Welcome to The Maysville Voice, the newsletter for those who reside and vote in the Maysville District in Buckingham County. I am pleased to bring you much information, links, and resources to inform and engage with you as your County Supervisor.
Some topics we will be considering or hearing about during our meeting on this Monday include: A presentation of a resolution honoring and memorizing the late Rev. Otis Worley, Lena Lucille Peaks, and Pete Senger; Recognition of the Buckingham County Scholastic Bowl 2023 State Champions; recognition of Tyshea Chambers, Miss Virginia 2023; Recognition of The Garden Club’s 90th Anniversary; and a presentation by Greg Hogston, with Blue Line Solutions, regarding a speed enforcement proposal for the portion of the Route 20 Corridor where the Carter G. Woodson Complex is.
We will also be discussing VDOT matters (I always welcome your roadway issues), repairs to the Arvonia Solid Waste Site, and an appointment to the Buckingham Extension Leadership Council.
Our upcoming Board of Supervisors regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 8, 2023 in the Peter Francisco Board Room in the County Administration Complex on Route 60. I encourage you to attend to learn more about your County Government and how your tax dollars are spent. If you’re unable to attend in person, you can view our meeting live here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfIL3rVTUEqgxBwXCQoBDTA.
Here is a link to our agenda and full Board Packet: https://buckinghamcountyva.org/administration/boards___commissions/board_of_supervisors/board_agenda_minutes_youtube.php. Should you have any questions or concerns about anything contained in the packet or on the agenda, please reach out to me. My contact information is below at the end of this newsletter.
Public comments may be made in person during three minute increments. You must sign up before our meeting to speak.
Breaking Down Our Approved $67 Million Budget
During our last meeting, we adopted our $67,215,776 fiscal year operating budget, which includes many working parts that will benefit the residents of Buckingham County by investing more money in law enforcement, public schools, our county employees, emergency medical services, and many essential, core services. A hearing on the then-proposed budget and tax increase was be held last month, where only one person spoke regarding the increase in the air plane tax. The budget reflects a raise, matching that going to state employees, for our County Staff (between 5-7 percent, depending on what the State Legislature does as they have yet agreed or disagreed on budget amendments), two new dispatch positions at the Sheriff’s Office, an unassigned fund balance of $228,257, a decrease in debt by about $170,000, and additional funding for our public library. Keep in mind the Virginia General Assembly has not finalized their negotiations to amending the biennial budget, which is causing a guessing game for localities.
I am proud to say that our budget is balanced with a very health reserve fund balance. I commend County Administrator Karl Carter for his work in forecasting and being lean in our spending. I am also proud to have helped lead budget negotiations on the Board.
Because of their long meetings, the new work sessions causing the Planning Commission to now meet twice a month, we did increase the pay of the commissioners to reflect what the board makes: $6,000 per year and $7,000 per year for the chairman. While there was a proposal discussed to raise the Board of Supervisors’ pay, we decided not to take action on that seeing that we had to raise real estate taxes and “rob Peter to pay Paul” by invading our reserves to fully funds the schools. We also put back into the budget $20,000 for fire and EMS training, and granted an $11,000 request from STEPS Inc. to help in aiding women in our community who have been domestically abused.
Unfortunately, for many reasons, the budget reflects a real estate tax increase, returning to our pre-pandemic rate of $0.55 cents per $100 of assessed value, going from $0.52 to $0.55. This is largely due to the fact that, in order to continue to operate our emergency management services (rescue services), we are in need of revenue. The grant that Dominion Energy graciously allocated the county has been spent. The county knew that, even at fee for service/reimbursements from health insurance coming in at about $1 million per year, we would need a more sustainable way to fund this core service. Also, we are invading our reserve account by roughly $623,000 to fully fund our public schools due to their increased needs (and this comes after they made their own budget cuts, including positions). If the board passed this $623,000 school system need on to the tax payers right now, along with the roughly $800,000 EMS need onto the tax payers, that would be an estimated 11 cent real estate tax increase. With the way the economy is now, that would be simply wrong.
The county needs more business and industry to grow our tax base, there is no question about it, so we do not have to be so reliant on the landowners. The most recent opportunities in a mixed use development with housing and businesses and solar project, which would have brought hundreds of thousands to the county, may have allowed us to avoid this tax increase. Again, the county needs more business expansion and industry.
With the three cent tax rate increase, for example, someone with a home valued at $100,000 would only pay $30 more a year. Likewise with a home valued at $200,000, that homeowner would pay $60 more per year. A home assessed at $300,000 would see a bill increased by only $90, and a homeowner with a home assessed at $400,000 per year would see a $120 increase per year.
I do feel like bumping up our real estate rate while pulling money from our reserve fund is a fair compromise for the taxpayers of Buckingham County. Also, we are proposed to double the tax assessed on airplanes from $0.55 cents per $100 of assessed value to $1.10 per $100 of assessed value. I feel this is more equitable in that if one can afford to purchase and fly an airplane, nine times out of 10 that person can afford to pay a little more in taxes to have that luxury.
The budget also includes increased our Public Service Corporation tax rate to reflect our Real Estate tax rate. There are no other tax increase proposed. Also in the budget is a forecasted nine percent increase in our county health insurance plan and removal of vehicle purchases as we will use federal relief money for those purchases.
If you want to look for where someone’s priorities are, or a county’s priorities, you look to their budget.
Should you have any questions, concerns, ideas, or opinions about this newsletter, county government, services, opportunities, etc., please never hesitate to contact me. You can reach me at 434-390-7023 via text or phone, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write me at PO Box 188, Buckingham, Virginia 23921.
Thomas Jordan Miles III
Member, Buckingham County Board of Supervisors
District Four Supervisor (Maysville)
13170 West James Anderson Highway
PO Box 188
Buckingham, Virginia 23921