BOS receives financial forecast

Published 2:08 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Per a request from the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors, Ted Cole, of Davenport & Company attended the most recent budget work session.
Cole offered a presentation of a thorough and comprehensive review of the County’s financial operation as well as a preliminary financial forecast for the County as it plans for it fiscal future.

According to Davenport’s findings, Charlotte County shares a profile with 25 percent of the counties in Virginia that operate with less than $20.5 million in local revenue. Charlotte County currently reports local revenue at $14.9 million.

When compared to the reported revenues of the six counties adjacent to Charlotte, it is surpassed by all save Lunenburg County, which reports operating revenue of approximately $10.5 million.

Davenport’s financial review also included an all-inclusive total of tax-supported debt service that the County was obligated to as of June 30, 2018, the beginning of the current fiscal year. The individual projects contributing to the burden include: Courthouse — $11,395,000, Schools — $1,751,154 and Schools (2017 BB&T for Eureka)— $6,100,000. The total amount is $19,246,154.

Those totals, carried through the full term of their payback increase greatly.

The Courthouse Project payback alone, carried to full term will equal $20,583,763, the School Projects combined payback will come to $10,037,166 and all combined equal $30,620,929.

The courthouse will not be paid for in full until 2046, according to the review.

Records do indicate that the County, in anticipation of financing obligations, did raise the real estate tax rate between 2015 and 2016 from $0.48 to $0.53, an increase of 4.8 percent, to pay for the Courthouse Debt Service.

Another important observation noted in the report was recent use of the County’s Reserve Fund as a means to partially pay for School Capital Improvement Projects.

Beginning in 2017 the Reserve Fund, totaling $11.3 million at the time, was incrementally reduced by $500,000 and $4.8 million in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

The County’s analysis and determined attention to the budget, along with the implementation of the advertised tax increases has resulted in a balanced budget for fiscal year 2020.

“However,” the review stated, “depending on the level of School capital and operational needs, the County and Schools may need to identify additional revenue sources and/ or operational efficiencies to offset potential incremental impacts.”

According to projections provided in the Davenport Review, the potential impact for fiscal year 2021 could range between 1.3 and 10.4 cents, subject to approved funding commitments.