Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Money, money, money
The green stuff is the main topic of the night. First, the finance department gives a very preliminary sneak peek at the economic climate and the upcoming budget.
On the economic climate side: Virginia has a 5.5% unemployment rate, which is the ninth lowest unemployment rate in Virginia. In Spotsylvania, about 3,700 people are looking for jobs.
Virginia also has the seventh highest foreclosure rates, with 94 foreclosures, which is a rate of 1/94. Financial analyst Bonnie Jewell told the Board of Supervisors, “This is certainly an improvement over the recent past.”
Monthly sales tax receipts are up but not to pre-recession levels. And home values are down from last year, and so is sales volume.
The finance department is right now projecting an $8.6 million gap between expenses and revenue.
This very preliminary forecast includes the new cost of increased fire and rescue coverage.
And it also includes some unknowns. Chairman Benny Pitts pointed out that there are a few other unknowns out there, too. At a recent Virginia Association of Counties meeting, he said that leaders learned that localities could bear the burden of the Community Services Act alone. Now, the state chips in to these pots of money which pays for children in special education and foster care to receive the services they need (as determined by a group of social workers, educators, psychologists, etc.). And he said that the state will most likely stop funding secondary road repairs, so those costs could also go straight to the localities. And the state could also start collecting the traffic fines which now go to the localities.