Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

RSS feed of this blog

Barnes asks for 3-cent real estate tax increase

County Administrator Doug Barnes is presenting the fiscal year 2011 budget to supervisors now. He is asking for a tax rate of 86 cents per $100 of assessed value, which means more than half of county residents will see no change or a decrease in their tax bills.

 This budget includes no layoffs or pay cuts. He said the 3-cent increase is needed to move forward with borrowing for the new circuit court and public safety center, build a new fire-rescue station for Chancellorsville 5 on State Route 3 and buy land for a new Lee Hill station. The increase also keeps transportation projects on schedule because the Virginia Railway Express membership is now expected to bring the county $4.3 million in new revenue from the 2.1 percent gas tax. Basically, the decision to join VRE is saving the Transportation Fund and will ensure transportation projects will stay on schedule. 

County employees would get no raises or COLA increases and they will be asked to pay higher premiums for their health insurance. Barnes said the Department of Social Services has a huge workload and they need four new employees to handle the 72 percent increase in applications for help. He is also asking to re-hire a Human Resources director, which has been handled by Deputy County Administrator Ernie Pennington for almost 30 months. Barnes said that position will be filled with the funding that was saved when he was promoted to county administrator, leaving a second deputy administrator position unfilled. 

There’s a lot more in this budget and my story will have most of it. But Barnes said this budget meets the challenges of this economy and keeps services untouched.

One big issue to watch is what the state does with its budget. Currently, a proposal to cut state funding to constitutional officers could mean almost a $2 million loss for the sheriff, treasurer, commonwealth’s attorney, court clerk and commissioner of the revenue. Barnes said his budget will not include money to recover those cuts if the General Assembly passes those cuts. That $2 million means a loss of almost 35 positions in all of the departments.


  • lgross

    for citizens to see? The guy has some nerve. He
    makes an explicit statement bragging about
    transparency and then provides nothing for the
    taxpayers who will fund this budget to see.


    All the BOS is telling Barnes that they appreciate
    the work he has done on the budget.. too bad
    the rest of us can’t agree

  • dantelvock

    relax, Larry. My golly. The BOS is still meeting. Is it going to kill you if you see the budget right now or tomorrow morning?

    If you need the budget, meet me at the office and I will give you a copy. Or read tomorrow’s paper.

    The fact of the matter is, the county ranked 14th of more than 120 other localities in budget transparency. When it goes online, it will be an open book.

  • lgross

    I just thought it was ironic that the man blathered
    on about budget transparency while the folks
    watching had no clue about the 14 page Budget
    “strategy” that he was obviously proud of and
    wanted the BOS to pay attention to.

    that was 14 more pages than the smucks
    watching at home could see…

    Will the County Administrator’s recommended
    budget be posted on the County Website now
    that it’s been presented?

    If it’s not, how about you posting it Dan?


  • hapconnors

    For your advice to Larry.

    And Larry – it will be posted online, and I await your postings to tell us all how dumb we are.

  • lgross

    but the point is that the public should be able to
    see the same proposal that you are looking at –
    in the same time-frame and then that would
    allow those that are interested to make
    comments – much more informed comments than
    can be made than just reading a new account.

    Some folks will say how dumb they think you are.
    I like to think I don’t do stuff like that but
    perhaps in your mind I have so that is your

    but feedback that you do not like or even respect
    is not a good reason to treat transparency as
    unwanted complication.

    Even the School System posted the
    Superintendent’s recommended budget prior to
    the discussion at the meeting.

    Why is that not possible or desired?

  • gramps

    that sensitivities seem to be in a high state of umbrage.

    Mr. Gross, as a tax payer in Spotsylvania, is certainly welcome to his opinions about the timely publication (or not) of Mr. Barnes’ budget recommendations. In fact, I was also surprised and disappointed when I looked for it yesterday.

    As for Mr. Connors’ reaction here; would he rather the citizens of Spotsylvania not give a damn?

  • gramps

    I do not know who ranked Spotsylvania’s “transparency”, but in my view the only ranking that counts is that of the citizens.

    Time and time again Mr. Gross, I, and others have described an area, motor fuels tax data, where transparency is nonexistent. That would seem to make our great transparency rating a bit “selective,” don’t you think?

    Now, I know that Sposty is new in the VRE fuel tax game; but there is also transparency problems with the state and federal level fuel taxes.

  • torpedo72

    I can’t recall ever reading where larry called you an idiot. On the other hand Hap, I think you are a complete idiot. It is clear from your comment this morning and last week’s self pleasuring comment that you are quick to lash out at people and make stupid comments, rash decisions and take everything personally. This affect yours ability to be a Supervisor. You are not above us, if anything you are our elected servent. You should be humble and listen to what we have to say. The county would be better off if you resigned.

  • dantelvock

    Larry, the school system did not post its budget before the presentation.

    It is common practice in this area for localities to post their budgets the following day. Maybe there is a way the county could in the future post the budget online the evening of the meeting during the presentation so if residents wanted to follow along, they could.

    If the county put the notes and remarks Mr. Barnes made online as the presentation was happening, people could follow him easier. Maybe that can happen in the future.

    But the school system did not post its budget online before it was presented to the Board.

  • lgross

    I could have sworn that I read their budget at the time they
    were voting for it.. but cannot say with complete certitude.

    but I notice as I speak that the CA Recommended Budget
    HAS now been posted on the County Website (in
    Presentation format) so I’ll cease and desist and offer
    thanks to Mr. Barnes and the Finance Folks for getting it

    And they do provide a way to give feedback – so I
    recognize that also and give Kudos again.

    It’s quite good, EXCELLENT in fact.. someone has put a
    whole lot of work into this…

  • hapconnors

    Thank you. Everything and everyone is a teacher, so thank you.

  • wiseman

    Connors you are an angry,petty man. I have listened to you during meetings and when you don’t get your way you are quick to attack. Why can’t you just have an honest conversation about issues? Your behavior is beneath the office you hold and is not what the citizens you represent deserve. I hope you seriously consider not running for re-election.

  • Pingback: Pennington County Clerk Of Courts