Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Boring Budget story for Journalism, completed from two nights ago
New County Budget Will Increase Assessment Value, School Budget
The Hanover County Board of Supervisors is adopting a new budget for the 2007 fiscal year. The new budget will be $407.6 million, a 24.5% increase.
The new budget is a part of Hanover County’s Five-Year Financial Plan.
No property tax-rate increase is projected, and the personal property tax rate will be lowered 7 cents.
The personal property assessment method will change from loan value to trade value.
The real estate tax will remain at 86 cents; however, a 6.0% raise in assessments of real estate will make taxes rise for home owners.
A $250,000 house will be reassessed at $265,000. Real estate taxes would be $2,150 on a $250,000 house versus $2,280 on a $265,000 house.
Income taxes will increase by 6.0% and sales taxes by 11.6%.
58.5% of this increase, or $46.9 million, is due to an increase in the County and School Capital budgets. The total General Fund budget is $181.8 million, an 8.6% increase.
Part of this increase is due to a 4.0 % merit pay increase for School and County employees. Officials want to attract and keep quality employees with this raise.
Three services account for 75 percent of the budget: Education, 47.2 percent, Public Safety, 20.9 percent, and Human services, 7.8 percent.
The Public Safety service budget will increase to hire more police officers and pay the previously all-volunteer fire department.
The county’s goal is to have 20 officers per 10,000 population. The budget increase will bring them up to 18.8 officers per 10,000 population.
The School Budget is $176.1 million, a 12.0% increase. The increase allows for the $3.4 million mandatory retirement/life insurance cost and $842,000 health care insurance increase for employees.
The Sheriff’s Office budget will be $16.5 million, an increase of $1.6 million and 10.7%. The Fire and Emergency Medical Services budget is $11.0 million, an increase of $1.2 million and 12.5%.
Human services total $14.3 million, a 9.1% increase.
Public works, 4.0%, Administration, 6.8%, Capital Projects, 3.6%, Parks, Recreation, and Cultural, 2.9%, Judicial Administration, 2.3 %, Community Development, 2.9%, and Nondepartmental, 1.4%, comprise the remainder of the budget.
Sales Taxes are anticipated to increase by $2.7 million. State and Federal Revenues are expected to increase by $456,000.
The local income remains strong, with a 2.3% unemployment rate, high median adjusted gross incomes of $40,797, and a local sales tax growth of 11.0% in fiscal year 2006.

Three stories:
One of the best Sheriff’s Offices in the state, one of only four organizations to be hold both national and state accreditation.
Mechanicsville Fire Company – changing from a volunteer organization.
Emergency Communications is five officers short.


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