Pittsylvania County Administrator David Smitherman presented his proposed fiscal year 2022 budget to the Board of Supervisors on March 16. The proposed budget includes:
- No tax or rate increases.
- A general fund of $71,570,497.
- Increases in funding for public safety and justice services as well as education.
- Uses just 14% of the general fund for general government, which includes parks and recreation, community development, county administration, and all other departments that don't fit into health and human services or public safety.
Under this budget, Pittsylvania County's Real Estate Tax rate of $.62 for every $100 of assessed value will remain the same. This tax rate will yield approximately $28.8 million in revenue for FY 2022, making up 40% of all general fund revenues. While Pittsylvania County's tax rate is comparable to many surrounding localities, the tax burden is actually lower due to a lower value of total taxable properties. For instance, Pittsylvania County has less than half of the taxable real estate value of Bedford County, so even though Bedford has a lower tax rate the amount of revenue is significantly higher.
Other significant revenue sources come from state funds ($21.6 million) and personal property taxes ($10.3 million). While Pittsylvania County has seen minimal real estate revenue growth in the past year, local sales and personal property taxes are collectively up $1.5 million.
The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors is committed to continuing to invest in public safety and education. Since fiscal year 2018 the Board of Supervisors has increased annual funding to Pittsylvania County Schools by $2.5 million, bringing the total to more than $19 million annually. Public Safety investments have also increased substantially in the past several few years as the Board has increased funding to the volunteer fire and ems stations and implemented a pay study to bring law enforcement salaries up to par with the surrounding areas. Roughly 14% of all general fund expenditures are for the payment of debt, the majority of which comes from the 2007 $70 million high school and 2001 $39 million middle school construction bond referendums.
In total, 71% of the general fund budget goes towards those three categories—public safety (29%), education (28%), and debt (14%).
The total budget includes expenditures of $211,321,028, which is about $26 million more than the FY 2021 budget of approximately $201 million. Those increases are due in large part to increases in state and federal funding, including a school division budget that increases from $101 million in FY 2021 to $113 million in FY 2022.
Pittsylvania County government is accomplishing much more than it was four years ago despite operating with approximately the same number of full-time employees. Even though the number of employees has remained roughly the same, related expenses, including salaries and retirement benefits, have increased by over $1 million.
Some of the other highlights of the proposed budget include:
- The development of new convenience centers in Climax, Level Run, and a regional site in Meadow Ridge Court. Five greenbox sites will be simultaneously discontinued: Climax, Blairs Store, Moon's Store, Blair Construction, and Pittsville.
- Pittsylvania County's incorporation of the Pittsylvania County Service Authority as the water and sewer division of the the Public Works Department.
- The completion of the Gretna Library renovation, a project that is utilizing carryover funds from FY 2021.
- The construction of a new EMS station in Hurt to house Pittsylvania County Public Safety staff. This project is being completed with CARES Act funds.
Several public meetings and information sessions will take place over the next few weeks to allow citizens the opportunity to hear more about the budget, ask questions, and provide feedback. These presentations will take place at the following locations at 6 p.m.:
- March 22 – Gretna High School
- March 25 – Dan River High School
- March 29 – ECC Auditorium
- March 30 – Tunstall High School
Public hearings for both the Pittsylvania County budget and the Pittsylvania County Schools budget will take place on April 1, and then the budgets will be approved on April 8.