Albemarle County staff have submitted their budget proposal to the Board of Supervisors, Brandon Shulleeta writes in the Progress. That $294M proposal (available on the county’s website) is based on the wishes of the BoS, and it cuts real estate taxes, which means sharply cutting school funding, fire county staff, and shut down construction project. There are cuts clear to core county services. The total cut in spending is $10M from this year’s budget, and is based on the same 74.2¢ real estate tax rate that we’ve got now. (You’d think that would result in the same level of income, but reduced home values mean less revenue.) That’s a savings of $91 per household.
This budget is really just the starting point for a debate, which is to say how tolerant that citizens will be of either an increase in the tax rate or a decrease in services. For instance, something like a hundred teachers will probably be laid off (a pretty sizable layoff in Albemarle), and you can expect parents to raise hell about that. On the revenue side, the debate will probably be over whether we should retain the existing taxation rate or the existing dollar value. Bumping the rate from 74.2¢ to 76.6¢ would leave property owners paying the same amount in taxes next year as this year, which would likewise leave the county with the same amount in revenue. With a conservative majority on the board, it’s a fair bet that the 74.2¢ rate is going to stick when they set the budget, but expect a lot of angry meetings between now and then.