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Amendment cues public hearing

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors took action at its regular August meeting to make amendments to the county Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget, one of which was large enough to require a public hearing before it can happen.

Wade Bartlett

The board voted to authorize a public hearing to amend the county FY20 budget to reflect the receipt of bond funds and the payment associated with the courthouse renovations and construction of the social services building.

The board also approved the FY20 budget amendment for the volunteer fire department (VFD) carryover fund and appropriated the same funds. County Administrator Wade Bartlett noted this money “has really no impact to the county’s budget because it was savings from last year.”

According to draft meeting minutes, both board votes were unanimous.

As part of the County Administrator Report during the board meeting, Bartlett provided the details on the budget amendments prior to both votes along with an update on bonds.

“The Virginia Resource Authority completed their summer sell of bonds of which the county participated,” he said. “The end result was better than the last projections we received from our financial advisor on July 9, 2019. At that time the estimate was annual debt service would be $577,827 with a total repayment to include interest of $8,868,862. The actual results will be payments of about $552,000 a year.”

The board meeting packet noted that the actual amounts fluctuate each year slightly.

“But the total would be $8,477,657,” Bartlett said. “So that’s slightly (less) than $400,000 less than what we thought.”

He stated that the next item in his report was requesting authorization to call a public hearing at the next board meeting for a FY20 budget amendment.

“With the closing of the bonds and the signing of all construction, furniture contracts, we now have final revenue and expense amounts that we can amend the current year’s budget,” he said. “These amounts exceed the threshold that require(s) a public hearing by the Code of Virginia, which is 1 percent. If you increase your budget by more than 1 percent, you have to have a public hearing. So I’m asking that the board approve the advertisement (for) the holding of a public hearing for amending the Fiscal Year 20 budget.”

Next, Bartlett addressed volunteer fire department carryover funds, “which we do every year,” he said.

“We give a flat amount to the volunteer fire departments of $74,800 — plus now $10,000 — each year, and the county’s practice has been to allow the volunteer fire departments to carry over any funds that they save,” he said. “They do this in case they need to buy some equipment — sometimes it’s a fire truck, sometimes it’s air packs, it can vary.”

The $10,000 that Bartlett referred to was an allusion to a board vote earlier in the meeting that had approved $10,000 of supplemental funding for each of the six rural volunteer fire departments to offset the cost of insurance.

The board meeting packet cited that on June 30, 2019, the following fire departments had the listed unexpended funds to be carried forward into the FY20 budget:

• Pamplin VFD: $48,473

• Prospect VFD: $42,989

• Hampden-Sydney VFD: $15,998

• Rice VFD: $11,763

• Darlington Heights VFD: $11,511

• Meherrin VFD: $3,039

• Farmville VFD: $83

The combined total of all of these funds to be carried forward is $133,856.