The Following is a general overview of the upcoming budget. It’s a responsible budget with nothing crazy in it, so it may be boring to look over, as there is really nothing to be too terribly upset about.
Total Requests for Budget increases from fiscal year 2016 to 2017 equaled $5,797,327. That’s a 12.40% increase. To cover all requests, the County would have to impose a 23.19 cent, per dollar, increase in taxes. In other words, requests are asking for a massive and unprecedented tax increase on the county. This happens with every budget, so it is the job of the County Administrator to reign in the requests and present The Board with a responsible budget.
Our schools have requested an $1,894,388, or 15.24% increase which would amount to around 8 cents per dollar increase in taxes per family.
The County Administrator has requested an annual increase $2,260,977 which amounts to a 3.19% increase.
Property owners in the county, who pay the taxes, are always interested in future tax increases and out of control debt. The proposed budget by the county is only a 2.48% increase, roughly a standard of living raise for the county.
We’re in a much better position than we used to be. Debt payments are down next year to the tune of 10.73%, equal to $5,419,862. However, we still have $5,000,000 in new debt for the YMCA in Ladysmith (to the tune of $244,863 in 2017) and Bowling Green Elementary School (to the tune of $115,210 in 2017).
Taxes will go down this year in order to absorb property assessment increases.
Here is the break down on what the county proposes on spending:
General Government Administration: -$79,513 or -2.64%.
Judicial: -36,051 or -4.42%/.
Commonwealth Attorney: $76,102 or 13.82% increase.
Sheriff Tony Lippa: $14,562 or .33%. (this is a cut according to inflation)
School Resource Officers: ($120,819) though this includes a State funded $120,00 grant.
Fire and Rescue: ($303,836) 7.58% increase.
Public Works: $216,016 which is a 7.96 % increase.
Housing and Human Services = -$992 or -00.17%.
Parks and Recreation: $12,442 or 1.67%
Community Development $29,328 or 3.14 or PIE.
This is a responsible budget. I understand that it doesn’t cover all areas, nor does it make everyone happy. However, for residents who pay taxes in Caroline County, I think we can all agree that a balanced budget is exactly what we are looking for.
It is easy to create community battles between those who pay taxes and those who do not, but a community should never have to pit one group of residents against another. I know the School Board doesn’t get everything they want in this budget and that there are many other applicants who need more from the county. However, if we want to spend more money, we need to grow the tax base in Caroline County first.
I like this budget. It’s responsible, it fully funds the government, and it doesn’t threaten to pile excessive debt or taxes upon Caroline County residents.