Hearing held on fiscal 2023 budget

Published 12:16 pm Friday, June 3, 2022

The Prince Edward Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on Tuesday, May 31, to discuss the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

County Administrator Doug Stanley said the proposed fiscal 2022-23 budget has a proposed increase of 7.23% to roughly $67.2 million with local revenues rising 10.11% and state funding up 5.60%.

The budget includes a 3% cost-of-living adjustment for county employees and a 2.5% merit increase for certain positions. This would bring the county to a competitive rate in comparison to surrounding areas, Stanley said.

There would be a handful of new positions, including a commissioner of revenue full-time deputy position, part-time to full-time deputy treasurer, part-time to full-time receptionist and a county IT department starting in the second half of the fiscal year.

School Capital Improvement Funding would be $250,000. According to Stanley, the state is putting $450 million in its budget for a school construction fund for school districts that demonstrate poor building conditions, commitment and need on a competitive basis.

“I’ve been around the state a little bit, but I find it hard to believe anyone can be in worse shape than we’re in,” said Stanley of Prince Edward Schools.

Some of the Capital Improvement Plan projects include the Sandy River reservoir permit renewal, Prince Edward County Elementary School, convenience sites, the animal shelter, an emergency radio system, a new courthouse chiller and a new cannery boiler.

The new school budget includes position increases, salary increases, health insurance premium decrease of 4%, adjusted salary scales and state and federal increases all totaling to $836,149.

Two people signed up to speak at the hearing. The first was Dr. Barbara Johnson, superintendent of Prince Edward County Public Schools. According to Johnson, her estimate is that it will cost over $50,000 to fix the roof of Prince Edward County Elementary School based on the work done so far. Building G, which had minor leaks compared to others, has been repaired for $9,000 to $10,000. After last week’s rain, another leak popped up, as the water is believed to travel. The school district did spend money on air quality reports, she said, but only one classroom had mold in the air and that one had been closed all year.

“The estimate right now is about $50,000, but that’s the estimate right now,” said Johnson. “If we continue to have leaks as we go along after we fix them and we have more, then the cost will escalate.”

Robin Smith, the at-large member of the Central Virginia Regional Library Board, spoke on behalf of the library. She thanked supervisors for their support and noted how well they worked together during the vaccine distribution.

On Tuesday, June 7, the board will formally consider the budget and then at its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 14, the board will vote to adopt a budget.