The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Stafford revenues above expectations
BY KATIE THISDELL
A preliminary financial review shows that Stafford County had $5.1 million more at the end of the last fiscal year than it budgeted.
The Board of Supervisors learned that because of conservative budgeting, reduced spending and higher-than-expected revenues, there’s a year-end surplus.
That’s pending the results of an ongoing annual audit for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Money coming in to the county was $6.2 million above what was anticipated, while spending was $1.5 million below. After replacing money spent from the county’s reserve fund, that leaves $5.1 million, budget division director Nancy Collins told the board on Tuesday.
Nearly half of the surplus came from personal-property taxes. That $2.5 million in revenue came primarily from county resident buying new cars, Collins said. Because new vehicles have higher values, they bring in higher tax revenues.
However, the personal-property tax is one of several volatile funds that are affected by a weakened economy.
“Those are the things we’re going to be watching very closely in the future,” Collins told the board.
This is at least the third year in a row that Stafford has seen revenues higher than it had budgeted.
“It’s certainly money we’re going to be holding onto,” board Chairwoman Susan Stimpson said.
Up to $4 million could go toward a public-private partnership for an indoor pool and athletic facilities at the Embrey Mill sports complex.
The county staff made several suggestions for the funds:
Using savings from the parks department budget for an ongoing list of infrastructure projects.
Reserving any health insurance savings for a compensation and classification study.
Reserving the unspent Stafford Opportunity Fund balance. The fund is for economic development. The amount is normally $500,000.
Using money to digitize land books for the clerk of the circuit court.
Using $50,000 for renovations to the government center. That could include work on an employee break room and covered areas in the courtyard.
The school system also reported an unaudited year-end balance of $3.3 million. Some of that could go toward a new student-management system. The school division has requested funding for the computer system for several years.
Also Tuesday, supervisors approved borrowing $33 million from the Virginia Public Schools Authority for its ongoing building renovation and rebuilding program. However, they added some strings to the loan after having concerns over $4 million that Stafford schools wants to put into the employee and retiree health benefits fund. The board will have to approve the school system’s use of that $4 million later in the year.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975