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Halifax County supes look to adjust tax rate with drop in property values

SoVaNow.com / March 13, 2014
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors will consider a budget that includes a one-cent increase in the real estate tax rate to compensate for a decline in overall property values in the county.

If enacted, the new rate of 46 cents per $100 in value would bring in roughly the same amount of revenue as the current rate of 45 cents.

On Monday night, supervisors received the staff-recommended, revenue-neutral FY2015 budget. The penny increase helps to balance the recommended $87.9 million county budget.

Also, more revenues will come from taxes on public service facilities, bringing in about $300,000 with South Boston Energy coming on line.

The one cent increase generates an additional $362,634 to county coffers.

In his letter to supervisors, County Administrator Jim Halasz wrote that he used the following principles in drafting the budget: staying with current expenditure levels unless mandated to provide increases and not increasing staffing levels unless critical to provide vital service.

He also included honoring funding commitments to partner, regional agencies and local government partners while leveraging all state and federal funds that improve county services.

Halasz also pointed to the use of a revenue neutral real estate tax rate for maintaining current real estate values. He included in the current year’s budget the expected debt service costs for the renovation of the Sheriff’s Office and the interim court facilities which total $252,334.

The recommended budget contains no pay increases for county employees, but anticipates covering the increases in their health care costs.

Funding for local schools, which takes the biggest bite out of the budget, is recommended to remain level at last year’s $13,377,529.

Increases to the budget expenses include an additional $300,000 per diem cost for the Blue Ridge Regional Jail since the population of the jail continues to grow.

Also included are the purchase of five new vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department to replace five high mileage vehicles.

Two new employees will be added to the E-911 Communications Center which is being restructured to cut down on overtime expenses. Another employee will be added to the Social Services Department due to a mandated position and a local match for a Safe and Stable Families grant.

Southside Community Services Board received a $25,000 increase in order to maintain its level of services for county residents.

In his letter to Board members, Halasz reminded them that had the original requests made by all departments on Jan. 15 been included in the upcoming budget the real estate tax would have had to be increased by 11 cents to a new rate of 56 cents per $100 value rather than the one cent revenue neutral increase he is recommending.

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Comments

SCSB needs to be cut, the IDA needs to be cut. We have too many deputies, cut two or three positions would save money would not need as many cars. I am sick of seeing the "investigatiors" ride around in cars nicer then mine and I have to pay 2 months pay in property tax. School budget should have been cut not level. County should have fought the judges on the courthouse project. When are people going to stand up and say STOP SPENDING!

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If it takes 2 months pay for you property tax then you have a major self induced problem


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