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Staff pay boost from surplus tied to merit

By Alex Bridges

The fruits of Frederick County's economic success are going to its school and government staff.

But how much of a one-time pay bonus workers receive depends on their merits determined through recent evaluations.

The Board of Supervisors on Wednesday approved a resolution to amend the county's current fiscal budget by $3.9 million. The county collected $8.2 million more tax revenue than estimated in fiscal 2012, according to Finance Director Cheryl Shiffler. The county repaid $4.3 million it borrowed from reserves to balance last year's budget, leaving $3.9 million in unreserved funds for other purposes.

The resolution sets the amount of the salary supplement at 3 percent. Shiffler explained Thursday not all employees would receive a supplement of 3 percent.

Depending on the results of the evaluation, employees could receive less than 3 percent, and some could receive no bonus, according to Shiffler.

Under the appropriation, the school system receives 57 percent of the $3.9 million. The funding formula calls for the general fund, used by the county government, to receive $1,677,000, or 43 percent of the total.

The county plans to use $820,000 to pay for a 3 percent, one-time salary supplement for government employees, and $136,842 to cover a shortfall for workers' contributions to the Virginia Retirement System.

Supervisors voted 5-2 in favor of the resolution, which appropriates $3.9 million from the surplus for capital expenses, the school operating fund and one-time salary supplements. The resolution adds that of that $3.9 million, the county would appropriate $2,223,000 to the school operating fund for one-time salary supplements.

Supervisors Gary Lofton and Bill Ewing voted against approving the resolution.

How the county uses the remaining $720,158 of its share of the surplus remains undetermined. County officials compiled a list of immediate needs with a total cost of $1,838,021. Officials will address which items in the list to cover with the remaining surplus.

The School Board's share of $2.2 million will go toward paying for a 3 percent, one-time salary supplement for system employees. However, giving the supplements to all staff would cost $2,435,000, so school officials plan to address how to make up the $212,000.


Also at the meeting, supervisors took another step to help Lord Fairfax Community College expand its Middletown campus.

The college seeks to add a student union facility to a 20-acre area north of the campus, which is owned by LFCC's foundation. Plans call for the facility to receive water from Winchester and sewer service from Middletown as the campus does currently. However, in order to connect to the utilities the county must extend the Sewer Water Service Area to the 20-acre site.

The county plans to study a much larger area for possible expansion of the Sewer Water Service Area around the site. Such expansion often makes way for future residential and commercial development. The matter will be taken up by the Planning Commission and the Comprehensive Plans and Programs Committee before it returns to the supervisors, according to Deputy County Administrator Jay Tibbs.

The board authorized staff to advertise a public hearing, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 7 before the Planning Commission, to receive comments about the potential expansion of the Sewer Water Service Area.

The area initially eyed for the study covers almost 140 acres around the college north of town limits between Interstate 81 and U.S. 11, part of which extends to Mustang Lane. The second phase of the study would cover an additional 101 acres north of the area in the first assessment, east of U.S. 11. The second phase also would look at expanding the Sewer Water Service Area to several parcels totaling more than 73 acres on the west side of U.S. 11 from town limits to Rienzi Knoll Lane.

An engineer for LFCC has had some discussion with both the city and town regarding the project, according to Chris Boies, vice president of financial and administrative services for the college.

"In the meantime, we will continue to finalize the site plan and architectural drawings so we can submit a building and zoning permit to the county," Boies stated in an email Thursday. "We are hopeful that excavation could start later this year with construction completion by the end of 2013."

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com


Why not put in in a 'RAINY DAY' fund so the next time there is a shortfall, they would have some extra money, like most families try to do?
BUT NO, let's spend it like there's no tomorrow. And it's only taxpayers money that was now extra and over our 'required' budget.

Frederick County has a rainy day fund with around 40 million in it.

Did you not read the article. They put 4.3 million into the reserve fund.

I guess you think $4.3 Million is ENOUGH for the whole county? That could be wiped out in just one emergency.

The government finds that it has "extra" money in very hard times.

What to do???

Ah. Let's give it to -- workers for the government!

Nothing new here. Move along.

So "extra" money... workers havent received pay increases since 2008. Frederick County workers have been left behind in pay comparative to all of Virginia. When I say left behind, I am referring to the cost of living verse the amount of income received. We are talking about teachers, public safety and other local government workers. And we should all understand that these salaries are not lavish high end variety they are just enough to keep workers out of entitlement programs but not enough to survive. The facts are that many workers are faced with looking for employment in higher paying areas in order to live in this market. Doesnt sound like a big deal until you factor in the experience and level of service that these folks have provided to you. When they leave you lose the most valuable asset the taxpayers have and that is experienced teachers, knowledgeable and prepared emergency workers and law enforcement ready to handle the increased demands of the still growing community.
We should all focus on the Board of Supervisors who have a very strong reputation for providing huge and inappropriate shelters and breaks to businesses. They have interests in real estate projects throughout the county which very often provide conflicts for clear decision making for our community. Many times zoning changes and approval is based on the financial gain of one or more of the supervisors. If they dont gain from the transaction they may delay or impede progress until their needs are met. While they bask and gloat in the glory of "surplus" we should all ask who have they rolled on to obtain those goals. The answer is they have rolled on every teacher, firefighter, deputies, and most of all taxpayers.

Thank you Zmann. My husband and I are both teachers in the county and both of us have to work extra jobs to make ends meet. While this 3% will help with Christmas, we'll still have to continue working outside of our classrooms to pay the bills.

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