Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Spotsylvania’s public information officer Kathy Smith was nice enough to find me the fiscal policy guidelines that are mentioned in the documents online for tonight’s budget work session.
Here is the fiscal policy guidelines for pay-as-you go capital costs:
The County’s goal is to budget an amount of equity (pay-as-you-go) funding for capital projects equal to 5% of General Fund revenues (less obligated transfers), with a minimum level of 3%. In order to achieve this goal, the County will, beginning with the fiscal year 2008 budget, increase the amount of general fund equity for capital projects in each year. For 2008 the level will be set at 1% with an additional one-quarter percent added each year thereafter.
The proposal supervisors will consider tonight is shifting some of that money and delaying projects to plan for future economic hardships.
They also will discuss tonight the scenarios for a 56-cent tax rate.
I got my hands on the list of possible cuts to get to 56 cents. The list calls for removing 18 positions. Unfortunately, I cannot paste the document here right now because of its format, so I cannot go through all of the positions.
A total of $9 million in cuts is necessary to reach a 6-cent tax cut. Although it is not explained, net revenue changes and an increase in the current fiscal year 2008 budget to meet the 10 percent reserve guideline brings the total cuts to $11,659,399. I am trying to figure out right now what that means, so bear with me. Somehow those two issues have some connection to cutting the tax rate to 56 cents and I haven’t figured it out yet.
Before I go through some of the larger budget items, I want to be clear: SUPERVISORS HAVE NOT MADE ANY BUDGET DECISION. THEY HAVE NOT CALLED FOR A 56-CENT TAX RATE. THESE ARE JUST IDEAS AND NOTHING HAS BEEN FINALIZED YET.
In fact, it is quite the opposite. The advertised rate is 62 cents. If they increase the rate advertised, then a second public hearing and a readvertisement would be necessary. Supervisors can cut the budget as much as they want. The public hearing is set for April 1.
The cuts on the list include delaying capital projects in the campus master plan, something supervisors appeared to back away from after the sheriff and judges spoke against it. This would save $2.2 million. Another almost $1 million could be cut by delaying some other capital projects such as fire and rescue station No. 5, new fire and EMS equipment, and replacing the Real Estate CAMA system.
Another cut on the list is reducing the schools funding by $3.5 million.
The other cuts are across the board, but I will note the larger ones:
- County Administration: Delete overtime, stop printing the Beacon newsletter and the employee newsletter, stop the annual report, stop the University of Virginia satisfaction survey and deleting the public information officer position for the county. This is $253,548 in savings. Keep in mind that the costs for each "cut" is not listed. Only the total is. So, we don’t know how much of that is overtime, how much the Beacon costs, etc.
- Information Services: Reduce management consulting, radio repairs, strategic plan, "training delete disaster recovery, delete vacant position and "etc." This saves $459,917.
- Sheriff, Communications: Delete three vacant positions "etc.", reduce part-time and overtime for special events. This would save $391,797.
- Fire and Rescue: Delete two vacant positions and one current position and reduce Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department (I guess that means reduce the volunteer funding for just that company). This would save $237,432.
- Regional Detention Facilities: Delete county share of salary increases. This would save $208,718.
- General Services: Close all collection sites one day per week, delete two household hazardous waste events, delete mulching and litter control program, charge boat marinas for trach pick up and commercial refuse hauler fees, along with several other cuts. This would save $526,325.
- Public Assistance and Welfare: Reduce funding for DSS programs and regional agencies at 8 percent below current levels. This saves $545,272.
- Regional Library: Reduce funding by 8 percent from current level. This saves $380,343.
Supervisors will discuss some of this stuff at tonight’s meeting, 6 p.m.