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Culpeper supervisors hold budget hearing

With no tax increase—real estate or personal property—proposed, it would be the logical assumption that the Culpeper citizenry would be content.

Well, yes and no. Most of those who spoke at Tuesday night’s Board of Supervisors fiscal 2015 budget public hearing prefaced their remarks with a “thank you” for what was included in the county’s $150 million budget but then went on to say, in so many words, “we want more.”

With one exception, every speaker who walked to the podium was either a school system employee (or advocate) or a volunteer fireman.

If the proposed budget passes in May, both groups will receive less than they asked for next year, the school system to the tune of about $1.3 million and the fire association about $400,000.

Still, the schools will be getting about $81 million, some $5 million more than last year, while the fire association, for the second straight year, will get about $400,000 over and above the traditional county funds appropriated to companies.

Joyce Tyree, president of the Culpeper County Education Association, said that the supervisors should fully support Division Superintendent Bobbi Johnson’s proposed budget.

“These are simply needs,” she said, adding, “We need [the extra money] and Culpeper deserves it.”

Annmarie Steimel said she had called her supervisor and advocated upping the real estate tax rate in order to fully fund the school budget.

In his pre-hearing presentation, County Administrator Frank Bossio pointed out that the school system expects to get more that $4 million in added state dollars plus the return of more than $1 million in unused funds from last year.

Culpeper County Fire Association President Anthony Clatterbuck thanked the supervisors for the $400,000 in capital improvement funds contained in the budget but said that “more funding will be needed in the future.”

Several other firemen and rescue squad volunteers spoke on behalf of future funding increases.

Francis Updike, who is not associated with any group seeking county money, applauded the supervisors for not proposing a tax increase. He advocated cutting more from the budget and extending a tax reduction to county citizens.

Bossio, in his budget overview, told the almost full house audience, “We’ll make the best use of the dollars that we can.”

The Board of Supervisors will vote on the fiscal 2015 budget at its May 6 meeting.

Donnie Johnston:

djohnston@freelancestar.com

 

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