The Stafford Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a budget that lowers the personal property tax on vehicles by four cents, and maintains all other property tax rates.
The adopted $286,415,159 FY18 budget provides funding for public safety, education, infrastructure improvements, planning for the future of the new courthouse, and using revenues to preserve open space, according to Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Paul Milde, Aquia District.
The FY18 Budget was driven by the need to cover the debt service on the cost of the record number of projects completed by Stafford in the last few years, as well as to provide a stream of funding for future capital needs, such as a new courthouse, and school projects, Milde said.
“Revenues were up this year, and we were able to find a way to cut personal property taxes while still providing for the needs of our growing county,” said Supervisor Wendy Maurer, Rock Hill District, chairman of the Finance, Audit and Budget Committee.
The FY18 Budget is built around the board’s priorities for the community, which are education, public safety, infrastructure, economic development, and service excellence, all of which are encompassed by an overall theme of “Fiscal Responsibility and Reducing the Tax Burden,” the board said.
Fiscal Responsibility and Reducing the Tax Burden – Cuts the personal property tax by four cents, maintains other tax rates, continues focus on achieving a third AAA bond rating, establishes revenue stream for large capital projects and grants.
Education – Provides increases in mandated private day school funds by $760,000, funds the county’s share of a 2 percent raise for all school employees, maintains a level operating transfer per student, and provides funds for the School Board’s capital improvement program.
Public Safety – Funds four new Sheriff’s Office deputies, one Fire and Rescue position, and one fire inspector.
Infrastructure – Implements capital program for roads, parks, schools, and general government projects, increased debt service of $1.6M, increases funds for the Purchase of Development Rights Program, establishing a funding stream for future firefighter SAFER grant positions.
Economic Development – Fully funds the Stafford Opportunity Fund to attract businesses to the county and enhances funding to implement the Economic Development Strategic Plan.
Service Excellence – Provides for a new law clerk position for the courts, a Social Services position, a building inspector position, a conversion of a part-time to a full-time position for a Gymnastics Program Coordinator, a conversion of two part-time positions to one full-time position for an IT Technician and an IT Security Administrator. Funds a 2 percent salary increase for employees, and implements market adjustment to improve competitiveness and equity.
The FY18 Budget is available online at www.staffordcountyva.gov