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County begins budget talks

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors began discussing the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget following County Administrator Wade Bartlett giving a presentation on the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget. FY19 will begin July 1 and run until June 30, 2019. Bartlett and supervisors both mentioned they did not want any tax increases this year. In discussing FY18, Bartlett said that his report is only based on six months of data in fiscal year and both revenue and expenditures can have unexpected moves before the end of the fiscal year.

“It appears General Fund Revenues will exceed the budget somewhere in the $400,000-$500,000 range,” Bartlett cited in an agenda document.

He said it appears Grantees Recordation Tax will exceed the budget by $60,000, Merchants Capital by $50,000 and fines by $30,000, all of which are funds coming into the county.

“Landfill Revenues have been extremely strong,” Bartlett said. “We’re accounting for that with the volume and size of the construction that we’ve seen in the area, all the hotels.”

He said there’s been major reconstruction in the assisted living facilities and that’s spiked up the revenue.

“Also, when the economy is booming, trash goes up,” Bartlett said.

He said in Fiscal Year 2017 — which began July 1, 2016 and ended June 30, 2017 — the cash in the General Fund, after subtracting the transfers to the water and sewer funds, increased “a little more than $700,000.”

“While the landfill construction fund decreased approximately the same amount due to the payment associated with the new landfill cell,” Bartlett said.

He said when adding FY17 and projected FY18 increases in cash, the total increases could be in the $1.2-1.5 million range.

“This cash will go a long way in funding the costs of the STEPS and Courthouse Improvements,” Bartlett said.

He said he would anticipate an increase in revenues in FY19 of $300,000-$400,000 based on the county’s normal revenue growth.

“But much depends on the changes in the (National Automobile Dealers Association) values for used cars of which we don’t have those yet,” Bartlett said.

He said if the used car values fall drastically, revenues could be flat.

Bartlett detailed in FY19 estimated expense increases will have to be accounted for in County Health Insurance, at $45,000; gasoline, at $18,000; the school composite index, at $360,000, which could have possible state assistance; and school health insurance at $450,000. He also said an increase will have to be accounted for the full year of school pay raise.

He said that FY18 expenditures that will not be repeated include approximately $102,870 for the school’s pay raise and an IBR System for the Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office, amounting to $200,000. Bartlett cited new programs that the county might want to look at developing, including updating the county website, which would cost approximately $6,000 with an annual maintenance of $1,500; geographic information system, which would cost $33,000 with an annual maintenance of $1,500 and a new animal control truck, which would cost $40,000. He said these things could be discussed as they develop the budget.