Hanover supervisors adopt $372.6M ‘band-aid’ budget; no property tax increases sought
The Hanover Board of Supervisors adopted a $372.6 million budget for Fiscal Year 2014.
The budget maintains all current property tax levels. It includes no raises for county or school employees.
The final version incorporates the School Board’s adopted budget, of which the county funds roughly half.
Supervisors said they received considerable input from the public during this budget process, and they thanked everyone who participated.
“Some think we should spend more. Some think we should spend less, and all of that input has been received and given careful consideration,” Chickahominy Supervisor Angela Kelly-Wiecek said before the vote April 10.
She also shared her concerns about future budget cycles.
“This is another band-aid budget, quite frankly. We are covering what we need to, to try to maintain. Again, we’re grateful for everyone who is helping us do that, but I am concerned that there are needs in our county that are not being met by this budget,” Kelly-Wiecek said.
She added, “We’re doing everything we can to reduce and to be efficient and to make sure we’re not spending a penny that we don’t have to, but there are other mandates and there are other expenses that continue to increase and cut into the funds we have left to provide core and primary services to our citizens.”
Beaverdam Supervisor Bucky Stanley echoed those concerns.
“I have been one of the most conservative on this board for a number of years, but I’ve also been realistic. We do need monies for certain challenges,” he said. “I think we need to start tomorrow probably for next year’s budget.”
Henry District Supervisor Sean Davis commended the public input, as well as the leadership that put the budget together.
“While sometimes people don’t always agree, people speaking is essential to an effective government,” Davis said.
“Calm, steady leadership has prevailed,” he added.
County Administrator Rhu Harris’ budget proposal “doesn’t skimp on the things now that are going to cause us problems later,” Davis said. “Our core services are intact.”
“Can we sustain this in the schools? … Can we sustain it at the county level? No, we can’t, but this year we need to start working on the budget this afternoon for the upcoming year,” Davis said, indicating that he would be supporting a budget that he does not like.
He also encouraged residents to stay involved in county issues.
The board adopted the budget with a unanimous vote.
The FY14 budget is a slight increase from the current year’s $367.9 million budget, but it’s still down from its peak. In FY09, the county experienced record-high revenues, which reached $427.5 million for all funds.
Local revenue sources have fallen nearly $10 million since then. Real estate tax revenues alone are down $8 million, or 8 percent, in that same timeframe.