The public will have a chance to comment on a proposed $115,797,171 budget Monday evening as discussed by Halifax County Board of Supervisors to include a 2-cents real estate tax increase to help support local schools, a 4% raise for full-time county employees and an increase in dispatcher pay.
The public hearing is set for 6 p.m. in the Mary Bethune Office Complex in Halifax.
Earlier this month, supervisors met in a budget work session to discuss the possibilities of raising the real estate tax after receiving more information from the state regarding the schools’ budget.
Initially, they had reviewed a budget that included no new taxes, and the finance committee had recommended giving the school system the required local effort. But, what that required local effort would be remained up in the air.
After reviewing Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed budget, supervisor’s finance committee agreed to propose funding local schools at the required local effort as determined by the Virginia Department of Education, which would total $13,730,332, a decrease from the $14,000,000 the Halifax County School Board received last year.
The required local effort of $13,730,332, based on the governor’s proposed budget, also is based on the current composite index and total expected student enrollment of 4,319.
County finance director Stephanie Jackson informed supervisors earlier this month of the Senate and House budgets.
Based on the Senate’s proposed budget, the required local effort for the county would be $14,135,789, and based on the House’s proposed budget, the RLE for the county would be $14,244,455, said Jackson.
Vice chairman Garland Ricketts suggested they advertise a 2-cent real estate tax increase to cover the House and Senate budgets.
In addition to the 4% pay increase for all full-time county employees, the county’s proposed budget also includes $44,840 to give dispatchers an additional $2,000 per year to help get them more in line with neighboring jurisdictions.
Other items included in the proposed budget are $10,000 for the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority’s search for an executive director, $12,000 for postal services for the treasurer, and additional $45,000 for the electoral board to pay for added poll officials for next year.
County staff also is recommending funding an additional $9,000 to the registrar’s office for new state security standards, an additional $175,000 for the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office to purchase five new vehicles, an additional $25,000 for the ambulance and rescue services, and funding to provide janitorial services for buildings and grounds.
The proposed contribution to the county’s rescue squad totals $175,000 with the other county rescue services proposed to receive $80,000.
The sheriff’s office had requested $210,000 to fund six vehicles, and rescue had requested $134,000.
As far as the janitorial services, Jackson said funding was being recommended to pay for four full-time employees with two being dedicated to the courthouse and four part-time employees.
Public works had requested a replacement service truck that was not included in the proposed budget. Also not included in the proposed budget are additional funds for a full-time attorney for the Commonwealth Attorney’s office and an additional request of $15,000 for the Tri-County Community Action Agency.
The proposed budget also includes level funding totaling $218,800 for the library. The library had requested $236,408.
Following the public hearing, supervisors are expected to discuss the budget further.
The board is slated to approve the budget on April 5.