County Connection for week of 02/21/2018
By David Smitherman
Pittsylvania County Administrator
We’re in the final days of putting together the FY2018-19 recommended budget. As of this writing, we do not know how much of a tax increase will be proposed, but are certain it will feel significant when compared to past years.
As most of you know, all real property in Pittsylvania County was reassessed this year, so we know we can expect a revenue increase of about $1.6 Million. Unfortunately, the FY17-18 budget was balanced with about $3 Million of the County’s savings, so we’re still in the hole to the tune of $1.4 Million. Just to fill the gap we’d have to propose an effective 7-cent tax increase (or 62 cents), and that doesn’t come close to fulfilling our needs.
The County has not put away money in past years to pay for known expenses at the landfill, for fire and rescue, for school debt, or for economic development. We know that the landfill will cost our residents approximately $3 million per year for the next 10 years; that’s $1 Million more annually that in the current budget – the equivalent of a 2.5-cent tax increase. We know our fire and rescue services need at least $800,000 more annually to improve training, equipment, logistics, and many other important activities – that’s with 2 more cents. We know that we must have money set aside for economic development projects – we currently have none.
So, what about the school debt? Well, the reason we need revenue for the above issues is that we’ve been using every drop of money we could find to pay the $8 Million school debt that the voters passed in two ballot initiatives to build middle and high schools. Should fire and rescue suffer for school buildings? They have for the past many years as have the landfill and employee compensation.
The Board of Supervisors has expressed a great willingness to make good decisions that are future focused. The proposed budget is focused on the next four years of success in Pittsylvania County. We want to bring financial stability and professional service to all areas of your local government. The Board has a big vision for the future – a future where people choose to make Pittsylvania their home because of good schools, attractive jobs, natural beauty, and an outstanding quality of life.
On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, we look forward to seeing you on February 27 at 4 p.m. when the proposed budget is presented, and we present our ideas to build a strong foundation for our future.