Additional revenues appear to be needed for Mathews budget

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Mar 19, 2014 - 01:09 PM

Revenue projections for FY 2014-15 appear to show that Mathews County won’t be able to fund next year’s budget without some increase in local taxes.

During a supervisors’ retreat held in the historic courthouse last Wednesday, County Administrator Mindy Moran told supervisors that additional state and federal mandates will require increased revenue.

“This is not to embark on some ambitious capital improvement plan,” she said. “Just to deal with additional mandates, we’re not going to be able to hold the (tax) rates steady.”

Supervisor Charles Ingram commented that “there’s a whole lot of wants out there,” but Moran said that, even if the school system’s request for a 2 percent plus step salary increase for employees is taken out of the equation, an additional $300,000 will be needed by the division just to compensate for increases in funding for mandated requirements for schools and employee contributions to the Virginia Retirement System.

Revenues in the upcoming budget are expected to total $17,200,346 from all sources—local, federal and state taxes as well as committed funds, said Moran. Of that amount, the local contribution is expected to be $11,953,487.

“Obviously we’re dependent on ourselves for the vast majority of our revenue,” she said, “which makes unfunded mandates a big problem.”

Moran explained that the county’s revenues from the state and federal governments “continue to shrink at the same time that mandates continue to grow.”

She said that Mathews has done a good job of holding a steady tax rate over the years, lowering the tax rate during reassessment years when property values increased. She showed a chart illustrating that the county’s real estate tax rate has decreased significantly since 2003, when it was 79 cents per $100 of assessed value. From 2005 to 2010, the rate ranged from 51 cents to 56 cents per $100. It is currently at 47 cents per $100 of assessed value.