New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | February 23, 2019

Including CIP projects, New Kent budget nears $100 million for FY2018-19

By Andre Jones | February 13, 2018 1:21 am

With nearly one-third of the budget dedicated to its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), New Kent County Administrator presented a budget that neared $100 million for the FY2018-19 fiscal year.

Hathaway’s budget of $98,320,889 was presented at New Kent County’s Board of Supervisors’ Feb. 12 meeting. Of that amount, approximately $34,129,389 is designated for CIP projects, leaving $64,191,500 for operations in the upcoming year. As part of Hathaway’s recommendation, the tax rate is scheduled to be 83 cents per $100 of assessed value. With the equalized rate assessed at 78 cents per $100 of assessed values, this projects to five-cent tax increase for next year.

The construction of the new elementary school accounts for $28 million of CIP funds. The school has been fast-tracked and Hathaway is proposing the funding for this upcoming year. VPSA Debt is expected to be used for the construction of the new building.

Another major project is the construction of Pine Fork Park. Last year, a master plan was presented for the facility. The park is expected to have a price tag of $3.3 million, but $3 million of that amount will be provided through debt financing. Other noteworthy items in the CIP include an environmental assessment for New Kent Airport ($300,000), a firearms range ($250,000), and replacing Self Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBA) for firefighters ($398,251).

With New Kent as the second fastest growing area in the Commonwealth of Virginia, revenue from businesses and homes are expected to spike by $3,217,979 more than this year’s current budget. Of the $3.2 million, approximately $1,902,261 is expected from real estate as FY2019 is a reassessment year. Personal property taxes are also expected to receive a major boost by 9.7% or approximately $621,005. Other major contributors to the bump in revenue include permits and fees ($128,230), sales tax ($123,018), and receiving funds from delinquent real estate taxes ($95,500).

Hathaway commented during his presentation that three new pennies would be set aside for the construction of the new elementary school ($850,008) from the new revenue. The county administrator said the new pennies would push the total amount to seven, approximately half of the 14 cents needed to assist with costs and fees for the facility. Other allocations include $576,713 for net personal requests and payroll increases. Hathaway recommended the addition of six new full-time firefighters ($332,112), market adjustments for full-time sheriff’s deputies and dispatchers ($163,306), the hiring of an environmental planner ($53,387), and converting a position in the Commissioner of Revenue’s office from part-time to full-time to operate the DMV office.

Excluding the CIP, New Kent schools account for roughly 52 percent of the county budget ($33,314,475). Of that amount, $14,254,595 is proposed by Hathaway as the locality’s contribution with an additional $100,000 as part of the final county contribution to the technology initiative. At the school board’s Feb. 5 budget presentation, they presented a budget with a local ask of $14,354,595. That amount is $400,000 more than the school’s budget for the current year.

No salary increases are pegged for this year for county employees. Health insurance rates are expected to increase by 13 percent, but with the expected revenue, the entire amount is budgeted to be covered by the county ($192,960). The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) rate will increase from 8.72 percent to 9.95 percent, as well as the health credit rate from 0.2 percent to 0.22 percent. There is no change in the VRS group term life insurance as it will remain at 1.31 percent.

The public utility fund, which is self-sustaining and paid by the users, will work with a proposed budget of $5,668,924. Water and sewer rates will not increase nor will connection and availability fees. There is also no proposed tax rate increase in the Bottoms Bridge Service District. Of the public utility’s CIP projects, approximately $300,000 will go to replace storage tanks and foundations at Sherwood and Whitehouse. Other major CIP projects include a backup well at Sherwood Estates ($250,000), BB Cary Road well replacement ($155,000), and Parham Landing pump/motor replacements ($105,000).

Hathaway said during his presentation that the growth of New Kent is having a positive effect on the county.

“These are signs of a strong economy,” the county administrator said. “I know some of these numbers may look big and it is a lot to digest, you can see that most come from the proposed new elementary school.”

Supervisors elected to reserve comments for a Feb. 22 retreat session at Providence Forge Recreation Center. A budget hearing is tentative scheduled for April.