Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Supervisors might need to cut $1.2 million from budget

Although county finance staff members said this is not official, they believe the state’s budget will result in about $1.2 million less for the county. The Sheriff’s Office could take the biggest hit from the state cuts, with $583,836, according to a document staff handed out tonight.

Staff said the numbers might change after March 26, when the state compensation board releases funding updates.

But if the numbers are correct, it means that if the county approves the proposed 86-cent real estate tax rate for the fiscal year 2011 budget, which is 3 cents above the equalized rate, then $1.2 million in cuts must come from either the general fund or the schools budget. The general fund pays for public safety and county services.

If supervisors were to approve an equalized tax rate of 83 cents, the county needs to cut $3.6 million.

The amount in state cuts happens to equate to about 1 cent on the county’s real estate tax rate. Supervisors did advertise a rate of 88 cents, which provides some cushion if they want to fill the $1.2 million cut with one of those pennies.

Supervisor Jerry Logan asked county staff to develop three budgets with options at the 83 cent rate, the 86 cent rate and the 88 cent rate. He said all sources of funding should be on the table, including the school system.

Until that point, supervisors have committed to give the schools level funding of $113.8 million.

Logan also pointed out that the $3.9 million the county estimated for the BPOL Tax revenue is likely to fall short by $400,000 to $300,000. Logan said the Commissioner of Revenue told him that 400 businesses she expected to pay a BPOL tax will not this July.

That means those businesses did not meet the $200,000 threshold in gross earnings. In other words, profits have declined.

Yet, commercial property assessments increased ever so slightly, but enough to mean even an equalized tax rate translates into a decent tax increase for commercial property owners.