Prince William board adds library, nonprofit funds to budget

By Jennifer Buske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors gave preliminary approval to a roughly $844 million fiscal 2011 budget Monday that would restore funding to area nonprofit organizations and allow all county libraries to remain open.

The budget, set to be officially adopted Tuesday, is based on a real estate tax rate of $1.236 per $100 of assessed value. The average residential tax bill would rise about 2.5 percent but would be, on average, 30 percent lower than bills in neighboring jurisdictions, county officials said. Commercial tax bills would fall an average of 16 percent.

The budget is $1.3 million less than the fiscal 2010 budget. But it is $8 million more than had been proposed, boosted in part by a higher tax rate than the county executive had recommended and some money from reserves. It would transfer about $405.5 million to schools and restore four police positions, two deputy sheriff positions and funding to keep Independent Hill and Lake Ridge libraries open. The county executive had proposed closing them to save more than $400,000 yearly. The budget would also restore the county's support to area nonprofit groups and community organizations, which were bracing for a 15 percent funding cut, and provide support to Virginia Cooperative Extension's nutrition program and the Greater Manassas Baseball League.

Although some funding was restored, the budget would still eliminate jobs -- the number is being recalculated -- stall road and park bond projects not under construction and freeze salaries. The Park Authority would lose funds for playground equipment replacement and other capital projects.

Separate from the general fund, the board's preliminary budget adoption included placing about $2.8 million in reserve, which county officials said is necessary to maintain the county's AAA bond rating.

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