County administrator proposes $85 million budget

By Heather Michon

County Administrator Eric Dahl shared his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Wednesday (Feb. 3).

Dahl proposed a total county budget of $85,277,429, an increase of 6.9 percent over FY21. He recommended a three-cent increase in the current equalized tax rate of 86.5 cents to 89.5 cents. The tax rate on personal property, business, and tools and machinery would remain unchanged.

Overall, Dahl’s budget proposal signaled a tentative return to normal after a year constrained by COVID-19. The pandemic struck towards the very end of last year’s budget-planning season, with the uncertainty causing the supervisors to scrap much of their earlier work and instead adopt an austere $79.8 million budget. Tax rates were frozen and almost all capital improvement plans (CIP) were set aside.

CIP is the largest segment of the proposed budget, making up $3 million of the $5.5 million increase over the previous fiscal year. Schools may see around a $1.4 million increase, and public safety around $600,000.

Some of the pressures on the budget include the rising costs of goods and services, debt service from previous years, the need to replace aging vehicles and equipment and to repair and upgrade some of the county’s nearly three dozen buildings.

At the same time, the county needs to continue to invest in infrastructure programs to promote growth and provide competitive county salaries and benefits

Using Dahl’s proposal as a starting point, supervisors will spend the next several weeks shaping the budget before voting on a finalized version and setting the FY22 tax rate in late April.

In other business

The budget presentation was the main event of the relatively brief open meeting, but supervisors did vote on several other issues, unanimously approving:

  • The carryover of a $375,000 grant to Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) for the ongoing Firefly broadband project.
  • Adoption of the county’s Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). There have been no substantive changes to the plan, but by law it must be re-approved every few years.
  • Approval of around $7,400 in CARES Act funds for the purchase of two Stryker chair-stairs for the Fluvanna Rescue Squad. This equipment helps carry patients down flights of stairs and will replace two units that have been in service for around 20 years.




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