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March 26, 2021

Supervisors quickly, quietly adopt “stand-pat” budget

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
The annual tax bill for the “average” single-family home valued at $378,000 will stand unchanged at $3,757.
This has essentially been a stand-pat year. I congratulate staff on getting us through the pandemic — the bulk of it in one piece.
— Supervisor Chris Granger
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
After about five minutes of discussion Thursday afternoon, Fauquier’s board of supervisors unanimously adopted a “stand-pat” fiscal 2022 county budget.

The topic of four work sessions and a March 16 public hearing, the $340.6-million spending plan requires no tax rate increase.

The real estate levy will remain at 99.4 cents per $100 of assessed value. The annual tax bill for the “average” single-family home valued at $378,000 will stand unchanged at $3,757.

While the budget funds no new programs, it provides $202,000 to restore bulk-item disposal service at the county’s five waste convenience sites.

To cut costs, the supervisors discontinued the service last July 1.

The fiscal 2022 budget also includes $484,827 to address salary “compression” — essentially pay disparities that exist between current county government employees and new hires.

Affecting 226 staff members, “the compression adjustment will assist us with the retention of employees, allow our pay to better align with the market and help us to continue to administer an equitable and consistent pay process,” county Human Resources Director Janelle Downes wrote in an email.

County Administrator Paul S. McCulla has recommended that the supervisors approve a 2.5-percent pay increase for county government and school employees that could take effect in January.

Over the course of a year, such an increase would cost about $1.3 million for county government and about $2.6 million for school system employees, according to Mr. McCulla.

But the state’s salary pledge would offset the amount Fauquier would contribute to fund those salaries, the county administrator has said.

The board plans to discuss the potential for salary increases after Fauquier gets concrete real estate reassessment data later this year and better understands the implications of approved state-funded pay hikes for teachers and state-supported county employees.

Underway, the county reassessment could generate “potentially millions” of dollars in additional revenue, beginning in January, Mr. McCulla said.

“Because of the slowdown in the reassessments with COVID, we don’t have those numbers firmed up,” board Chairman Chris Granger (Center) said. “Usually, we would’ve been able to make a commitment — if it had been the will of the board — to possibly do something with compensation, both on the county side and additional funding to the schools.”

The county’s fiscal 2022 to 2026 capital improvement plan totals $137.7 million, with an additional $178.5 million designated for “future” years.

Fiscal 2022 capital projects total $8.4 million, including almost $4 million for the Taylor Middle School and $4 million for broadband expansion.

The fiscal 2023 CIP includes $35.9 million for the Taylor improvements.

“This has essentially been a stand-pat year,” Mr. Granger said of the fiscal 2022 budget. “I congratulate staff on getting us through the pandemic — the bulk of it in one piece.”

The new fiscal year starts July 1.

Contact Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-0300.

Fiscal 2022 Adopted Budget ... by Fauquier Now

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