New Kent supervisors elect to reduce proposed tax rate by one cent
After offering budget recommendations to County Administrator Rodney Hathaway at February’s work session retreat, New Kent supervisors have elected to reduce the proposed tax rate by one cent.
Wednesday morning’s discussion centered around the proposed FY2018-19 budget after county leaders offered suggestions for the upcoming cycle. While the overall budget will remain at $98,320,889 (with $64,191,500 designated for operations), options remained on the table on what to do with more than $500,000 of additional dollars after cuts and more revenue was discovered at the budget retreat. At that February meeting, additional assessments yielded $243,951, while the elimination of four proposed firefighting position and equipment saved $236,416. Other reductions include reducing contributions to the Economic Development Authority ($25,000) and Richmond Region Tourism Board ($20,000). At that meeting, leaders elected to increase the school set aside fund by $21,217. In total, $504,150 was freed after supervisors offered input into the upcoming budget.
Hathaway returned with two options at Wednesday morning’s work session on redesignating those funds. Option one offered a contribution of $257,536 to renovations of New Kent Historic School, a one-time bonus of $1,000 for full-time employees and $500 for part-time employees ($217,000), contributing $20,000 to either the Richmond Region Tourism or EDA, and adding the remaining $9,614.
But supervisors felt more comfortable with Hathaway’s second proposal. In that option, the real estate tax rate will be reduced from 83 cents to 82 cents per $100 of assessed value, marking a four-cent tax increase over the equalized rate of 78 cents per $100 of assessed values. Employees will receive raises as set in option one, and the remaining $783 will be placed into contingency.
Supervisors also answered questions posed by Hathaway in other budget inquiries. The county will continue its plan to hire two additional firefighters and have offered to support an economic development consultant position for the remainder of 2018 ($15,000) before revisiting the issue in December. Supervisors remained steadfast in not participating in the Richmond Region Tourism organization for now.
Citizens will have an opportunity to weigh in on the budget at a May 14 public hearing. After receiving input and additional feedback, supervisors may take action at a May 23 work session.
In an additional item addressed by county leaders, the displaying of the county decal will now head to public hearing.
At the February work session, Hathaway proposed the possibility to county leaders because of the new state law to move inspection stickers to the driver’s side of the windshield instead of being centered. The main issue stirring concern centered around trash and transfer stations being used and how the county decal regulated it.
Hathaway proposed removing the decal and monitoring the transfer stations as part of a one-year trial. No additional sticker will be needed to access the station but workers monitoring those stations may request vehicles and drivers to provide proof of residency through either their driver’s license or registration.
Hathaway added that even if a decal was offered for access the trash sites, it would not be mandatory and that residents can still use their license or registration to offer proof of residency. The public hearing is tentatively scheduled to take place within the upcoming months.