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  • Supervisors To Hold Budget, CIP Hearing

    Monday, April 06, 2020

    For the first time in history, the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors will hold its annual public hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2021 budget, set for Wednesday, electronically.

    The hearing will take place at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast through Zoom.

    The board will also hold a hearing for the proposed $180 million capital improvement plan, which included $61 million for education-related projects, including renovating McGaheysville Elementary School, Spotswood High School and Elkton Elementary School.

     

    After re-evaluating the proposed FY20-21 budget due to changes in revenue estimates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, county officials are proposing a $385.3 million budget –- a decrease of about $17 million from the $402.1 million amended budget for FY19-20.

    There are no proposed tax increases in the budget.

    There will be a proposed water and sewer rate increase for residents of the Smith Creek service area who use more than 4,000 gallons of water. Currently the water rate is set at $3.75 per 1,000 gallons above 4,000 gallons. The proposal would set the rate at $4 per 1,000 gallons above 4,000 gallons.

    If approved, the rate change would bring an additional $32,000 in revenue for the Smith Creek Water and Wastewater Authority, according to the proposed budget.

    Trish Davidson, director of finance for the county, said all outside agencies that requested funding for FY20-21 will still receive the funds as proposed in the budget. Contributions to various organizations total more than $967,000.

    With a smaller budget to work with in the upcoming fiscal year, Davidson said the county will “have to do more with less.”

    Changes were made to the CIP, a five-year plan guiding future construction and capital projects, as some projects in areas for technology and recreation were delayed, according to Davidson. Other areas of the CIP that were not affected were community development, landfill, public safety, public works and utilities.

    Based on the CIP report, education had the highest amount of expenditures, largely due to Rockingham County Public Schools requesting the funding.

    School renovations are slated to start with McGaheysville Elementary School during fiscal year 2024, with an estimated cost of $7.7 million.

    Renovations to Spotswood High School and Elkton Elementary School would begin during FY25, with Spotswood High School costing $40 million and Elkton Elementary School $13.3 million.

    Other education-related projects being proposed will be funded through the Virginia Public Schools Authority.

    Public works and utilities also have high budgets, with public works at $56.6 million and $40.1 million for utilities.

    In the community development budget, improvements for the Lake Shenandoah watershed culvert worth $1.61 million for FY21 has been included. The project is funded with a 50% match between the county and the Virginia Department of Transportation as part of the revenue sharing program.

    The project would upgrade two upstream culverts at Baybrook Drive and Berryfield Drive, along with reconstructing a crossing at Shen Lake Drive. The upgrades and reconstruction are planned for completion in FY21.

    There are also plans to construct a stormwater control facility in the Lake Shenandoah watershed in FY21, followed by maintenance costs in FY22-25. Building the facility and maintaining it is estimated to cost $613,000.

    Within public safety, a new response station to improve service levels in the Broadway district is being proposed. The North Area Response Station, to be located off Kratzer Road, would be constructed during FY23 for an estimated $1.5 million.

    An amphitheater and recreation center is on the books for the recreation budget, both expected to be constructed in FY25.

    The amphitheater would be located at the Rockingham Park at the Crossroads and would be used to host regional athletic events, offer amenities for the community and provide athletic fields and recreation facilities near the Urban Growth Area. It is estimated to cost $1 million.

    The recreation center, also to be located at Rockingham Park at the Crossroads, is being proposed to open up opportunities for people to get involved by hosting tournaments and events and create revenue. The project is slated to cost $7 million.

    According to the proposed CIP that was included in the Planning Commission’s report, a variety of funding options exist, including direct county contribution from the county budget, which will be considered in April.

    The county is also considering cash proffers, federal and state funds, fees collected by the Lake Shenandoah Stormwater Control Authority and bonds as funding sources.

    Contact Jessica Wetzler at 574-6279 or jwetzler@dnronline.com. Follow Jessica on Twitter @wetzler_jessica


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