Wayne Carter presented the proposed FY2022-FY2023 Budget before the Budget and Finance Committee May 3.
As it stands, this budget includes a 6.3% increase for all County positions as well as School Board employees. There have also been increases for fuel in line with the rising cost of gas.
With the county preparing to take over the Rescue in July 2023, several new positions have been added. First, there are two new full-time positions to be added in July. Then shift supervisors added by Spring. Additionally, twenty-two providers will be added by June to greatly increase the size and scope of the department.
Two additional 911 dispatcher positions, and three full-time positions at the landfill have also been included in the proposed budget.
During the work session, additional funding for the RRSA and the YMCA were added.
The committee staff proposed that the Board takes $1,000,000 in surplus funding and set it aside to pay for the increased personnel needed for the two Rescue Squads in the FY 2024 budget.
The county is also having a salary scale performed and has set aside $205,000 for the mid-year adjustments.
The staff also proposed that the Board takes the additional revenue from the increased personal property values and use the funds to pay for debt service at the new elementary school. This will allow the school’s construction/renovation to be moved up four years in the CIP.
The committee board agreed with the proposals and had the staff finish preparing the budget with the recommended changes for Monday’s Board meeting.
The Board approved to carry this to a public hearing. They then set the public hearing date for May 18, and a subsequent adoption date for May 25.
“I think it’s really great that our people here in the County have been able to keep it revenue-neutral with all the soaring costs that we’re seeing everywhere…[It’s great] that we’re not actually going to increase the taxes…to maintain that I think speaks well to the County,” Chairman Charles Jones expressed.
The Joint Education Committee determined that Clarksville Elementary should be rebuilt first followed by Chase City Elementary, and during that process the Board should decide whether to rebuild or remodel LaCrosse Elementary.
R.T. Taylor, the Vice President of Davenport & Co, presented an in-depth financial overview of the upcoming New Elementary School Project before the Board.
He stated that the biggest question for the Board to consider now is which potential financing option is best for the project and Mecklenburg at this time. Mecklenburg has a variety of financing options that include a Direct Bank Loan, a public sale, the Virginia Public School Authority (VPSA) Pool or Stand Alone Programs, and other Federal/State lending programs.
He also explained that the Board needs to decide on this as soon as possible, as the VPSA Pool Program issuances in particular require an application to be submitted by late August of 2022 for the 2022 Fall Pool, or late February of 2023 for the 2023 Spring Pool.
“Do we go ahead—if the Board is moving forward—and lock in interest rates this fall or wait ’til the project evolves a little, lock them in next Spring, or is there an argument to be had about maybe going ahead if we know we’re going forward and lock in a substantial portion this Fall to take some of that interest rate risk off of the table and then get our completion funding next Spring,” Taylor said.
The Board will consider this presentation this month.