The Mathews County Board of Supervisors approved county administrator Steve Whiteway’s 2011-2012 proposed budget on a 4-1 vote during a sparsely-attended meeting Monday night, with supervisor Charles Ingram casting the lone dissenting vote.
In addition, board members unanimously approved a real estate tax rate of 47 cents per $100 of assessed value and a personal property tax rate of $3.70 per $100 of assessed value.
The $21,953,439 budget includes a $287,262 increase over the current budget for the school system to offset reductions in state support, as well as additional funding for the sheriff’s office to cover increased overtime, fuel and veterinary costs. There were also increases in funding for services to local children because of mandates under the Comprehensive Services Act and in funding for the county’s debt service.
Before voting, supervisors discussed two capital projects included in the budget—shoring up the island that surrounds New Point Comfort Lighthouse to prevent further erosion at a cost of $720,000, and developing a historic park at Fort Nonsense at a cost of $550,000.
During last week’s budget hearing, a speaker suggested that it was wrong to keep money in a reserve fund when the schools had been denied the full amount of money requested.
But both projects are being paid for with grant funds that will be rescinded if the projects aren’t completed within a certain time frame, and chairman O.J. Cole said he thought it was "appropriate and necessary to spend money on the lighthouse."
"It’s essential that we stabilize it and hold it for future generations," he said.