Lunenburg County adopts budget

Published 11:44 am Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Lunenburg County Board Supervisors adopted a $32.7 million budget that maintains the current tax rate at its Thursday meeting.

Supervisors adopted the budget with little discussion.

The Lunenburg County Public Schools will receive an additional $50,000, plus the allowance of $156,268 in fiscal year 2015 carryover to equal $206,268 above the current year’s $3,239,616 local funding.

The $206,268 is less than the $342,000 requested by the system to provide a 2-percent pay increase. The state will provide funding for Standards of Quality positions, and the local school system wants to provide matching raises for all remaining staff.

“The county cannot afford to give that much new money to the school without a tax increase,” County Administrator Tracy Gee said. “We are already using our surplus funds to achieve a balanced budget, unfortunately.”

Besides the school system’s additional $50,000, the county is budgeting for other upcoming expenses, including purchase of a new phone system, installing a new courthouse septic system, providing a 2-percent raise for its employees to match the raise the state plans for constitutional officers, increased cost for juvenile detention and an additional $8,000 for the Kenbridge emergency squad’s reorganization efforts.

The budget pulls over $100,000 from the general fund reserve, and the county reduced its buildings and grounds staff by one position and the cooperative extension office by one position.

Gee indicated at the April meeting that the board should start implementing small, incremental tax increases which would be less burdensome than a substantial increase at one time, warning, “There is going to come a time we are going to have to raise these taxes.”

Lunenburg officials note the county ties with Accomack County for the lowest real estate tax rate in Virginia at $0.38 per $100 valuation, however Accomack assesses an additional charge per district for fire and medical services.

Each one-cent increase in real estate tax generates an additional $85,900, Gee said.