Tax hike approved in Mathews
Mathews supervisors, meeting Tuesday afternoon in the historic courthouse, unanimously adopted a budget for the coming fiscal year based on a real estate tax rate of 54 cents per $100 of assessed value and a personal property tax rate of $3.70 per $100.
The tax rates represent increases of 7 cents per $100 for real estate and 5 cents per $100 for personal property.
The increases were approved to fund a $24,018,000 total budget, with $13,545,395 for schools, $1,719,764 for Social Services, and $8,752,841 for county operations, including capital projects.
With the exception of salaries, the school budget was fully funded as requested. The school board had asked for a 2 percent increase, plus step, for teachers, administrators and support staff; the adopted county budget provides enough for a 1 percent raise, plus step.
The Social Services budget was fully funded as requested, and supervisors also included full funding requested by the fire department and rescue squad, with $25,000 of the rescue squad’s request coming from the fund balance, according to County Administrator Mindy Moran. A part-time position was also added for maintenance of county facilities.
Supervisor Janine Burns questioned Moran’s decision to use the fund balance for the additional $25,000 requested by the rescue squad, suggesting that funds might have been found in the operating budget by reducing some line items that were higher in the upcoming budget than in past budgets.
Moran said she anticipated being able to reduce line items once the delayed state budget has been approved, and Burns reiterated that she wants the board to examine the budget more closely. Supervisor Jack White agreed, saying, “The citizens cry out for us to delve into the budget.”
Supervisor O.J. Cole said the county needs to meet with the school board and “take a good look at the line items to understand them better.”
White made the motion to approve the budget as amended following last week’s public hearing, and he was seconded by Edwina Casey.