At its regular meeting in December, the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors received its annual audit report from Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates. Corbin Stone, the county’s auditor, gave the report, noting the growing strength of the county’s financial position over the past few years. Broad economic growth, prudent budgeting practices, and Botetourt’s overall desirability as a place to live and work have all done their share to support the county’s finances.
“The county’s financial position is strong and well above average compared to other localities that our company audits,” said Stone.
A number of factors have been contributing the county’s healthy finances. The general fund’s unassigned fund balance, which serves as the county’s savings account, has grown to nearly $27 million from $14 million in 2010 in the middle of the last recession. The fund balance gives the county the ability to weather economic downturns and cash on hand to make strategic investments when opportunities arise. In the coming years, the fund balance will help offset expenses for projects such as the courthouse renovation, radio system replacement, broadband expansion, and fire and emergency medical services (EMS) capital investment.
“Looking back on the past decade, I am thrilled to see how far we have come from where we once were,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Billy Martin. “Our financial picture looks great, and our entire community should be proud of that.”
Since 2016, more than 1,000 new jobs and approaching $200 million of industrial and commercial investment have put Botetourt on the map. The majority of those new jobs pay above the county’s prevailing wage, allowing workers to seek a higher standard of living. Job growth in Botetourt has exceeded regional job growth for the last several years and is expected to continue. The regional economic impact of these announcements exceeds a quarter of a billion dollars annually. In addition, utility companies such as American Electric Power in Cloverdale have invested more than $250 million in Botetourt in the past few years. The construction and expansion of new industries and businesses across all sectors also have made Botetourt a destination, not just during the workday but also during the weekend for leisure.
“The county has seen growth in all areas of tax assessment over the past few years,” said Stone. “This has not been the case in many other jurisdictions.”
The audit report provided was for the fiscal year that ended this past June. The county is approximately midway through the current fiscal year with clear indications of continued strength through the end of the year.