Charles City Board of Supervisors approve budget; funding for schools reduced
Charles City County’s Board of Supervisors approved their budget for the FY2022-23 year, but one group was visibly upset after the revisions.
Disgruntled looks on the faces of Charles City School Board members and staff revealed the displeasure of reducing their original local monetary budget of $6,018,997 to $5,486,095, a reduction of more than half-a-million dollars. The school originally requested $6,268,997 for operations.
The decision to reduce the school’s budget came as the result of several work sessions. According to a presentation by District 2 Supervisor Bill Coada, the school’s funding for Capital Improvement Projects in the last seven years along with the dwindling enrollment factored into the change. He also said that the schools will receive $1.1 million in one-time funds and that they do not want to apply that into rebuilding the current wastewater treatment plant. Coada also had questions about the school’s entering into a performance agreement with ABM Solutions.
Coada continued, saying that the state of Virginia is expected to increase funding to the school by $388,673. He added that from 2015-2020, funding increased locally by $1,219,214, while the state cut school’s funding $682,729.
County Administrator Michelle Johnson presented two recommendations for county leaders to consider due to the state not having a budget as of May 24. Option one based on the Senate’s number, where the operating budget would be $5,637,715. With a surplus expected of $388,673 from a 505 ADM, that number is taken away from the operating budget, leaving roughly $5,249,042. The county would then contribute $237,053 as part of the school’s ABM Solutions contract, bringing the total recommendation of $5,486,095.
Johnson said the differential of funds would be used to address Capital Improvement Projects of the county. Among the primary focus in the $402,546 in savings include updating the wastewater plant at the government and administration building. Financing those services would cost $146,866. The projected savings would also assist with replacing fences at Harrison Park, upgrading to a new accounting system, and buying a new bus for senior and youth activities.
Plan two would essentially be the same but would be based on the House of Delegates proposed budget. The House of Delegates recommended $5,637,715 to the schools. After removing the state surplus and factoring the ABM Solutions payment, the school’s budget would be $5,747,848 under that scenario. In that case, the $140,793 in savings would be used to finance wastewater plant debt services and hire a part-time animal shelter attendant.
The motion was made by District 1 supervisor Gilbert Smith and passed unanimously to adopt the budget based on scenario one for the schools utilizing the Virginia Senate’s budget.
In total, the overall county’s FY2022-23 budget was approved for $20,915,573. The equalized tax rate dropped to 66 cents per $100 of assessed value after this year’s reassessment. It was recommended that the tax rate is reduced to 66 cents, meaning there is no tax increase.
Charles City Fire and EMS budget is $1,516,380. Among the new additions in the budget include the hiring of three full-time employees, the hiring of four full-time positions for Charles City Fire and EMS (through repurposed funds) and providing county employees a five-percent performance-based raise.
Supervisors said that under state law they cannot cut the budget, but their goal is to work with school board representatives to amend their budget and increase it.