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Albemarle County Newsroom

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County Presents FY 2013/14 Operating and Capital Budgets to the Board of Supervisors
2/22/2013

Budget materials available online at www.albemarle.org/budget, public hearing set for February 25

County Executive Tom Foley today presented his Recommended Fiscal Year 2013/2014 combined capital and operating budget to the Board of Supervisors.  The budget totals $321,153,559, and is an increase of 2.3%, or $7.2 million, over last year.   This budget is balanced on the existing tax rate of 76.2, resulting in a slight decrease in the tax bill for the average homeowner due to a continued decline in real estate values.    This budget reflects our continued strong commitment to fiscal restraint and accountability while making important investments in strategic priorities. The number of general government positions per capita in this budget is the same as it was in FY 02/03.  The tax burden in this budget is less than the 2010 level for the average homeowner and provides a slight reduction from last year. The total adopted  FY 13/14 budget is less than our FY 08/09 budget despite growth in population and increases in mandates and obligations since that time.

The recommended FY 13/14 budget takes a much more forward thinking approach while continuing to focus on alternative revenue generation and creative solutions to resolve the challenges we face.  To a much greater degree, this budget focuses on strategic investments that support our organization’s sustainability and create capacity without increasing the tax rate.  The Board’s FY 13 – 17 Strategic Plan provides the framework for directing these innovation and investment strategies that represent measured optimism and assertive forward progress.


BUDGET OVERVIEW:

ALL FUNDS SUMMARY
The County’s proposed Fiscal Year 13/14 combined capital and operating budget totals $321,153,559. The total budget shown below includes the General Fund, Special Revenue Funds, School Fund, School Self-Sustaining Funds, Capital Funds and Debt Service Funds – additional details on these funds are provided in the budget document.

  • The budget is balanced on the existing tax rate of 76.2
  • Revenue increase of  $7.2 million, or  2.3% when compared to the FY 12/13 Adopted Budget:
    • In spite of an overall decline in existing property values of 2.3%, Property Tax revenues increase by $2.6 million or 1.9% primarily due to new construction, changes in land use rates, increases in personal property taxes, and continuation of enhanced tax collection efforts 
    • Other Local Revenue sources increase by $1.4 million or 2.2% due to increases in sales tax, food and beverage taxes, transient occupancy taxes, and EMS cost recovery revenues 
    • State revenues are projected to increase by $2.9 million or 4.1% primarily due to a $1.5 million increase in anticipated Comprehensive Services Act (CSA) revenue
    • Federal revenues are projected to increase by $0.5 million or 3.1%, due primarily to the addition of FEMA grant funding for firefighters
  • Expenditures: 
    • General Government operations increase by $3.1 million or 3.8%, primarily to meet the County’s core public safety needs and to target investments in strategic priorities
    • School Division operations budget increases by $3.3 million or 2.2%. 
      • The local transfer according to the 60/40 funding policy is an increase of $2.6 million or 2.6%, over last year’s approved budget 
      • Moves school bus replacement to capital fund, removing obligation of approximately $1.4 million from the School Division
    • While the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) continues to be primarily a maintenance-only program, the Adopted CIP includes funding to support limited school projects including the Agnor Hurt Elementary Addition/Renovation, the Contemporary Learning Spaces for schools, the Murray High School Phases 1-2 Addition/Renovation, the Schools’ Telecommunications Network Upgrade and also transportation revenue sharing with the state.

GENERAL FUND SUMMARY
The General Fund Budget is where the majority of County revenues, including local tax revenues, are received and allocated to support all operations of the County including local government and schools.  

GENERAL FUND BUDGET – REVENUE AND EXPENDITURE HIGHLIGHTS
Revenues:
General Fund revenues increase by 2.7%, or $6.0 million.  Real Estate revenues are projected to increase by 1.4% over FY 12/13.  This projected overall increase in real estate tax revenues comes despite the fact that real property values of existing property declined by 2.3% between January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013.  The drop in property values is more than offset by increases in taxable value associated with new construction, land divisions, and changes in land use deferral.  The stabilization or increases in local revenues, and an increased effort to improve tax collection results in an improved financial picture when compared to the last several fiscal years. Modest increases in local revenue sources are reflected in the recommended  FY 13/14 budget when compared to the adopted FY 12/13 budget in the following ways:

  • Real estate tax revenues are projected to increase by $1.6 million, or 1.4%
  • Personal Property tax revenues are projected to increase by $ 2.1 million or 10.7%
  • Other local tax revenues, including sales, food and beverage, are projected to increase $1.6 million or 3.5%
  • State revenues are projected to increase by 0.5%
  • Federal revenues are projected to increase by 9.8%
  • EMS cost recovery revenues are projected to increase by $416,400, or 40.6%

Expenditures:
General Fund expenditures increased by 2.7%, or $6.0 million. As has been the case in the past, the largest increases in General Fund spending are focused on support for education and public safety expenditures.   The spending priorities included in the adopted budget are highlighted below:

This budget builds resilience and supports our ability to respond to change while sustaining core operations.

