By Taylor Boyd
The proposed $28,568,905 fiscal year budget, as discussed at a March 28 work session, includes raises for many county employees and a decrease in at least one position.
Lori Jones, the county’s finance officer, said the budget proposal includes a proposed five percent salary hike for state funded positions and a matching five percent increase for county funded employees.
The proposed budget includes a seven percent raise for the County Administrator, increasing the salary from $98,210 to $105,518. The board clerk/administrative assistant will receive an eight percent increase, for a salary of $40,016, and the human resources director’s new salary will be $68,816, which will reflect an eight percent raise.
The Treasurer, Registrar, and Clerk of Circuit Court will each receive a five percent raise. The emergency services coordinator position will decrease two percent, to $57,750, due to a new person filling the post.
“There is also a one-three merit increase for 100 percent county funded employees. We did that this current year for up to two percent. To give you an idea about what that’s going to cost for FY23, it’s about $16,000 in paid benefits, but not everyone gets that,” she said.
According to Jones, of the 20 eligible employees in the current fiscal year, two did not get an increase, 10 received a one percent increase, and eight received a two percent increase.
A $2 an hour increase was implemented for part-time employees of the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office, and for part-time and full-time Emergency Medical Services (EMS) employees.
“The Sheriff’s Office also asked to increase the minimum salary to $43,050, to keep in line with competing localities and their starting salaries,” she said.
“In FY22 we budgeted $188,000. We had to dip into that some for unexpected costs,” she said.
Renovations to the Patrick County Commonwealth’s Attorney offices, improvements to the scales at the Transfer Station, and adding gutters to the Blue Ridge Regional Library Stuart site building also are among expenses included.
In the spending plan that is slated to begin July 1, Jones said other cost centers of note are $8,829,739, or 31 percent, earmarked for education, and $7,949,281, or 28 percent, for public safety.
Health and Welfare will receive $3,777,557, or 13 percent, of the total budget, and Community Development will receive six percent, or $1,710,239.
Jones said Government Administration will receive $1,883,885, or six percent, and Judicial Administration will receive $1,329,300, or five percent.
Parks & Recreation is set to receive $277,532, or one percent of the total budget, and $1,695,593, or six percent, will go towards Public Works.
Repairs and Capital Improvements are to receive one percent of the budget, or $237,217, and another one percent, or $369,769, will go towards the county’s Contingency Fund.
Jones said $508,793, or two percent, is earmarked for debt services.
In terms of revenue, the upcoming fiscal year will be the first full year of the additional one percent sales tax to help the county’s school division with capital improvements. “So far this year, we’ve collected about $750,000 on that tax,” Jones said.
The new fiscal year also will be the first full year after implementing the ‘cigarette tax,’ Jones said, and estimated that tax will generate $47,000 for the General Fund.
The upcoming year also will include the increased county portion of the Transient Occupancy Tax, which will generate an estimated $200,000 to the county coffers.
The proposed spending plan also includes a transfer of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the General Fund. The county received the first $1.7 million in fiscal year 2021, and is set to receive an additional $1.7 million in fiscal year 2022.
As of April 8, the funds from taxpayer dollars total approximately $15,998,903.
A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for the April 25 meeting of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors.
Until it is adopted, Jones said the proposed spending plan may change.
“The budget changes daily it seems, and it will continue to do so until the state passes their budget,” Jones said.