King and Queen County residents will likely not see an increase in their taxes, based on recommendations by county administrator Thomas Swartzwelder.
Swartzwelder discussed the preliminary draft of the recommended 2019-2020 budget with supervisors (minus Sherrin Alsop) and finance officer Tina Ammons at the board’s special budget work session Feb. 19.
He also recommends 3 percent salary raises for all county staff, step raises for rescue service providers and ways to address an estimated 25 percent increase in employer health insurance costs.
The draft recommended budget adds totals $17,285,172.
“This document is very preliminary and does not yet contain the board’s input or instruction; it is created by staff and its purpose is to provide a starting point,” Swartzwelder said.
Three percent raises for all county staff would cost $58,000, not including constitutional officers or the county administrator, according to Swartzwelder.
The county expects a 25 percent increase in employer health insurance costs, which would cost approximately $148,000.
A state Senate budget amendment requires public safety offices that use body cameras hire or have an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney review the footage for possible evidence. The measure calls for one Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney per 75 cameras, with the position being locally funded.
With King and Queen Commonwealth’s Attorney Charles Adkins deciding not to run for re-election this year, the county will get a new Commonwealth’s Attorney in November, Swartzwelder said.
“We currently have two full-time employees in that office, however the State Compensation Board only funds the assistant as part time,” Swartzwelder said. “The compensation board’s longstanding policy has been that when constitutional officers step down, the staffing returns to the level that is approved and funded by the state.”
Swartzwelder is recommending to move the current full-time administrative assistant to part-time after Adkins steps down, then to negotiate the staffing needs with the newly elected Commonwealth’s Attorney.
The new position would cost an estimated $65,000, according to Ammons.
Emergency services is requesting step salary increases for rescue providers for a total of $10,000, which Swartzwelder endorses.
Other preliminary requests include $5,000 for fees and expenses that come with the sheriff’s office going through the accreditation process; the office has not been accredited before.
The school division expects an increase in employer health insurance as well, according to Swartzwelder. Otherwise, the amount proposed for schools is flat.
The recommended amount is $4,317,176, which may change after the division presents its budget to the board, according to Swartzwelder.
Funding for the Regional Animal Shelter, a shelter that both King William and King and Queen counties fund in King William, is somewhat unknown at this point, according to Swartzwelder.
“King William has not set what they are going to fund the shelter yet,” Swartzwelder said.
Swartzwelder said King and Queen proposes to fund it even with this year at $134,736.
Funding for Bay Aging’s Bay Transit bus service is also up in the air, according to Swartzwelder.
An informal handshake agreement to equally fund Bay Transit’s transportation services throughout the county, King William and the town of West Point was previously agreed upon, according to Swartzwelder.
“There’s nothing in writing, but we all have stood by the agreement,” Swartzwelder said. “Last year King William did not fully fund their share for Bay Transit, which has thrown off service for everyone.”
King William restored some funding mid-year in 2018, according to Swartzwelder.
“The town is looking at alternate options and King William is looking at possibly reducing funding,” Swartzwelder said. “Everything is up in the air right now. Bay Transit will not be able to give us their requested funding amount until all three localities decide on their options.”
The county can either increase its funding or re-evaluate the terms of service. If the localities agree to equally fund Bay Transit, it likely will request $26,667, according to Swartzwelder.
Swartzwelder said he’s working on setting up a meeting with King William County Administrator Bobbie Tassinari and West Point town manager John Edwards to discuss options.
He said he recommends no longer funding New Kent-based Quin Rivers, a group that works with domestic and sexual violence victims and families in need and provides services to citizens across the region, including King and Queen.
The organization has requested an additional $3,000; the county currently provides the organization $2,000.
Swartzwelder said the county could redirect the funds to the Community Service Board of the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck for similar and additional services.
The county’s Pamunkey Regional Library is requesting additional funding to staff additional hours, staff salary raises and operational costs, according to Swartzwelder. The library has asked for $166,126; Swartzwelder recommends funding $161,216 and not funding additional operating hours.
Capital improvements in the preliminary draft includes:
» Maintenance on the historic Marriott School for $25,000.
» Moving $752,350 for the telecommunications center project of from this year’s budget to next year’s budget as the site plan process is still underway.
» Moving funding and adding $200,000 for the emergency services facility project, for a total of $600,000 in the 2019-2020 budget. Swartzwelder said they the amount is preliminary as it is still in the design plan process, but expects work to begin late this year.
» Security improvements for the county complex for $40,000.
» Maintenance for the circuit court for $50,000.
» New roofs for the administrative and general registrar buildings for a total of $210,000.
» Three new sheriff’s office vehicles for $169,800.
» One emergency services vehicle SUV for $45,000.
» An incident/weather emergency services vehicle for $85,000, which Swartzwelder recommends not funding.
A public hearing on the budget will be at 7 p.m. April 8 and the county plans to adopt the budget on April 22. The board meets at the King and Queen County Courts and Administration Building, General District Courtroom, 242 Allens Circle.
Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, firstname.lastname@example.org or @ashleyrluck on Twitter