Tuesday, April 21, 2015

No news is good news

What passes for media in the region has been peppered with the fiscal angst of jurisdictions wrangling with their budgets. Some were caught between the rock of raising tax rates or the hard place of making further cuts to already tight spending plans.

Goochland was never mentioned, because our elected and appointed officials—both at the county and school division-- worked closely together to craft a budget that stayed within its means, while funding core services.

At a special meeting on April 20, 2015, Goochland Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a $46,442,404 budget for FY2016, which begins on July 1. The budget, which is based on a continuation of the 53 cent per $100 of assessed valuation, was amended to include $72,000 to create a second new deputy position in addition to the one in the proposed budget and additional $160,000 for schools. (See the Board packet for the 7 p.m. April 20 meeting available on the county website: www.co.goochland.va.us for details.
The 53 cent rate actually represents a tiny—a fraction of a penny-- tax increase because the expected revenue based on the most recent property assessments increase by more than one percent over last year.

Increases in water and sewer rates were also approved. The ad valorem tax for the Tuckahoe Creek Service District remains at 32 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Board Chair Susan Lascolette, District 1 said that the budget represents a “considerable amount of time” spent by all involved. The budget was presented for discussion at all of the town hall meetings held in March and for additional citizen comment at a public hearing on April 13. She thanked the citizens for their input and county and school staff for all of their hard work.

The only comment made during the public hearing on was a brief statement by Debbie White, Director of finance for the schools. “We are thankful for anything you can give us,” she said. This is what happens when the supervisors and school board collaborate instead of clash and work toward a common goal.

As presented, the budget represents the tip of a very large iceberg of detailed effort by all involved. County Administrator Rebecca T. Dickson also thanked everyone and said “it really does take a village to make a budget.”

The simple fact that the Goochland budget adequately funds core services, provides for modest raises for employees, and funds some capital improvements is a huge achievement.

Goochland’s budget story is a good one destined to be ignored in the best way possible.

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