Mathews gets some good budget news

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Apr 04, 2012 - 04:10 PM

Retiring Mathews County Administrator Steve Whiteway gave the Mathews Board of Supervisors a bit of good news during a budget work session last Wednesday.

The county’s 2012-2013 proposed $23.66 million budget includes raises for county workers and school personnel and full funding of the school board’s $12.4 million budget request, but it doesn’t require an increase in real estate taxes. In fact, if the budget remains as it is, residents will see a 5 percent decrease in personal property taxes in the upcoming budget cycle.

Several factors are working in the county’s favor this year in terms of decreased expenses. Whiteway explained to the board that funding for the regional jail will be $87,375 less next year because of decreased usage and that there will be substantial savings in the area of waste management. The loan for construction of the waste transfer station has been paid off, erasing a $70,000+ annual debt, and the transfer station is being used less to the tune of nearly $16,000 in savings, he said, possibly because the recession has caused people to purchase less. In addition, testing and reporting requirements for the former landfill on Ridge Road ended during the current budget cycle, so that $23,000+ annual expense has been erased. Whiteway said that the expenses for the regional jail could increase if more county residents are incarcerated, in which case reserve funds would be used to cover the additional costs.

Savings are also being seen in the area of personnel, said Whiteway, since a number of vacated positions have been filled with part-time personnel rather than full-time employees. In addition, the budget calls for cutting a position from full-time to part-time in the commissioner of the revenue’s office. The board discussed doing the same thing in the treasurer’s office, but no immediate action was taken.