Bath Board Of Supervisors Moving Ahead With County Budget Process
Warm Springs, Va – With a state budget in place, the Bath Board of Supervisors is moving ahead with the county budget process. At a budget work session on Monday night, the Board discussed raises for county employees. A 3% cost of living raise will be factored into the preliminary budget; it would go into effect on January first.
The raise would cover county and school employees and funding will be factored in to also cover 3% raises for constitutional officers, if the state does not provide their raises. Supervisor Claire Collins said raises need to uniform across the board and so constitutional officers should get a raise from the county, if the state does not supply it. She added that constitutional officers are not only doing work for the state, they are also doing work for the county.
No tax increases are planned in the preliminary budget. The personal property tax rate will remain at the current rate of 35 cents, while the real estate tax will remain at the current rate of 48 cents. In order to balance this preliminary budget, more than $300,000 is being used from the fund balance.
Changes in requirements on Virginia Retirement System contributions have had an impact on budget planning this year. Employees must now pay the 5% employee share of VRS contributions, instead of the employers paying it. But employers are required to provide a 5% salary increase to offset the additional contribution the employees will be making.
But to keep salaries at the same level, the county also has to cover the increased expense of additional FICA taxes that will come along with those raises. The proposed 3% cost of living raise would compensate for those extra costs associated with the VRS changes, so employees would actually receive a raise of about 2.5%.
The board also discussed the proposed school budget on Monday night. The school system is requesting $838,000 more for next year, with about $250,000 of that being required due to the VRS changes; and that $800,000 figure will rise if the Board approves the 3% raise.
Supervisor Claire Collins said she received phone calls from parents wanting information on what the school system is spending its money on. She said parents are concerned that students are not prepared for jobs or for college when they graduate in Bath County. She said they want to know that any new money going to the schools is being used for the enhancement of students. She said to be able to consciously vote for more money for education she too needs those answers, since she’s had constituents ask those questions.
The public hearings on the both the county budget and the school budget will be held at the next regular meeting of the Bath Board of Supervisors which is Tuesday May 8th.