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Scott County tax rates unchanged under 2013-14 budget

Wes Bunch • Jun 30, 2013 at 6:54 PM

GATE CITY — Real estate and personal property tax rates in Scott County will remain the same for another year after supervisors voted last week to approve the Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget.

Adopted on a 7-0 vote, the budget leaves rates at $.69 per $100 of value for real estate property taxes, while personal property will be taxed at $1.40 per $100. The merchant’s capital and machinery and tools taxes were also kept level at $.72 per $100.

Despite refusing to raise taxes, Scott County Board of Supervisors Chairman Danny Mann said the board was still able to balance the roughly $21 million budget without the need to make drastic cuts in funding or manpower.

Mann said keeping tax rates the same was the one guiding principal behind the new budget, which takes effect today.

“The fact that we’re not raising taxes is a good thing, and we’re going to have a surplus of a little over $88,000,” Mann said. “So at least we’ve got a balanced budget with a little bit left over, and hopefully we’ll see an increase in revenue before next year.

“Making it work is going to be hard, our budget committee did an excellent job of putting this together for us. But just about every department took a cut, not in a significant way, but a cut. We tried to spread it out as much as we could, and we didn’t have any layoffs, so we’re still running as usual, we just don’t have a lot of excess left to do anything with.”

The tax rates are projected to generate a total of $8.3 million in real estate tax revenue and another $1 million in personal property tax. Other local taxes, including sales tax, are expected to bring the county an additional $3.2 million.

At-Large Supervisor Chad Hood said that revenue is needed to fund a budget that covers all the necessities, but not much more.

“I know I’ve said this every year, but everything has been cut to a bare minimum,” Hood said. “From here there’s just really nowhere else to cut. But, I think we try to still provide the basic services we’re supposed to provide while at the same time saying how can we streamline and better manage the county so we can save money and not have to raise taxes.”

Hood also praised the board’s budget committee, as well as Scott County Administrator Kathie Noe, for their work in formulating the budget.

On the expenditure side of the budget, Scott County expects to spend nearly $11.8 million on general county expenditures, which includes everything from public safety to economic development, and another $9.1 million in non-departmental transfers, which includes schools and social services.

The board’s largest single allocation of $4.8 million goes to Scott County Public Schools, helping bring their overall budget to over $33 million when combined with state and federal funding. The county also agreed to transfer $3.7 million for the Department of Social Services.

In addition to education and social services spending, supervisors budgeted a total of $5.3 million for public safety. That amount includes just over $2 million for the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, and approximately $1.5 million for the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority. Scott County’s E-911 is set to receive $714,292.

Public Works, which includes the county’s transfer station and waste disposal services, will be covered by another roughly $2 million expenditure, while the Scott County Economic Development Authority will receive $237,000.

The total Parks and Recreation budget for FY 2013-14 was set at $668,079, a total that includes $211,444 for the regional library system and $75,000 for tourism efforts.

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