Most departments get cut in Botetourt budget

BOTETOURT – There’s one item in the Board of Supervisors’ list of spending recommendations for the 2010-11 budget that hasn’t been there before—at least not listed the way it is this year. It’s not a new category, but it has a new name, one that County Administrator Jerry Burgess now calls “Aid to the Commonwealth.”

In Botetourt’s case, the coming fiscal year’s Aid to the Commonwealth totals $287,000.

In years past, it was listed in the county budget as Revenue Refunds, and this fiscal year it totaled $300,000.

The change in category names demonstrates the frustration Botetourt officials feel over the state’s willingness to pony up money for its share of telling counties how they have to do business—the state’s financial shell game.

Aid to the Commonwealth is just part of the county’s proposed $82,891.801 overall budget (including $49.4 million for all school expenditures) that goes to public hearing April 14 at 7 p.m. at Greenfield Education and Training Center just north of Daleville on US 220.

The supervisors are holding two hearings, one on the school, general fund and utility fund budgets, and a second on the proposed tax levies. The supervisors’ General Fund Budget Committee is recommending no changes to the county’s current tax rates, although there will be an effective real estate tax increase because of the just completed property reassessments that go into effect this year.

Even with an expected increase in local revenue, the proposed 2101-11 budget is down 6.7 percent from the current fiscal year.

The budget committee is proposing level local funding for Botetourt schools—just over $20.3 million. State funding to schools was cut $4 million.

The county budget does include cuts in other areas. The public has an opportunity to comment on the budget at Wednesday’s  public hearing.

Among the other recommended expenditures offered by the Board of Supervisors General Fund Budget Committee for the 2010-11 county budget are:

• Reducing the Board of Supervisors budget 18 percent by $52,351 to $233,266.

• Reducing Volunteer Fire & Rescue expenditures 23.2 percent by $381,171 to $1,260,369.

• Reducing contributions to community organizations 8.6 percent by $25,201 to $266,371.

• Reducing expenditures for the Regional Library 24.6 percent by $60,862 to $186,441.

• Increasing expenditures for Botetourt Libraries .2 percent by $1,750 to $787,111. Burgess notes, while there is an increase, library services are being cut. The increase is reflective of the opening of the new Eagle Rock Library.

• Reducing expenditures for the Division of Waste Management 18.2 percent by $118,602 to $532,603.

• Reducing the County Administrator’s office 3.1 percent by $11,714 to $365,685.

• Reducing the Assistant County Administrator’s office 9.4 percent by $35,415 to $343,244.

• Reducing the Electoral Board/Voter Registrar 8.5 percent by $22,402 to $242,591.

• Increased funding for the Sheriff’s Department 1.1 percent by $44,651. Burgess said this is reflective of an increase of $50,000 for vehicle purchases. This year, the county cut vehicle purchases $100,000 and it’s causing problems with vehicles.

• Increasing Emergency Services 9.7 percent by $130,385 to $1,469,940 to cover the three newly hired medics that run on the county’s paid crews.

• Reducing Parks, Recreation & Tourism  6.3 percent by $75,313 to $1,126,267.

• Reducing Botetourt Sports Complex 7.1 percent by $28,655 to $375,150.

• Reducing Comprehensive Services 1.9 percent by $25,645 to $1,359,805.

• Reducing Tourism and Marketing 3.9 percent by $5,707 to $141,455.

• Reducing Cooperative Extension Office 11.6 percent by $10,778 to $82,365. The reduction covers the county’s share of an unfilled extension agent position.

• Reducing the Senior Van Program 4.8 percent by $3,619 to $72,019.

• Reducing Botetourt Health Department 11 percent by $40,807 to $329,193.

• Reducing Social Services 2.1 percent by $40,138 to $1,835,652.

• Reducing Planning and Zoning 16.1 percent by $47,334 to $247,503.

• Reducing Engineering 5.8 percent by $23,671 to $325,100.

• Reducing Inspections 5.4 percent by $17,701 to $311,079.

• Reducing Commonwealth’s Attorney 1.4 percent by $8,979 to $546,971.

• Reducing Commissioner of the Revenue 1.9 percent by $6,720 to $348,404.

• Reducing Treasurer 2.4 percent by $9,704 to $396,029.

• Reducing Circuit Court Clerk 1.3 percent by $7,232 to $563,971.

• Reducing Correction and Detention 1.2 percent by $44,633 to $3,568,644. The reduction is an unfilled jailer’s job that has been paid by the county in the past.

• Reducing Public Works 7.2 percent by $10,071 to $129,403.

• Reducing Maintenance/Buildings and Grounds 4.2 percent by $26,843 to $607,280.

• Reducing Central Purchasing 27.3 percent by $42,159 to $112,122.

• Reducing Management Systems 5.3 percent by $37,049 to $661,281.

• Reducing Animal Control 1.3 percent by $4,913 to $375,047.

• The county’s debt service (payments for loans and bonds) is going down $248,687 in the next fiscal year and will total $4,822,055.

The supervisors are expected to act on the budget at their regular April 27 meeting.

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