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No tax increase in new King George budget

King George County residents won’t see any increases in taxes in next year’s budget.

The Board of Supervisors on Monday finalized its spending plan for 2013–2014 with a budget that includes six new fire and rescue workers to man the Fairview Beach Volunteer Fire Department.

The proposed budget also includes $1 million more to schools than in the current year, a 2 percent raise for all employees and the upgrade of three employees from part-time to full-time. Two work in animal control and one in the county’s parks and recreation department.

The money for the six fire and rescue personnel, along with the raises and the upgrade of two employees, came from an emergency fund the county set up several years ago, said County Administrator Travis Quesenberry.

Supervisors agreed to move $322,000 from the fund for those expenses.

Oddly enough, in early March, supervisors heralded the fact they were able to put money into savings—and leave it there. The county’s strong reserves were part of the reason a New York company recently affirmed King George’s A-plus credit rating and upgraded its financial outlook from stable to positive.

“We’re not reaching into our savings account to pay for groceries,” Chairman Dale Sisson Jr. said when the rating was announced on March 5.

But because the Fairview Beach department has been virtually unstaffed for more than a year, Supervisor Ruby Brabo suggested taking some money from reserves to pay salaries of the workers, who will start in January.

Monday’s meeting was the fourth budget work session, as supervisors “spent a busy month working on the budget,” Sisson said on March 19. “We had some vigorous debate and a little bit of argument, but that’s OK.”

Next year’s budget for King George totals $65.4 million. Schools will receive $37 million.

State and county employees will get a 2 percent raise, but 1 percent of that is to offset the rising Virginia Retirement System contribution made by employees.

While taxes won’t go up in the next fiscal year, ambulance fees will. Raising the rates generated another $321,000, according to Quesenberry’s budget.

King George will hold a public hearing on the budget on April 16.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425