The Stafford County Board of Supervisors has adopted a budget for fiscal 1986 that cuts the real estate property tax rate by 1 cent and the personal property tax rate by 36 cents and allows for significant capital expenditures.
The supervisors acted swiftly last week in adopting the $46,744,142 budget, without any changes to the proposals made by the county administrative staff. Only a slight cut was made to the Stafford County School Board budget, which is $34.7 million of the total county budget.
The final budget represents a $7.8 million, or 20.2 percent, increase in spending over last year's budget of $38.9 million. The increased expenditures will be funded largely by $3.1 million pulled from a surplus of $4.2 million realized a year ago. The rest is expected to be made up by an increase in tax revenues.
Bob Taylor, director of budget and accounting, said the surplus will be spent toward capital improvements only. The "nonrecurring expenses" for the coming year include projects such as the planning phase of construction of a new county government complex costing about $1.2 million.
The real estate property tax rate is set at $1.20 per $100 assessed value and, with assessments unchanged this year, taxpayers can expect to pay less in taxes than they paid last year. For example, a county resident would owe $9.50 less in taxes for a home assessed at $95,000 -- the value of a "typical" Stafford home, a tax office administrator said.
That resident would have been billed $978.50 last year and would be billed $969 this year.
The personal property tax rate was cut for the second year in a row, this year from $5.35 to $4.99 based on 40 percent of market value. A resident owning a car with a market value of $5,000 would owe $7.20 less in taxes than last year.
County Administrator C.M. Williams said that the budget was drawn up with the intention of cutting the tax rates. "We cut the taxes first and then determined what revenues we would have. The board had expressed an interest in cutting the tax rate," Williams said.
Combined, the reduced tax rates represent about $347,000. Taylor said the county will realize an increase in tax revenues because of a 3 percent growth in taxable real estate and a 5 percent increase in taxable personal property. Both of the increases, he added, "are consistent with the growth rate in Stafford County."
The adopted budget is similar in line item expenses to the budget adopted last year except that 19 new positions are allowed for on the county administrative staff, Taylor said. The board reserved approval for the filling of those slots, however. Also, county employes and teachers will receive 5 percent cost-of-living raises.
The board approved the county school budget with a $750,000 slice off what was requested and told the School Board to find funds for roof repairs within the $34.7 million, instead of requesting additional money for that work.
The increase in county spending is also to fund expansion and renovations to the county landfill, costing $476,500. "That was one of the things people were screaming about. That's how this budget is responsive to the citizens," Taylor said.
Another $800,000 is slated for miscellaneous equipment replacement and renovations, Taylor said. The budget anticipates purchase of new typewriters, furniture, filing cabinets and similar items for various county offices.