County Budget Keeps Taxes Steady

No tax or fee increases are proposed in Rockbridge County’s draft budget for fiscal year 2022 that is being advertised in this newspaper the next two weeks and will be taken to a public hearing on Monday, April 19, at 6 p.m.

The proposed $49,543,354 budget represents an increase of $3,002,240, or 6.45 percent, over the current year. County employees are slated to get 3 percent pay raises. The local appropriation to the schools is set at $15,697,715 – an increase of $915,075, or 5.8 percent.

The Board of Supervisors finalized the budget document Monday after receiving recommendations from finance committee members Jay Lewis and David McDaniel.

The finance committee recommended changes that erased a budgetary gap of $324,161 between projected revenues and planned expenditures.

The biggest change was a reduction of $264,227 in funding for the schools. The revised level of funding would support 3 percent pay raises for the division’s personnel. The budget document information indicates that another $27,812 is potentially available to the schools to fund an additional 1 percent pay raise (for a total of 4 percent).

Other changes to the budget included increasing personal property revenue projections by $35,431, adjusting health insurance premiums downward by $35,625 and increasing county employee compensation from 2 to 3 percent (at a cost of $35,500).

Funding for nonprofit agencies, including the Rockbridge Regional Library, was kept at FY21 levels, which were reduced by 10 percent, due to the pandemic, from what was appropriated in FY20. An exception is the Lime Kiln Theater, whose funding is staying at $9,000 because of a matching state grant in this amount.

Buffalo Supervisor Leslie Ayers urged her colleagues to consider restoring funding to nonprofits at FY20 levels, but to no avail.

Under the proposed budget, the county’s real estate tax rate will remain at 74 cents per $100 value, the personal property tax rate will stay at $4.50 and the machinery and tools tax is unchanged at $2.55. The personal property tax relief rate is to be 37 percent.

The supervisors are scheduled to adopt the budget on April 26 – one week after the April 19 public hearing.

The News-Gazette

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