Campbell County residents could see a 2-cent reduction in the personal property tax rate as well as a 5% across-the-board raise for all county employees after Campbell supervisors voted Tuesday night to advertise a proposed $81.8 million fiscal year 2022 budget.
The proposed budget represents a $2.1 million increase — or 2.76% — over the adopted fiscal year 2021 budget.
On Tuesday, discussion lingered over the issue of personal property tax. The rate decrease was not initially included in the budget, but supervisors insisted in the wake of a year that has seen residents take substantial financial hits, any reduction was welcome.
Rustburg District Supervisor Jon Hardie said despite it being a “tight fiscal year,” it hasn’t been easy on citizens.
“We can continue down that path of showing some restraint in a line that historically shows growth,” Hardie said. “There’s a lot of people out there hurting, and it’s the people’s money.”
Supervisors unanimously voted to advertise the 2-cent reduction, which would reduce the tax rate from $4.38 per $100 of assessed value to $4.36. If approved, this would be the third year in a row of personal property tax reductions.
County personal property taxes are levied on items such as motor vehicles, boats, trailers, campers, aircrafts and mobile homes.
This would mean about a $55,000 decrease in revenues, according to County Administrator Frank Rogers.
He said county staff would evaluate where to absorb that revenue reduction and it likely would be taken from staff vacancy and turnover savings during the course of the year.
Sunburst District Representative Steven Shockley said these tax savings were crucial as small businesses, individuals and the private sector are “still hurting.”
“If not now, when?” Shockley said.
Also included in the budget is a 5% across-the-board raise for county employees. Initially, the budget was built around 2% raises, but after the state approved 5% raises for all state-funded positions, Rogers said he wanted to increase the proposed county raises to match, to ensure salaries will remain equitable across the board.
However, this increase will hike the cost of raises from about $377,000 to $977,000 and means staff has cut five new personnel positions originally included in the draft budget when staff only anticipated a 2% raise.
This includes two new positions in the sheriff’s department, one position in public safety and two positions in public works.
In addition to the removal of the new positions, staff reduced its transfer to the capital improvement plan by about $125,000, and reduced its contribution to the Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority by $80,000.
The raises will affect all 343 full-time employees, with about 153 of those positions being funded fully or in part by the state.
Rogers said this was a larger annual increase than anything in recent memory. If approved, raises would be effective July 1.
For the second year in a row, Campbell County Public Schools requested level funding of about $28.3 million.
There are no other rate changes included in the budget, and Rogers said this was “very much a continuation of existing services” for the county.
The board will hold a budget public hearing April 6.
“We can continue down that path of showing some restraint in a line that historically shows growth. There’s a lot of people out there hurting, and it’s the people’s money.”
— Jon Hardie, Rustburg District supervisor