By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer
The needle has slipped across the record known as the FY19 Fluvanna County budget.
County administrator Steve Nichols briefed the Board of Supervisors on April 4th on updated numbers. The big shocker was the health insurance quote for next year is an increase of $435,000. There were some additional revenue numbers that meant at $0.929 real estate tax rate, the supervisors will still be $400,000 in the hole.
There were four tentative nods at $0.929 but unless the supervisors cut personnel or the school budget, they will need an even bigger increase.
At the public hearing on the tax rates, capital improvement plans and budget, one person spoke. Perrie Johnson, School Board member, spoke as a resident. She spoke in favor of funding the schools.
Since the last meeting in March, the county found another $68,000 in tax revenue. The expenditures grew as the supervisors approved a new pay raise policy that added another $32,000 to the budget.
The new policy is employees will receive any pay raise as long as they are on-board six months before the start of the raise and off probation period. The previous policy was must be on board before the start of the fiscal year and not receive a pay increase in the fiscal year the raise is given.
The vote to set the new policy was unanimous however supervisors were uncommitted to budget. They are slated to approve a budget on April 11.
Patricia Eager (Palmyra District) ask if the board desires to pull more from the county savings, the fund balance. “You don’t want to go too far down that road,” replied Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District).
That leaves either cutting expenses or raising the tax rate. Per state code, the highest rate the supervisors can institute is $0.945 [The rate advertised for public hearing].
One issue the county doesn’t project is significant new tax revenue coming in immediately to help next year’s budget. Expenses aren’t getting cheaper considering the vast majority of the county’s budget.
The silver lining is this year the county had two new debt service payments starting for FY19 that equated six cents. There is no expected debt payments to start in FY20 but also no significant debt retirements.
“We shouldn’t have the problems we are looking at this year,” said O’Brien.
There is hope the county will get a lower number for the health insurance increase. The issue is the county has had several high claims and have only been with the insurer for a single year.
The supervisors next meet on April 11 at 6 p.m to adopt a final budget. The budget calendar does have a possible overtime week of April 18.
The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.
Photo Credits: Fluvanna County