By Pauline Hovey, Greene County Field Officer
The Greene County Board of Supervisors (BOS) remained determined to keep the locality in healthy fiscal condition as they concluded budget work sessions this week, proposing to establish a general policy for cash reserves and to provide more direction for the county’s Economic Development Authority (EDA). During the work sessions, supervisors expressed concern over what appears to be a lack of clarity in the EDA office, some of which is based on the EDA receiving management direction from different sources.
The EDA Director, Tony Williams (photo), answers to both the EDA board (which is appointed by the BOS) and the BOS, which at times can be confusing and prevent Williams from receiving clear direction. From a logistical management standpoint, Supervisors would prefer to move the EDA office from its current location above the Tourism office on US 29 in Ruckersville to the County Administration building in Stanardsville.
While Williams is on the county payroll, the EDA Business Manager, Tracy Wingfield, is not. The EDA is currently funded by three sources: the county, tourism, and the EDA’s own money collected from a one-time sale of property at the Industrial Park.
“What’s the return on the taxpayers’ money?” Chairman Steve Catalano (at-large) asked, clearly concerned about having more control over the direction of this office but uncertain as to the feasibility of such a move. Supervisors agreed to meet with the EDA board to evaluate the situation and attempt to provide the EDA with more clarity and vision of their respective management roles.
Also during the work sessions, Supervisor Jim Frydl (Ruckersville) suggested the Board put a general policy in place establishing what amount the county should have in reserves. “We need to consider what’s the minimum amount we need to protect ourselves?” Frydl said.
Keeping to their conservative philosophy, supervisors proposed establishing a fiscal policy whereby they would keep a 10-percent cash flow in capital funds, which currently equates to $2 million in CDs and $3 million in a checking account. The Board noted that the county does have $9.7 million in reserves for 2009, some of which may be used for capital projects.
After June 30, 2011, when Greene County’s 2010 audit report has been completed, the Board will decide on capital projects proposed for the immediate future, including property acquisition for water impoundment, additional fire trucks and ambulances, five new school buses, and a comfort station at the Greene County Park.
State law dictates that once a locality advertises a property tax rate for public hearing they can decrease that rate but not increase it without additional advertising and another public hearing.
According to Greene County’s website:
Total assessed value of real property, excluding additional assessments due to new construction or improvements to the property, reduces last year’s total assessed value of real property by 14.01 percent.
Supervisors agreed to advertise a property tax rate of $.69 the same rate as 2010, because of the decrease in property values, this equates to a tax cut to most home owners. The county will be able to make up this difference because the number of properties assessed has increased since last year. Greene County’s total budget will grow by 3.2 %.
Final budget decisions are expected to be completed by March 21 and posted on the county website at www.gcva.us shortly thereafter. The public hearing on the tax rate and the Greene County budget will be held on April 26th at 7:30 pm at the County Administration Building
Photo Credit: Greene County EDA
Pauline Hovey is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization. If you find this report helpful, please consider supporting the Free Enterprise Forum. To learn more visit www.freeenterpriseforum.org