New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | April 14, 2024

New Kent’s proposed budget balloons to $113 million, includes seven-cent proposed tax increase

By Robb Johnson | March 24, 2024 9:49 pm

With increased population comes the need for additional services. And that is reflected in New Kent’s 2024-25 proposed budget.

New Kent County Administrator revealed a budget of $113,379,280 during the March 13 regular meeting of New Kent’s Board of Supervisors. That amount is an increase of $8,179,786 from the current year’s budget.

The proposed budget includes a seven-cent tax rate increase on the county’s real estate tax to 64 cents per $100 of assessed value. Currently, the county sits at an equalized rate of 57 cents per $100 of assessed value. Each penny would result in an additional $501,787 for the county, which would bring in a total of $4,593,778.

New Kent County Schools had requested an additional $3 million from the county, as their proposed budget came in at $51,145,884. Hathaway is recommending providing $2 million in additional funds for the school system, which is more than a $600,000 that was provided to the school system last year. Schools are pegged to receive $50,145,884.

One of Hathaway’s primary goals is to provide funding to keep current employees and staff in New Kent. The county administrator proposed $3.9 million for staffing and new positions in the county, as well as a four-percent pay increase for all county employees. More than 32 positions are expected to see some salary adjustment. Hathaway referenced short staffing has increased overtime and also resulted in accounting for an expected 11-percent increase in the healthcare coverage from the county’s side. The cost of living adjustment (COLA) is expected to cost the county $769,866.

The Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) came in at $13,476,322. Major projects include creating a reserves from Colonial Downs to assist with future projects ($3,699,882), creating the Wahrani Community Center ($1,885,000), and replacement of the HVAC system at New Kent Middle School ($1.5 million).

Among one of the chief concerns from Hathaway is the cost to house inmates at Henrico Jail East and West. Currently, the rate to house an inmate is 67 cents per day, but the county administrator said that the recommendation would see that amount jump by 29 cents to 96 cents per day. In turn, that would cost the county an additional $2 million per year. Hathaway commented that the jump was “unacceptable” and that Hanover County has offered to house inmates at Pamunkey Regional Jail at a total cost of $692,000.

The public utility fund, which is self-sustaining and paid by the users, has a total amount of proposed amount of $17,302,726 budget. Capital Improvement Projects total $9,574,800.

A four-percent increase is being recommended to the water and sewer rates. There are no proposed changes for connection and availability fees, or fee changes.

The top capital projects for public utilities including Parham Solids Handling ($1.75 million) surface water withdrawal land acquisition ($1.25 million), Brickshire water tank ($1 million), water system interconnections for New Kent Highway Waterline ($1 million), and Talleysville Pump Station Grinder ($1 million).

A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled to take place at the Apr. 8 regular board meeting.