The Botetourt County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing about the FY 23 budget last Wednesday at the county Administration Offices in Daleville.
The state had yet to pass its FY 23 budget, which makes the budget projections incomplete. The current projection forecasts an increase from last year’s budget from $72.7 million to $83.1 million (up 14%). It is important to note that Botetourt County did not propose raising taxes this year. The rates remain the same throughout the county.
Local revenues increased by 6.1 percent, expenditures increased 42.8 percent (up from $111.5 million to $159.2 million; note: the new number includes the new capital improvement projects).
Director of Finance Tony Zerilla stated that the reason for the increase is due to the county’s two considerable construction projects (a new courthouse in Fincastle and the Virginia Western Community College at the Administration Offices expansion) obtaining recent funds from the American Rescue Plan.
The projections see the school budget up almost 19%, from $38.7 million to $46.1 million (partly due to a stream of federal funds). The county budget projects $800,000 local share increase for school funding. This number is $568,000 less than the figure BCPS Superintendent Dr. John Russ requested at the March Board of Supervisors meeting.
Other anticipated increases include: local revenue including $400,000 in local sales and use taxes, a near $3 million increase in personal property tax collections, and slight increases in the Business, Professional, and Occupations Licenses taxes.
Overall, local revenues expect to increase by $3.6 million, state revenues by $206,140, and federal revenue by $6,548,296. This is the first time in years where the federal government has given the county over $1.5 million.
According to a county official during the meeting, aside from the capital improvement projects, expenditures went up moderately, mainly due to inflation. Services that were delayed during the pandemic are expected to return.
The near-20% expenditure increase results from mandated changes which are not controlled by county administration. This increase also includes the first year of a reassessment project, which begins late this fall. The county plans to add several positions, including converting some part-time positions to full-time positions and incorporating new public safety personnel.
Notably, the advertised expenditure detail also shows increases in the fire and emergency services budget (up 23%) and the Botetourt Sports Complex budget (up 13%).
More capital improvement projects are on the way including finishing field work at the Botetourt Sports Complex, maintenance upgrades to county-owned properties, automatic doors installed at the General District Court and the Fincastle Library (also, installing new carpet at the branch), Buchanan Library renovations, and other improvements across the county.
The Botetourt County Board of Supervisors did not take action at the hearing. Any action on the proposed budgets and tax rates will take place at a subsequent meeting of the Board of Supervisors at a later date. For more information presented during the public hearing on budget/tax rates, please visit the Agenda Center on the Botetourt County website at botetourtva.gov/AgendaCenter.