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FY 2014 Proposed Budget Press Release

FY 2014 Proposed Budget Press Release

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Published by Fauquier Now
Fauquier County Administrator Paul McCulla's proposed fiscal 2014 budget
Fauquier County Administrator Paul McCulla's proposed fiscal 2014 budget

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Published by: Fauquier Now on Feb 28, 2013
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PAUL S. McCULLA County Administrator 10 Hotel Street, Suite 204 Warrenton, Virginia 20186
PHONE 540-422-8001 FAX 540-422-8022
E-mail: paul.mcculla@fauquiercounty.gov

CATHERINE M. HERITAGE Deputy County Administrator

Contact: Ari J. Sky Director of Management & Budget Fauquier County Government 320 Hospital Drive, Suite 24 Warrenton, Virginia 20186 (540) 422-8361 ari.sky@fauquiercounty.gov FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 28, 2013

McCulla Presents FY 2014 Proposed Budget Warrenton, Virginia -- County Administrator Paul S. McCulla today presented to the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors his proposed budget submission for the Fauquier County government for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 2014). The proposed budget totals $268.3 million in appropriations for the general county government and school system. The proposed budget includes $127.9 million for the school division, $62.4 million for general county expenditures, $1.8 million for capital projects, $11.1 million to support career and volunteer fire and rescue resources through the Fire and Rescue levy, $0.8 million for the Conservation Easement District and $1.6 million for the Ambulance Billing Fund. FY 2014 debt service expenditures total $14.2 million: $12.3 million for debt service on school division projects and $1.9 million on county government projects. General Fund expenditures would increase by $0.3 million, or 0.2%, from FY 2013 under the proposal, which includes the reassignment of career fire and rescue resources to the Fire and Rescue levy. The proposed budget includes a 2.5% cost of living adjustment for county government employees, the first since 2008 notwithstanding a $1,000 raise provided in 2012 to offset increased employee retirement costs. Factors Shaping the Proposed Budget McCulla said that the current fiscal environment is characterized by modest recovery in several of the County’s largest revenue categories, noting that unemployment in the County has dropped slightly, from 4.5% to 4.3%, over the past twelve months, and the number of residential

foreclosures has declined substantially. Real estate tax revenue has benefited from modest, but increasing, amounts of new construction since the 2010 reassessment, and personal property tax revenue has risen as a result of increased automobile valuations. Sales tax revenue has also recovered substantially from the low point of $5.9 million in FY 2010, posting real growth on a consistent basis over the past two years. McCulla noted that, despite moderate revenue growth, his ability to include major initiatives in the proposed budget was constrained by substantial increases resulting from prior decisions and additional fixed costs. “Specifically, the Board’s commitment to increasing the number of career fire and rescue staff, and payments on authorized debt will increase FY 2014 base funding requirements in the General Fund by nearly $1.2 million when compared with FY 2013. Additionally, higher health insurance costs will increase the amount of new revenue needed to cover those expenditures to approximately $2.1 million.” The proposed budget includes a limited set of enhancements totaling 3.13 FTEs. McCulla said that the proposed positions in Human Resources, Information Technology, Parks & Recreation and Environment Services are “intended to address significant deficiencies in order to prevent a serious breakdown in service. The proposed budget also includes funding for a modest annual vehicle replacement program to address essential needs. The proposed budget includes funding for a 2.5% cost of living increase for County employees. McCulla said that the “need for a compensation increase has become more evident with growth in the employee turnover rate, the departure of key employees who have taken advantage of a more robust public and private employment market, and survey data indicating increasing compensation rates among public and private employers,” while also noting that the impact of a compensation increase on employee’s take-home pay would be partially offset by anticipated increases in employee health care premiums. McCulla said that the “county government staff has played an indispensable role in maintaining the quality of service that Fauquier residents expect during a difficult period. They have often accomplished this task while experiencing increased workloads with little to no additional staff to help accomplish those tasks. They are to be commended for their continued service to the community and the Board of Supervisors.” School Division The Interim Superintendent of Schools presented her proposed FY 2014 budget to the School Board on February 11. The Superintendent’s proposed operating budget totals $131 million, an increase of $5.5 million over FY 2013. The Superintendent’s budget anticipates approximately $0.3 million in additional State and Federal revenue, mostly resulting from increased sales tax allocations. Fully funding the Superintendent’s request would also require a $5.1 million increase in local funding. McCulla’s proposed FY 2014 budget would fund a $127.9 million School Division operating budget, providing a combined increase in Federal, State and local funding of about $2.4 million over FY 2013. Additional local funding would total $2.0 million, allowing overall funding for School Division operations to exceed pre-downturn figures for the first time since FY 2009.

Capital Improvement Program The proposed Capital Improvement Program, which includes projects for the FY 2014-2019 planning period, was submitted to the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission on January 31. The proposed CIP totals $94.6 million from FY 2014 through FY 2019. Of this amount, $15.0 million would be allocated for school system projects, $29.7 million for the county government, $6.5 million for utility projects, $19.5 million for the County’s fire and rescue and joint communications systems, $16.9 million for development of the County’s solid waste collection system and $7.0 million for the development of joint-use facilities for the general government, school division, and other organizations. The proposed CIP incorporates a significant cash funding commitment totaling $9.6 million, or about 10.2% of total appropriations, over the course of the six year planning period. The remaining $85 million would be financed by debt issuance. The Planning Commission is scheduled to complete its review of the proposed CIP in late February. Tax Rates & Revenue Increases The FY 2014 proposed budget recommends an overall real estate tax rate of $1.005. The general rate would be reduced by 1.3¢ to 90.6¢, while the Fire and Rescue Levy would be increased by 4.8¢ to 9.3¢. The Conservation Easement District would remain unchanged at 0.6¢. The Board of Supervisors’ approval of the proposed tax rates would increase real estate tax bill by about $35 per year for each $100,000 in assessed value. The average homeowner’s real estate tax bill would increase by about $110 per year, based on the average residential assessment value of $313,200. Qualifying elderly and disabled real property owners would generally not see an increase as a result of the exemption afforded them under the County’s tax relief program. The proposed budget would continue the Board’s reduced personal property tax rate for tangible business property, first introduced as part of the FY 2011 budget to offset the relative increase in real property tax receipts from businesses. Public Hearing The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the FY 2014 proposed budget on March 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM, at Warrenton Middle School, 244 Waterloo Street, in Warrenton. Residents may also provide their comments to the Board of Supervisors by e-mail at BOS@fauquiercounty.gov. Website Information about the FY 2014 proposed budget as well as the FY 2013 adopted budget is available on the Fauquier County website at www.fauquiercounty.gov. (ENDS)

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