On one hand, no tax hikes are being proposed in the county’s budget plan this upcoming fiscal year. On the other hand, agencies that have received contributions in the past could see at least a quarter of their funding dropped next fiscal year.
With at least six members of the public present, representatives of the county administrators and board of supervisors agreed to schedule this year’s public hearing on the proposed $22,521,260 budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year on April 11 at 7 p.m. The proposed budget reflects a
$10,411,165 difference from the current year’s amended budget including $9,163,660 for the judicial center and $1,247,505 in revenue shortfall.
In order to balance the budget for the next fiscal year, several changes were highlighted in the county administrator’s presentation to the supervisors. The changes calculate to total $690,946. See Table 1 for changes made to balance budget.
“Your primary duties need to meet those statutory duties,” said county administrator Norm Risavi advising the board. “Frankly we’ve cut so much of our budget over the past five years there is no where else to go.”
One area of the budget that may catch some attention has to do with the agencies the county government makes contributions to including Westmoreland Museum/Library, Bay Aging, Bay Transit, Tourism, Rappahannock Legal Services, The Haven, Northern Neck Free Health Clinic, Westmoreland Little League and Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce. All are expected to lose a 30 percent cut, according to the proposed budget. It is also proposed that no additional funding will be provided for the school division, which faces a decrease in revenue of $1,856,131.83 compared to this year’s amended budget, and an increase in health insurance costs of $149,877 (12 percent) to be paid by the division.
A total of 35 employee positions will be targeted for being reduced or eliminated. Among the 35 employee positions targeted 10 individuals are full time, six are part-time and 19 are under contract.
“There has been no area that has been immune to our scrutiny,” said chairman Darryl Fisher.
With so many questions about the sequestration and decisions at the nation’s capital, the chairman added that its important for the legislators to remember who it is impacting when they continue to debate.
“They don’t really see the impact that it hurts the people,” Fisher said. “You have to carry that picture with you…look at the damage it causes down the road.”
The board set the public hearing to be held at the Westmoreland General District Courtroom at 111 Polk Street in Montross. See the Westmoreland News for updates. An adoption on the budget will come on April 24 at 9 a.m.