000 to the seven volunteer fire departments and four rescue squads.

• The Sheriff’s Department answered 8,152 calls for service in 2014, made 3,875 arrests, served 2,736 uniform summonses, 2,735 traffic summonses, 8,587 civil papers and ran 446 transports.

• The County is expected to spend almost $1.3 million to house prisoners at the Piedmont Regional Jail. The jail is housing approximately 130 federal inmates, 85 from Culpepper and 50 from Powhatan, which helps to fund the operation. The jail still has the lowest cost per inmate of any jail in the state.

• The county spends approximately $1.2 million annually operating the landfill and “convenience,” or garbage dropoff, sites. Historically the County has constructed a new landfill cell every three or four years, but with less waste, better compaction rates and oversight of daily ground covered by the operator, it has been almost eight years since the last cell was constructed. A cell will need to be built next summer, at an estimated cost of $1.4 million. While there should be no impact on taxpayers, in the next 10 years the County will have to expend several million dollars to complete final closure on three landfill cells. It has been estimated that by 2023 the County will have expended all of the reserves in the landfill construction fund and need an additional $1.1 million, a figure that would increase almost $4 million by 2027.

• Real estate values fell almost 8 percent with the reassessment.  The 49-cent real estate tax rate approved for the current fiscal year represents a tax decrease; almost 70 percent of residential properties will realize a tax decrease.

• A detailed report on the schools offered that they have “failed to reach the level of achievement we would like.” All three of the schools are accredited with warning, and the middle school is designated a focus school by the state Department of Education. It was noted that the school system has made strides in improving academic performance and a summary of school board actions was planned to be accessible as a separate document on the county’s website.

• Enrollment in the public schools has fallen by 565 students in the last ten years. The loss of students, less state support and reduced federal funding has translated into a $4 million reduction in the school budget. Seventy-eight positions have been eliminated in the last six years. County funding for the schools increased over the past five years $348,616. Combined with a decrease in debt service, the school board has $668,945 more in local funds to use for operations.

“The public can be assured the Board of Supervisors is deeply concerned with the performance of the Schools,” the written report stated.  “We stand ready to assist the School Board in raising the level of performance.”

(To view the full report go to and click on “State of the County, 2015” under the featured services menu.)