Board of Supervisors
Most full-time government, school employees would qualify for salary increase
UPDATED: MAR. 11, 10:17 P.M. – Henrico County has tightened its belt during the past four years, trimming $115 million in expenses, cutting nearly 10 percent of its workforce through attrition and the elimination of vacant budgeted positions while asking each of its agencies to scale back on spending but not on services. Many of those cuts were suggested by county employees, who recommended them when county officials sought their input.
So, it made sense to County Manager John Vithoulkas to reinvest some of that savings into the workforce that produced it to begin with.
Vithoulkas tonight presented to the county’s Board of Supervisors his $1.097-billion operating budget proposal, which calls for the first raise for eligible full-time county employees in three years. The unique salary hike would would provide a 3 percent raise to full-time general government and school system employees with more than three years of service as of Jan. 1, 2015 and a 2.4 percent raise (the equivalent of a one-step increase on the county’s pay scale) to those with 1 to 3 years of service.
UPDATE: JAN. 28, 9:50 P.M. – The Henrico County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Feb. 25 to consider implementation of a 4-percent meals tax, which would begin June 1 – one month later than initially expected.
The board tonight voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance that would amend the county code and impose the tax on prepared meals sold in the county. It did so with the power granted by voters, who approved a Nov. 5 ballot question. County officials estimate that the tax would generate at least $18 million a year – with about half of that being paid by non-county residents who eat meals in Henrico.
Officials had targeted May 1 as the start date for the tax but suggested delaying it in order to allow enough time – about three months – to explain the proposal to all businesses that will be affected by it.
The Henrico County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Tuesday, April 9 on the proposed Annual Fiscal Plan for Fiscal Year 2013-14.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m., one hour earlier than usual, in the Board Room of the Henrico Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road.
Residents may provide oral or written comments on the proposed $1.1 billion plan, which will guide operating and capital spending for the year beginning July 1. The plan represents a 9 percent reduction in overall spending from fiscal year 2012-13.
For the second time in eight years, Henrico County voters will be asked to approve a meals tax.
But if the measure fails this time – as it did by 151 votes in 2005 – county officials are warning that they may have no choice but to raise the county's real estate tax by as much as six cents per $100 of assessed value to close an $18-million shortfall in the proposed 2013-14 budget.
During the final day of its four-day budget review meetings, the county's Board of Supervisors Thursday unanimously endorsed County Manager John Vithoulkas' meals tax referendum proposal, informally authorizing Vithoulkas to proceed with plans for a referendum Nov. 5.
A simple majority of votes cast is required to pass the measure. The meals tax is expected to raise about $18 million annually – money that would be dedicated specifically to fund school system needs.
UPDATED: 9:02 P.M. – Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas tonight proposed to the Board of Supervisors a $1.1 operating and capital budget for Fiscal Year 2013-14 – a 9 percent reduction from the current budget.
Vithoulkas's proposal would not lay off any employees or raise the county's real estate tax, but it does suggest a public referendum on a 4-cent meals tax, which could raise an estimated $18 million annually – money that would be dedicated for education costs.
For the fourth time in the past five years, the budget also does not provide pay raises for county employees.
Henrico County officials plan to petition the General Assembly in the coming months for the right to institute a meals tax in the county next year.
County Manager Virgil Hazelett suggested the idea to the five-member Board of Supervisors during a work session tonight, and it met with the board's unanimous support.
Hazelett, who is retiring in January, told supervisors that the county must find new sources of revenue to combat falling revenue from both real estate taxes and the state government.
The next constituent meeting of Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will feature Col. Douglas A. Middleton, chief of the Henrico County Division of Police.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, March 19 in the ballroom of the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave. Middleton will join Thornton for a presentation and discussion of police goals for the county and Fairfield District.
The next town meeting of Tuckahoe District Supervisor Patricia S. O’Bannon will examine the effect of Hurricane Irene on local utilities and their response in the aftermath of the storm. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10 at Tuckahoe Area Library, 1901 Starling Drive.
Fairfield District Supervisor Frank Thornton and Varina District Supervisor Jim Donati will host separate town meetings for their constituents on Monday, Sept. 19.
Donati's meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nine Mile Road in Highland Springs, will provide information about the proposed Varina Area Library.
Henrico County Public Library Director Jerry McKenna will give an update on planning for the library, a proposed 40,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility slated for construction near the intersection of Interstate 895 and New Market Road/Route 5.
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