For the first time in five years, people living in Albemarle County could see a tax hike. County Executive Thomas Foley presented his proposal to the Board of Supervisors Friday - and it doesn't bode well for schools either.
From school division staffing needs to state mandates, Foley says this is the budget the county needs to meet current demands.
Foley is proposing a real estate tax hike of 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed value for the 2015 fiscal year. The county's real estate tax rate sits at 76.6, and the new proposal would bump that number to 78.3. In a nutshell, if your home is valued at $200,000, you pay about $1,532 a year. If the tax hike goes through, you will pay $1,566.
Why the tax hike? School needs and state mandates.
The county is required to put together a water resource plan to protect the Chesapeake Bay.
"In the development process when new houses are built, new buildings, we have to do a different level of inspections and a greater number of inspections,” said Foley.
Another chunk of the funds would help ease financial pressure on the school division - but it still faces a $5.8 million shortfall.
Extra tax dollars would pay for additional school staffing and the increase in Virginia Retirement System mandates.
Foley says in the past five years the county eliminated 66 positions. Now as the economy starts to turn around, he says it's time to add a few of those back to meet demands. Specifically, the plan includes hiring three additional police officers to keep up with population increase.
Now that supervisors have been presented with the budget, Jane Dittmar says it's time to start taking a close look at it.
"We have four new supervisors, four new fresh pairs of eyes, four new backgrounds to bring to this,” said Dittmar, Albemarle supervisor.
The budget also includes adding public safety and social service positions.
This is just the beginning of some long budget talks. The first public hearing on the proposed budget is set for Monday at 6 p.m. at the Albemarle County Office Building.
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