Proposed Warren budget includes no property tax increase

May. 07, 2014 @ 05:46 PM

WARRENTON — Property owners in Warren County will see no increase in the property tax rate, if commissioners adopt the 2014-2015 budget proposed by County Manager Linda Worth.

The proposed general fund budget of less than $30.5 million would maintain the current tax rate of 66 cents per $100 valuation.

An amount of nearly $2.87 million would be appropriated from the undesignated fund balance to keep the budget balanced.

No fee increases are proposed in the upcoming recommended Solid Waste Fund budget.

To offset an anticipated 5 percent increase in water purchase and other costs associated with operating the water utility, the recommended water and sewer enterprise fund budgets include:

• A 50 cent increase per 1,000 gallons used in all districts.

• An increase from $19 to $20 in the flat rate in District 3 (Northampton).

• An increase from $10 to $12 in the fixed flat rate for non-connections, where a tap is in place but not drawing water

• A one-time, non-refundable activation fee of $25 for new accounts.

These proposals would generate $133,900 in additional revenue.

The county manager cited a number of factors that affect the 2014-2015 budget. On the positive side are the continued improvement in the overall economy, a 4 percent growth in the county’s tax base, an increase in the ad valorem tax collection rate and minimal increases in medical and dental insurance rates for county employees.

Among the factors having a negative effect on the 2014-2015 budget are continued reductions in state and federal funding, uncertainty about proposed state and federal legislation affecting local governments and the need to fund projects addressing safety concerns of citizens.

Increased costs include pay adjustments resulting from the employee salary study and a 23 percent increase in funding for Warren County Schools.

In other business, commissioners approved a tentative award of a construction contract to Herring-Rivenbark Inc., the low bidder for the Eaton’s Ferry bridge crossing project in Water and Sewer District 3. Approval is contingent on the commitment of Rural Economic Development grant funds, availability of funds in the District 3 enterprise fund and approval of all contract documents by the county attorney.

In a related action, the board approved an amendment to the agreement for professional services with Rivers & Associates Inc. for the project. The change reduces the agreement by $54,600, bringing the cost of the amended agreement to $161,200.

The board also approved a contract with Winston, Williams, Creech, Evans & Company LLP to audit Warren County accounts for the period of July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, at a total cost of $48,200.

 

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.