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Budget hearing held

The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing Tuesday regarding the proposed fiscal year 2018-19 consolidated budget, however no members of the public spoke.

The consolidated budget is inclusive of the school budget. Estimated revenues for the 2018-19 budget totaled $43.6 million with estimated expenditures of $43.6 million.

Throughout the figure, an estimated $16 million would be for the general fund, $264,836 for the library fund, $24 million for the school fund, $1.2 million for comprehensive services fund, $2.7 million for Virginia Public Assistance Fund, $864,000 for Capital projects and $2.5 million for the Virginia Workforce Investment Board Area 8.

According to the proposed 2019 tax levies, the county would not see an increase in taxes this year, but levies would remain the same at $3.75/per $100 assessed value for personal property, $0.53/per $100 assessed value for real estate and mobile homes, $3/ per $100 assessed value for machinery and tools, $3.20/per $100 assessed value for merchant’s capital and a license registration fee of $25 per vehicle.

During the hearing, Chairman of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors Gary Walker proposed the possibility of adding a $0.38 tax levy to cover data centers.

“There is a company that’s looking for land to market (to) data centers, specifically our Heartland Regional Park,” he said.

According to Walker, the company has suggested in order for the area to be competitive with other localities, a specific rate for data centers should be added.

Currently, Walker said Charlotte County receives real estate taxes for the Heartland Regional Park and the Heartland receives personal property/machinery and tools taxes.

“So really it’s no loss of income to us, whether we do this or don’t do this, but it would put us at a competitive advantage if we had that special levy for that one industry,” he said.

Charlotte County Administrator R.B. Clark said a public hearing would have to be held regarding the matter if the supervisors were to move forward.

Wylliesburg/Red Oak Supervisor Kay Pierantoni asked if the school board was going to get back with the county regarding the needs of elementary schools in the county, following a recent joint special called meeting.

Clark said the county could expect a proposal on or before the next scheduled board of supervisors meeting, set for June 11.

“At some point, there’s going to have to be a tax increase, said Walker. Any more money we spend we will have to balance the budget.”

During the recent special called meeting of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors and the Charlotte County School Board, cost and the possible effect of taxes was a factor during talks concerning the needs at local elementary schools in the county.

“Everything we do has to be paid for and the taxpayers of Charlotte County are the ones who are going to have to pay for it,” said Walker at that time.

While a tax increase has not been slated as of yet, Walker said in his opinion, the county could be looking at tax increases for any projects incurred at this point.

“We’ve pretty much used up the flexibility we had in our budget …” said Walker at the special called meeting.

He said taxes were raised about 3-4 years ago in order for the county to get ahead on the debt service.

“ … if we have to raise taxes, we have to raise taxes,” said Wylliesburg/Red Oak Supervisors Kay Pierantoni at the special called meeting.

She said she wanted to meet the needs of the school board and if taxes are raised to meet the needs of the elementary schools in the county, “we have to have proper justification.”

According to information from the county, the budget synopsis “Is prepared and published for informative planning purposes only. The inclusion of any item does not constitute an obligation or commitment on the part of the Board of Supervisors to appropriate funds for that purpose. There is no allocation or designation of Charlotte County funds for any purpose until an appropriation for that purpose has first been made by the board of supervisors.”