Board of Supervisors – Budget Public Hearing

Peter Muhlenberg Middle School
1251 Susan Avenue
Woodstock, VA 22664

MINUTES OF PUBLIC HEARING OF

THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

April 5, 2018

The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors held Public Hearings on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 7:00pm at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School 1231 Susan Avenue, Woodstock,   The following members of the Board of Supervisors were present:   Chairman Conrad A. Helsley, Vice Chairman Richard Walker, Cindy Bailey, Steve Baker, Marsha Shruntz and Dick Neese.   Others present included County Administrator Mary T. Price, Assistant County Administrator Evan Vass, Director of Finance Harrison Nicholson and Deputy Clerk Chris Sherman.

A moment of silence was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Chairman Helsley thanked County Departments, Sanitary Districts, School Division, State and Constitutional officers for their work on the proposed 2019budget.  He also thanked Administration staff for assisting with the preparation of the budget documents.  Chairman Helsley also reminded the audience that the public hearing is intended to receive public comment from citizens and asked them to please state their name and address and limit their statement to three (3) minutes.  He invited comments for the following public hearings:

  1. The purpose of this hearing is to hear public comment pursuant to Title 15.2, Chapter 25 of the Code of Virginia, as amended regarding the proposed Stoney Creek Sanitary District Budget for the Fiscal Year 2019 beginning July 1, 2018 and ending on June 30, 2019.  The budget is for informative and fiscal planning purposes only and includes expenditures totaling $1,655,117.

The ad valorem tax rate for Real Estate is $0.17 per $100 Assessed Valuation.

No public comments were received.

  1. The purpose of this hearing is to hear public comment pursuant to Title 15.2, Chapter 25 of the Code of Virginia, as amended regarding the proposed Toms Brook/Maurertown Sanitary District Budget for the Fiscal Year 2019 beginning July 1, 2018 and ending on June 30, 2019. The budget is for informative and fiscal planning purposes only and includes expenditures totaling $ 589,920.

The ad valorem tax rate for Real Estate is $0.04 per $100 Assessed Valuation.

No public comments were received.

  1. The purpose of this hearing is to hear public comment pursuant to Title 58.1-3007 of the Code of Virginia as amended, on the proposed property tax rates for the Calendar Year 2018. Be advised that subsequent to the public hearing the Board may adopt rates equal to or lower than the rates as proposed but shall not adopt rates higher than those proposed without proper notice and opportunity for public comment.  The property tax rates for Calendar Year 2018 as proposed are as follows:

Real Property, including mobile homes          $ 0.66

Personal Property, non-farm                           $ 3.90

Personal Property, business                             $ 3.15

Machinery and Tools                                      $ 3.15

Merchants’ Capital                                          $ 0.60

AND to hear public comment pursuant to Title 15.2, Chapter 25 and Title 22.1 Chapter 8 of the Code of Virginia as amended, on the proposed General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 beginning July 1, 2018 and ending on June 30, 2019.  The proposed General Fund Budget is for informative and fiscal planning purposes only and includes departmental expenditures totaling $69,029,086.

AND to hear public comment pursuant to Section 15.2-1427(f) of the Code of                           Virginia, as amended, to adopt an ordinance which implements the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 budget by (i) formally adopting the budget and (ii) appropriating the funds budgeted for expenditure.

The following comments were received:

Linda Allen of 259 Lower River Rd., Toms Brook spoke in favor of the tax increase and saw it as an investment in the youth.

Karen Whetzel of 9424 Shenandoah Dr., New Market said that she supports full funding of the school division.

Linda Holtzapple, Executive Director of Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging thanked the board for their financial support towards assisting the senior citizens in the county.

Jack Bauserman of Woodstock suggested the board look at the Consumer Price Index to measure tax increases and phase in tax increases.  He also suggested the board hire a system analyst specialist to study potential efficiencies between general government and school system.

Scott Thompson of Woodstock spoke in support of the Sheriff’s request for a drone which he stated is a critical piece of equipment and his use of asset forfeiture funds to acquire it.

Richard Newcomer of Maurertown said that he supports the Shenandoah County School Board and their request for full funding.

Michelle Manning of Woodstock said she is a parent who fully supports the proposed .66 cent tax rate so that all students could get the best education possible.

Dr. Eloise Haun of 402 N. Main St., Woodstock said that she is a lifelong resident of Shenandoah County and supports the full funding of the school budget citing that times have changed in education and society..

Melissa Dodge of 5065 Elem Dr., Mt Jackson said that she supports a tax increase in order to fully fund the school board requests as it is an investment in education and an investment in the economy.

Chrissy Richmond of 204 Princess Caroline Ct., Edinburg stated that Dr. Johnston has put together the best budget based on the needs and she respects that.

Dr. Mark Johnston of 693 Many Waters Ln., Fort Valley and Superintendent of the Shenandoah County School Division thanked the Board of Supervisors and citizens for their support.  He reported that that Shenandoah County has a graduation rate of 98% and said the success rests on the hard work of the staff.

Sarona Irvin of 362 Irvin Ln., Edinburg said that she supports the school needs but also requested the board reconsider her request for  full time positions in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.

