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PE Board In Step With No Tax Hike

PRINCE EDWARD – The County's advertised budget includes no tax increase for the coming year and level local funding for the County's schools.

County supervisors met in a work session Tuesday afternoon and agreed to hold a public hearing on the budget proposal on Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. (It will be a joint public hearing on the school and County budget.)

The $57,277,854 for total County operations (which includes funding for the school and state and federal revenues in addition to local funds) factors $19,612,591 in total general fund expenditures. The proposal, essentially County Administrator Wade Bartlett's recommended budget, would keep the real estate tax rate at 42 cents per $100 of assessed value, tangible personal property rate at $4.50 per $100 of assessed value, machinery and tools rate at $4.20 per $100 of assessed value, merchant's capital at 70 cents per $100 of assessed value, and continue a zero rate for farm machinery and livestock.

The advertised budget factors level funding for the County's school system and does not include a requested $275,000 in additional funding that would allow school officials to increase a planned 1.5 percent pay increase to three percent.

Supervisors, however, have the option of amending the budget before or after the hearing. (If they increase their overall budget by one percent they would have to hold another public hearing, it was noted. To reach that level, however, they would have to increase it by more than $500,000.)

Asked if they were locked into the advertised tax rates, Bartlett noted: “You could not go any higher than those, but you could go lower-unless you readvertise again a public hearing…”

The final budget is yet to be hammered out by the board, which has additional work sessions scheduled. School officials are expected to officially present their budget request to supervisors next Tuesday at 5 p.m.