Charles City passes budget without 1-cent tax increase
Charles City supervisors rejected a proposed 1-cent hike in the county’s real estate tax rate last night (Tuesday) in approving a $21.9 million budget for the next fiscal year.
Supervisor Timothy Cotman motioned to approve the budget without the tax increase, saying the $50,000 the 1-cent raise would have provided can be made up through future sources, including grants. The penny had been designated for county emergency services to provide for more man-hours.
Compared to the current year’s $23.3 million budget, next year’s figure is about $1.4 million less.
The proposed tax increase along with other budget items drew little attention or comment during a public hearing held April 15. Only a handful of county residents attended the session.
Of the three people who spoke, two thanked supervisors for their contribution to Meals on Wheels while the third, county resident Steve Fuhrmann, applauded the county’s effort to reduce expenditures to match revenue. Fuhrmann, however, cautioned supervisors over lowering the county’s fund balance.
In his budget proposal to supervisors, County Administrator Jack Miniclier set a goal of maintaining at least $1.2 million in the fund balance by the end of the next fiscal year.
Fuhrmann told the board the fund balance should have been preserved and increased before current economic troubles set in.
“This is still a budget maintenance crisis and should not be allowed to become a capital depletion crisis,” he told supervisors.
Of note in the budget is $100,000 targeted for a real estate reassessment to be conducted in 2009-10. Charles City has not had a property reassessment in the past six years.
Also included is $5.7 million in county dollars to help fund a $12.5 million school budget.
Miniclier told those gathered that Charles City’s contribution to schools is almost double the state’s required minimum level of $2.9 million.