The proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget would begin on July 1. The County General Fund budget at $56.2 million represents a $3.1 million or 5.8% increase from the current year.
Priorities for the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget include enhancing high quality core services including Education, Public Safety, and Community Health. Public Education remains one of the top priorities, reflected in the proposed budget with a 3.3% or a $740,000 increase in local funding above the FY 2019 Budget. The Public Safety departments are another key focus area for the proposed budget and includes increases of 9.4% or $1 million above the FY 2019 Budget for operations and personnel. Specifically, it includes nine new full-time public safety positions to enhance services for residents, broken down it includes seven new full-time fire fighters, one full-time position in the Sheriff’s Office, and one full-time position in Building Inspections.
The proposed budget includes several tax reduction and fee-related initiatives that are intended to improve customer service and workforce efficiency, support the promotion of economic investment, and to create more parity with our regional competitors. Taking care of those most in need in our community, the proposed budget includes an increase in the real estate property tax relief program for the elderly and disabled from $800 to $900 and a decrease in the personal property tax rate for all citizens to $3.95/$100. Additional tax changes include a new rate of $2.00/$100 for disabled veterans, a 50% reduction from our current rate, and a simplification of the business license tax schedule with no fee for gross receipts less than $10,000 (up from $4,000) to support small business development and expansion. The County also created a personal property tax rate for data centers at $0.40/$100 to promote further investment in this market sector.
This year a new schedule of all County fees was created to serve as a transparent, comprehensive resource for all citizens and developers. Fee schedule changes include the elimination of the annual vehicle license fee, small kennel adoption fee increases to insure all adopted animals leave the shelter spayed or neutered, a decrease in the conditional use permit fee for towers to promote new opportunities for cell and broadband internet provision, and finally, a decrease in peddler’s fees to spur entrepreneurship and further business investment.
A 3% merit compensation increase is proposed for all County employees. The County and Schools Twenty-Five-Year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) contains $561.9 million for forecasted projects. The first year of the CIP for FY20 is $5.1 million and includes investments in transportation, public safety, education, and facilities maintenance.
After hearing Mr. Budesky’s proposal on February 19th, the Board of Supervisors also heard presentations from Sheriff James L. Agnew, Interim Fire-Rescue Chief Eddie Ferguson, Animal Protection Director Tim Clough, and Human Resources Director Kelly Parrish. Dr. Jeremy Raley, School Superintendent will present the proposed Schools’ budget on Tuesday, March 5th at 3 p.m.
The Board’s consideration of the FY 2020 budget continues February 26th and March 5th both starting at 3 p.m., along with a CIP Work Session with the Board of Supervisors and School Board Members on Tuesday, March 12th starting at 3 p.m.
Town Hall meetings, which will include discussions on the FY 2020 Budget, will be held on March 13th (Districts 2 & 3, Central High School Cultural & Educational Complex), March 18th (District 1, Fife Firehouse), and March 27th (Districts 4 & 5, Hermitage). All town halls start at 7 p.m. and the public is invited to attend any or all the Town Hall meetings.
The public hearing on the budget and tax rates will be held on April 2nd starting at 7 p.m. Adoption of the budget and tax rates is scheduled for 3 p.m. on April 16th. All meetings are open to the public.
The County Administrator's Proposed FY 2020 Budget can be read at www.goochlandva.us/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/1397.