Buckingham County supervisors adjust budget after state changes

Published 7:07 pm Saturday, September 17, 2022

Buckingham County supervisors made a few adjustments to the budget when they met Monday, Sept. 12. The changes fix a situation that dates back to last spring. This year, the Virginia General Assembly was late in approving the state budget, late by several months. In fact, it wasn’t signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin until June. That left staff in counties like Buckingham to make their best guess at how much state funding different departments would receive.

“We used a combination of last year’s figures with best estimates to come up with our county budget,” Buckingham County Administrator Karl Carter told the board.

In most cases, that meant staff had to be conservative when putting the budget together, as they didn’t want to overestimate revenues and strain the general fund. They also couldn’t just wait for the Assembly to pass a state budget, as Carter explained.

“Because we do twice a year tax billing, we had to adopt (our budget) by May, so they could get the June tax bills out,” Carter said.

In this case, the change is actually a positive one. No, taxes don’t need to be increased. No, county departments won’t see smaller budgets. Instead, they’re getting more than originally planned for.

“Our anticipated revenues and school board revenue (from the state) were more than we budgeted and by a significant amount, which is good news for the County and its residents,” Carter said.

Why was a vote needed?

This came for a vote due to Buckingham County’s rules. The law states any change in the budget that exceeds 1% of the current version triggers a public hearing and a vote by the supervisors to approve it. In the spring, Buckingham supervisors adopted a budget of $67,394,892. One percent of that is $673,949. Any change larger than that, even if it involves more money coming in, like this case, means the county has to go through the process.

The biggest change came for Buckingham County Public Schools. The district received an extra $1.714 million from the state, in addition to $203,543 more than expected from federal sources. School district officials informed the supervisors they planned to allocate $31,730 for pupil transportation, $5,828 for attendance health and administration, $3,238 for technology upgrades and $395,638 for instruction and salaries. The final $1.478 million will go towards needed facility repairs and replacements.

The registrar’s office also saw more money coming in than expected, as they received an additional $27,416 from the state. Most of the rest were small amounts. That included an extra $2,387 for the Commonwealth’s Attorney and $1,514 for the Commissioner of Revenue.

No change in taxes

Supervisors unanimously adopted the change by a 7-0 vote, as Carter made it clear this wouldn’t impact any other part of the budget.

“These changes would have been in our original budget if the state budget was adopted on time,” he pointed out.

For more from Buckingham’s September meeting, click here.