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Posted October 11, 2012 | 7 Comments
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 firstname.lastname@example.org