New Kent County Administrator Rodney Hathaway reviewed his proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 at a public hearing during the April 8 Board of Supervisors meeting.
Hathaway’s proposed budget totals $69.85 million, he said. Major expenditures include $35.02 million in school division funding, $9.80 million proposed for public safety and $6.37 million in debt service spending, according to Hathaway’s presentation.
The current year’s budget totals $98.02 million, but included $31 million in new debt, according to Hathaway’s presentation.
Under the proposed budget, New Kent’s real estate tax rate would remain level at 82 cents per $100 in assessed value. The county’s machinery and tools tax would drop from $1.50 per $100 in assessed value to 75 cents if approved, he said.
“Right now, we have the lowest machinery and tools tax rate in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Supervisor Thomas Evelyn said. “We’re trying to do stuff to attract more businesses, and this is one thing that we’ve been trying to do.”
The county expects a $1.21 million increase in revenue over the current year’s budget under the proposed spending plan, Hathaway said. Funding sources would include $444,464 in real estate tax revenue and $442,657 in collected personal property taxes.
“It’s no secret we are a growing county, and with that comes growing revenues from real estate taxes, and as more people move to the county, they bring their vehicles and boats and trailers and as a result of that, we see a significant increase also in personal property taxes,” Hathaway said. “The thing that I’m happy about is that we see good increases in our business taxes and our sales tax, which I think is a strong indicator that we have a strong local economy here.”
New county revenue would be spent on a 5 percent cost of living pay increase for county employees, which would go into effect July 1 and cost a total of $509,268.
Also in the budget, $434,391 would fund eight new positions on the county’s staff, including four new firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Two new sheriff’s deputies and a social services program coordinator would also be brought on staff, and a custodian would be promoted from part-time to a full-time position, he said.
“I am proposing eight new positions. Four firefighters, which will be crucial to staff the new fire station, which is on schedule for opening in November,” Hathaway said.
The county originally expected an 8.5 percent increase in employer health insurance costs, but Hathaway now projects a 3.5 percent increase, which would save the county $93,684, according to a past Tidewater Review report.
“About six months ago, we were told by Anthem to project an 8.5 percent increase, and we’re very happy that the actual number came in at a 3.5 percent increase,” he said. “I am also proposing a 5 percent health insurance reduction for those employees that participate in the employee plus one and the family plan.”
The proposed capital spending plan for fiscal year 2020 totals $2.49 million. Major expenditures under the proposed capital spending plan include $400,828 that would go toward the purchase of four new school buses, and $396,000 in spending to replace six sheriff’s vehicles and one county vehicle, he said.
The New Kent County Board of Supervisors is expected to adopt its fiscal year 2020 budget at its next work session on April 24.
Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.