Rising revenue bolsters Spotsylvania budget outlook | Local News | fredericksburg.com – Fredericksburg.com

Spotsylvania County is sitting pretty, with revenue projections increasing by $17.1 million this year, according to a presentation of the recommended fiscal year 2023 budget last week.

That opens the door for supervisors to increase spending without raising real-estate or personal property tax rates in the budget that goes into effect July 1.

County Administrator Ed Petrovitch told the Board of Supervisors the county’s revenues typically increase about $5 million to $6 million a year. He told the board there are several reasons why the revenue projection is so rosy.

Petrovitch reported that real estate revenue “underperformed against expectations last year.” But personal property, sales and meals taxes “immensely outperformed expectations during the pandemic.”

The boost in revenue from those taxes bumped the projection for the fiscal year beginning July 1 by $5.8 million. An increase in used auto values added another $2.2 million to the personal property tax projection.

People are also reading…

The county’s recently reassessed real estate values are up for the 10th straight year, increasing by $2.6 billion from 2021. That spike increased projected revenue by another $3.8 million, even at an equalized tax rate.

The county also was awarded a federal grant to hire 18 new fire and rescue employees, which added $1.3 million in projected fiscal 2023 revenue. The proposed spending plan calls for using county funds to add 13 positionsin the Sheriff’s Office and three additional fire and rescue jobs.

The recommended budget would keep the personal property tax rate at $6.35 per $100 assessed value. The recommendation would set an equalized real estate tax rate of $…….

Spotsylvania County is sitting pretty, with revenue projections increasing by $17.1 million this year, according to a presentation of the recommended fiscal year 2023 budget last week.

That opens the door for supervisors to increase spending without raising real-estate or personal property tax rates in the budget that goes into effect July 1.

County Administrator Ed Petrovitch told the Board of Supervisors the county’s revenues typically increase about $5 million to $6 million a year. He told the board there are several reasons why the revenue projection is so rosy.

Petrovitch reported that real estate revenue “underperformed against expectations last year.” But personal property, sales and meals taxes “immensely outperformed expectations during the pandemic.”

The boost in revenue from those taxes bumped the projection for the fiscal year beginning July 1 by $5.8 million. An increase in used auto values added another $2.2 million to the personal property tax projection.

People are also reading…

The county’s recently reassessed real estate values are up for the 10th straight year, increasing by $2.6 billion from 2021. That spike increased projected revenue by another $3.8 million, even at an equalized tax rate.

The county also was awarded a federal grant to hire 18 new fire and rescue employees, which added $1.3 million in projected fiscal 2023 revenue. The proposed spending plan calls for using county funds to add 13 positionsin the Sheriff’s Office and three additional fire and rescue jobs.

The recommended budget would keep the personal property tax rate at $6.35 per $100 assessed value. The recommendation would set an equalized real estate tax rate of $73.77 cents per $100 assessed value, down from the current $80.94 rate.

The total 2023 recommended proposed operating budget totals $622.3 million, up 15.9 percent from the current fiscal year.

Education accounts for 46 percent of the budget. Among the other nine categories, public safety and capital projects also consume a sizeable portion of the remaining funds at 12 percent each.

The recommended budget uses $15 million left over from the fiscal 2021 budget for capital projects, eliminating “the need to borrow for general projects in FY 2023,” according to a budget summary.

Under the proposed budget, the county would add 52 positions at a cost of $4,474,409.

The recommended budget also includes $26.5 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan.

Petrovitch recommended using some of those funds for Sheriff’s Office bonuses, which were previously approved, along with bonuses for other county staff, totaling $1.9 million. The remaining $24.1 million would go to broadband expansion ($7.6 million) in the Berkeley and Livingston districts, and the Motts Water Treatment plant expansion and upgrade ($16.5 million).

Petrovitch said those moves will allow the county to avoid borrowing money for those projects, saving an estimated $13.5 million.

The recommended budget includes increases to water and sewer rates, which were deferred the past two years during the pandemic. Likewise, the recommended budget calls for increases to such things as building and zoning fees, along with charges for inspections, plan reviews and other services. Those fees are four to five years “behind actual costs,” Petrovitch said.

Business tangible property tax rates that were lowered in this year’s budget remain intact in the recommended budget for next year.

Petrovitch said the recommended budget “assumes level funding” of $132.28 million for education, but noted that the School Board and recently appointed acting superintendent have yet to finalize their budget.

He told the board that the school system is slated to get additional federal funding and $27 million in extra state funding, with $8.9 million dedicated for capital projects.

Petrovitch cautioned that changes could be made by the new governor and state lawmakers.

More meetings, including a public hearing, are scheduled before the board votes on the budget.

The public hearing is scheduled to be held March 31. The earliest the board can approve the budget is April 8.

Since the supervisors were getting their first look at the budget proposal, there was little discussion. But Supervisor Chris Yakabouski had some questions and comments.

He noted that “revenue is pouring in and we’re spending it as fast as it comes in” and wondered what role recent year tax increases played in the current situation. He also questioned the county’s approach to education spending, saying the county should take the same approach with schools as other portions of the budget.

Yakabouski also wondered if county residents will pay more in personal property taxes simply because the used car values have increased.

Petrovitch said it isn’t clear if that’s the case, but staff will try to find an answer.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

[email protected]

Source: https://fredericksburg.com/news/local/rising-revenue-bolsters-spotsylvania-budget-outlook/article_a8ad40bc-dda2-508a-8aae-c9ad32b751c4.html