Kristin Harrod of 2716 Cave Ridge Rd., Mt Jackson said that the turnover rate for teachers in this area is shocking.  She said the time is now to approve the .66 cent rate and provide hope for the future and more competitive salaries for the teachers.

Kathleen Curtis of 501 Forest View Rd., Edinburg cautioned the board to avoid equating love with financial support.  She asked the board to be compassionate to constituents when considering tax increases

Karen Kwiatkowski of 1785 Deerhead Rd., Mt Jackson stated that the board needs to be fiscally prudent and look at the most efficient of way using the money that we already have.

Joan Stephens White of 7481 Supinlick Ridge Rd., Mt. Jackson said she is retired and on a fixed income and a $20 to $40 increase per month is alot and asked the board to explore financial efficiency.

Noah Lear of 372 Jiggady Rd., New Market asked where the lottery money is that was going   to be used towards schools.

Becky Reynolds of 2616 Ridge Hollow Rd., Edinburg said that she supports Dr. Johnston’s needs based budget requests.  She said that she also supports the pre-school program.

Stephen Curtis of 501 Forest View Rd., Edinburg said that he was opposed to a tax increase and the schools requests and questioned why they were not accredited. He suggested lowering the personal property tax rate and cautioned against saddling residents with debt.

Cindy Walsh of 211 Manor Dr., Edinburg spoke as a mother of three students in the school system and as the District 3 School Board representative.   She said that she supports the proposed tax increase not only to help fund school requests but also to help fund Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue and all other vital services requests.

Connie Fravel of 29487 Old Valley Pike, Strasburg asked the board to fully fund the school requests.  She said our schools lack incentive to keep good teachers from leaving for better paying jobs.

Barbara Salisbury of 927 Kibler Rd., Quicksburg said that she is retired and on a fixed income and this county cannot function on real estate revenue alone.  She stated that economic development is needed and requested the board consider slowly implementing tax increase in smaller increments.

Donna Ingram of 8165 Supinlick Rd., Mt Jackson expressed that she lives on a fixed income and cannot afford more taxes.

Dennis Baker of 6159 S. Middle Rd., Mt Jackson said that he is a farmer who pays taxes and as to earn an income to pay his bills.  He suggested the school tighten their belts when spending.

Wendy Whitford of 105 Shadow Mountain Ln., New Market said that she supports school funding.

Melissa Sarokas of 61 Doral Dr., Maurertown said that competitive wages are needed in the school system.

Joseph Haun of 402 N. Main St., Woodstock said that he is a student at Central High School and he asked the board to fully fund schools because fine arts programs like choir and orchestra need additional areas to perform in.

Abby French of 203 S. Church St., Woodstock said that she would advocate for a tax increase to help fund the school division requests.

Stuart Freakley of 133 W. North St., Woodstock said that he supports school funding requests and he read a statement from his father General Ben Freakley.

Katie Freakley of 133 W. North St., Woodstock said that schools is not the only division needing additional funding.  She said that law enforcement, parks and recreation and the landfill all of them need more than short term band aids and asked the board to stop kicking the can down the road.

Dan Walsh of 211 Manor Dr., Edinburg spoke as President of P.A.S.S..  He said that the school division is underfunded and the county real estate tax is the lowest in the region and even with an increase will still be one of the lowest.

Tommy Smith of 15718 Senedo Rd., Edinburg spoke in support of Sheriff Carter and his use of asset forfeiture for certain expenditures.

Seth Coffman of 156 Bobwhite Ln., Quicksburg requested and supports fully funding the school division requests and other county needs such as public safety and economic development.

Mike Chaney of 564 Jess Ln., Strasburg expressed concerns about increases in spending and resulting tax increases.  He expressed concern about excessive administration.

Christa Jayne of 473 N. Lee St., Woodstock said that she fully supports the school division requests.

Brandy Boies of 333 Varnell Ln., Strasburg said she will continue to advocate for the schools.

Kim Hafner of 10959 S. Middle Rd., Edinburg said that she supports the proposed tax rate and requested competitive salaries and safe school buses.

Kevin Rooney of 1676 Zion Church Rd, Maurertown said when he was in school there were 30 students in his class.  He asked the board to be creative in earning revenue.

Nick Rhoades of 262 E. King St., Strasburg said that as a new SCPS teacher he is tempted to leave but he does not want to.   He asked the board to consider fully funding the school board requests because the students deserve the best education.

Jeff Rudy of Winchester said that he has been a teacher for 18 years and serves as President of the Shenandoah County Education Association and he asked the board to consider a pay raise for all school employees and close gap with other counties.

Kelly Newcomer Hendricks of 102 N. Whissen St., Edinburg said that she supports fully funding the school budget and added that strong schools equates to a strong community.

Ken Cruise said he is not against schools but he questioned why the County keeps spending money they don’t have on new buildings.  He said the elderly cannot afford tax increases. He asked the board to fund his pay increase and his health insurance expenses.

Chairman Helsley said that the board cannot adopt a higher tax rate than what was advertised.  He announced that the next budget work session is scheduled for April 10, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. in the board conference room.  He said a special board meeting to adopt the FY2019 budget and establish a tax rate is scheduled for April 17, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. in the board room.

  

With no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:16 p.m.

 

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________________________

Conrad A. Helsley, Chairman

ATTEST:  __________________________

Mary T. Price, Clerk of the Board