Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Barnes: No new taxes
County Administrator Doug Barnes is presenting his proposed budget. The big news: Real estate taxes won’t go up. Barnes suggests keeping the rate at 86 cents. This means the average Spotsylvania resident would pay $1,493 in real estate taxes.
The budget proposes cutting six positions–but these are all jobs which are unfilled right now. The budget does not suggest any layoffs or pay cuts. It does suggest a 1 percent cost of living adjustment in January, which would really be 1/2 of a percent for the fiscal year.
Schools would get an additional $1 million if this budget is adopted. In an interesting twist, this is the first year in recent history where the county’s proposed budget will come out before the school budget. Superintendent Jerry Hill delayed his budget so he could factor in the state budget.
The budget is huge and will take some time to process. Luckily, the finance department added more graphics and illustrations this year. But here are a few highlights:
Public safety: Recommends four new firefighter/medics and $200,000 more money for training. The new circuit court and public safety building will open behind the courthouse. Budgeted money would go toward paying the debt for the building and adding three new bailiffs.
Public works: Recycling efforts would expand, cardboard and plastic would be collected at all convenience centers and steel can recycling would be added in stages.
Parks and Recreation: Here, residents would see some added costs. Fees to play sports would increase from $40 to $45.
Social Services: Would add five positions to help with the large demand for services. As more people come for services, federal requirements on service haven’t changed. The proposed additions would help the Department of Social Services meet these mandates.