Board set to act on budget, tax rates Tuesday

Shenandoah County leaders could vote Tuesday to increase taxes and approve next year’s spending plan.

The Board of Supervisors holds a special meeting to consider adopting the proposed fiscal 2019 budget and to set the tax rates. The proposed budget assumes the county increases the tax rate on real estate from 60 cents to 66 per $100 of the assessed value and on personal property from $3.60 to $3.90.

A property owner with real estate valued at $200,000 can expect the tax bill to increase from $1,200 to $1,320 or pay $10 extra per month. A property owner with a vehicle valued at $10,000 can expect the tax bill to increase from $360 to $390.

Supervisors can approve tax rates at or below those advertised for the public hearing held last week. County Administrator Mary T. Price said Friday that even if the board adopts a tax rate below the 66 cents as advertised – the amount used to balance the proposed budget – the administration can adjust the spending plan to reflect the lower levy.

“What they’ve done in the past, and I certainly don’t know what to expect, they have tapped into the fund balance as a resource to assist with balancing even though that’s not … a good practice to follow,” Price said. “You want to try to use your fund balance for those one-time expenditures but it has been done.”

However, the county collected more tax revenue in fiscal 2017 than anticipated, Price said. The county appears poised to do the same for the current fiscal period ending June 30. Finance Director Harrison Nicholson Jr. provided information to the board earlier this week that showed the county had collected more sales so far this year than anticipated for the entire budget cycle, Price said.

“So that has also been very favorable so we believe we’ll finish favorable at the end of this year,” Price added.

Shenandoah County’s proposed budget calls for increase spending in the general fund from $62.41 million this fiscal year to $69.02 million for the period ending June 30, 2019. The proposed budget includes $30.27 million for the school division – $27.77 million for operations and $2.5 million for capital improvements. Shenandoah County employees can expect to receive a 3 percent adjustment to their cost of living allowance.

Warren County supervisors also plan to vote Tuesday on a proposal to increase the real estate tax rate from 61 cents to 66 cents per $100 of assessed value. Frederick County supervisors voted Wednesday on the budget and to increase the real estate tax from 60 cents to 61 cents. Warren County’s proposed budget includes a 2.5 percent salary increase for eligible employees that would take effect Jan. 1. Frederick County’s budget includes a 2.2-percent salary increase and employees could receive an additional 0.8 percent merit pay increase.