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10% rate bump on the table in Buckingham

The Buckingham Board of Supervisors will convene Monday, April 20, at 6 p.m. to consider final adoption of the county’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget and tax rates. After a 10% increase in its real property reassessment, the county is proposing to set the rate to 55 cents per $100 of real assessed value for the coming year, a 10% effective rate increase over FY2020.

Rebecca S. Carter

County Administrator Rebecca S. Carter gave a presentation to the board at its regular monthly meeting held Monday, April 13, regarding the budget and the real property tax reassessment. Only one person submitted a public comment during Monday’s public hearing.

The meeting was livestreamed on YouTube in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.

During her presentation, Carter explained the county’s total assessed value of real property, including additional assessments due to new construction or property improvements, has increased by 10%.

The county’s current real property tax is 55 cents per $100 of assessed value. An equalized tax rate to offset this year’s increased assessment would be 50 cents per $100.

The county originally proposed in late March to adopt a tax rate of 55 cents per $100, which would mean an effective tax rate increase of 10% for many taxpayers. As an example, the owner of a home valued at $200,000 paid approximately $1,000 in property tax this past year. Property taxes on that same home would be $1,100 this coming year under a 55-cent tax rate.

Carter presented the board with a proposed budget of $57,426,995. However, she emphasized that changes may have to be made, as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has asked the General Assembly to revisit the approved state budget to factor in the costs of the state’s COVID-19 response and make adjustments as necessary.

“The county has stayed financially strong up until now, and I believe that the county is probably going into this problem, that we may have, in good financial state,” Carter said.

Additionally, Assistant County Administrator and Finance Director Karl Carter briefed the board Monday night with estimates of losses the county could experience due to the economic impact of COVID-19. The model used by Karl, provided by the Virginia Association of Counties, projected the county could see a $431,000 shortfall in revenue for the current fiscal year and an estimate of $1 million of lost revenue for FY2021.

The board will vote on the FY2021 tax rate and budget April 20. The public can view the meeting via a YouTube livestream, but no public comments will be taken.