Strengthening core operations:

  • Fire Rescue services are strengthened to decrease response times and increase citizen safety – the overall increase in the Fire Rescue budget, including positions supported by new EMS billing revenues and the FEMA grant, is 23.7%
    • First full year of Pantops EMS service
    • First full year of operations for the Ivy Fire Station
    • Addition of 3 fire rescue positions for daytime coverage in the Route 29 South/Ivy area in response to CARS decision to scale back services
    • Funding for Divison Chief for Volunteer Services
    • Full year of 24 hour EMS coverage on Route 29 North
  • Two new police officers to keep up with population growth and gain some ground lost over the past several years
  • Addition of one Bright Stars position to maintain our current level of service 
  • Funds one eligibility worker, one eligibility supervisor and one adult services worker to address core human service needs, partially offset by state/federal funding
  • Increases maintenance funding for General Services to protect our investment in new facilities like libraries and fire stations 
  • Increases resources for park maintenance to keep pace with new parks acquired over the past several years

Building an agile organization:

  • Establishes an Innovation Fund to support organizational initiatives that reduce costs and improve customer service and productivity
  • Establishes an Intern Fund for flexible response to evolving workload needs
  • Funds employee professional development including additional training funding to meet core training needs and support our evolving workforce

This budget invests in creating organizational capacity that yields a positive return, improving our ability to perform and produce over the long term.
Alternative revenue generation

  • Photo Safe revenues used to fund a new traffic officer position
  • One-time use of storm water capital funding to transition to a stand alone storm water program to meet growing compliance needs, anticipating implementation of a storm water utility district in 2015 to provide ongoing funding
  • Half-time grants management position anticipated to be offset to a degree by recovery of grants administration costs

Investments that yield a positive return

  • Investment in establishing economic development program to further stimulate new jobs and investment 
  • Centralized risk management position (1/2 year) projected to be more than offset through savings in insurance costs
  • New Information Technology position to improve technology solutions organization wide
  • Funding for bond referendum study to increase capacity of the Capital Budget

This budget advances strategic priorities and positions the County for the future.

  • Goal 1 - Provides excellent educational opportunities to all Albemarle County residents
    • Provides a transfer of $102.7 million to the School Division, an increase of $2.6 million over the amount included in the FY 12/13 Adopted Budget 
    • Provides new funding for school capital projects including Agnor Hurt Elementary addition/renovation, contemporary learning spaces, Murray High School addition/renovation, telecommunications network upgrade
    • Moves school bus replacement to capital fund, removing obligation of approximately $1.4 million from School Division
    • Adds a school resource officer with funding shared 50/50 with the School Division
    • Increases support for libraries by $377,113 or 11.6% - including increasing our contribution to JMRL by $190,877 and also providing funding of $186,236 directly for the utilities and maintenance costs at the Crozet and Scottsville libraries which is provided in the General Services budget
  • Goal 2 - Provides community facilities that meet existing and future needs
    • Transfer to capital and debt increases by $493,376 or 2.7% over FY 12/13 adopted budget based on capital funding formula
    • Continues funding for ongoing capital projects including completion of Crozet Library, fire station construction and the police firing range
    • Funding for new critical needs, particularly school construction projects
    • Higher level of transportation revenue sharing funding
    • Funding for Acquisition of Conservation Easements (ACE) to match federal and state grant opportunities
    • Increases capital reserve for watch list items
    • School fund balance in excess of 2% transferred to CIP
  • Goal 3 - Encourages a diverse and vibrant economy
    • Funds membership in Chamber of Commerce and Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development (TJPED) using Economic Development Authority (EDA) funds 
    • Increases funding for TJPED based on a new cost allocation formula and expanded regional efforts
    • Increases funding for Central Virginia Small Business Development Center based on County’s share of services
    • Funds the Economic Opportunity Fund 
    • Provides funds to establish Economic Development program (as described above)
  • Goal 4 - Protects the County’s parks and it’s natural, scenic and historic resources
    • Provides Chesapeake Bay TMDL study funding in the capital budget
    • Recreational and cultural agency contributions increase 4.3% based primarily on increases to JMRL described above and the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau (CACVB) by formula
  • Goal 5 - Ensures the Health and Safety of the Community
    • Funds 100% of Volunteer Fire Operations according to the funding policy
    • Increase for core public safety training needs
    • Health and welfare agency contributions increase 1% on average
    • Increase of 13.5%, or $136,000, to JAUNT for transportation for the elderly and disabled
    • Strengthens fire and EMS services (as described above)      
    • Four new police officers – two patrol offices along with a new traffic safety officer and a new SRO (as described above) 
    • Addition of one Bright Stars position and three DSS positions (as described above)
  • Goal 6 - Promotes individual responsibility and citizen ownership of community challenges
    • Stresses reallocation to create a volunteer coordinator position
  • Goal 7 - Promotes a valued and responsive County workforce that ensures excellent customer service
    • Provides 2% performance salary increase for employees, first performance increase in four years
    • Provides reclassification contingency 
    • Provides full year of funding for Police and Fire recruitment and retention initiatives  
    • Anticipates increase for both employer and employee contributions to health insurance
    • Increases funding for professional development including core and enhanced training and tuition reimbursement (as described above)
    • Innovation and intern funds (as described above)
    • IT position to support technology initiatives county wide (as described above)

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