County Administrator Scott Stevens released his proposed Fiscal Year 2021 budget for James City County on April 2. The FY2021 Proposed Budget is 6.0% more than the FY2020 budget at $261.9M, with the General Fund portion of the budget increasing 2.0% over FY2020 to $216.0M.
This budget was assembled before the unexpected impact of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the local community. The impact on this region, which is heavily dependent on tourism, and the loss of revenue to the County remains difficult to forecast with any accuracy at this time. County staff currently is working to monitor and evaluate the effects of COVID-19 and will present updates to the Board of Supervisors and the public regarding any necessary changes to capital or operating expenditures presented in the proposed budget as the situation evolves.
The County shares resources between County operations and WJCC schools, and a measured approach was taken to ensure a fair allocation of resources that would benefit as many community needs as possible. During this upcoming fiscal year, the budget incorporates many of the operational initiatives from the County’s Strategic Plan.
- Additional funding of $2.3 million over the FY2020 budget has been allocated to the schools operating budget.
- Given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, $500,000 originally intended for an employee pay increase for FY2021 has been moved to a non-departmental account until a better understanding is obtained regarding the impact that COVID-19 will have on County expenses and revenues.
- To continue the County’s efforts to provide exceptional public services, this budget includes funding for 4 additional positions effective January 1, 2021 as follows: 1 principal planner, 1 capital project coordinator, 1 building security and custodial services superintendent, and upgrade to 1 accounting technician for the new DMV Select in the Treasurer’s Office.
- Health insurance costs have increased and additional funds have been provided by the County and employees to pay for this increased cost.
- The Historic Triangle 1% additional sales tax continues and the projected revenue is $4.65 million. This funding is proposed to be used for capital expenditures only.
- The County’s five-year capital improvement program totals $145 million and includes a focus on School projects, Public Safety, and Parks and Recreation, including the addition of a new preschool and new fire station, the development of a Lower County Park, and improvements to the Marina.
- The James City Service Authority (JCSA) proposes updates to water and sewer fees based on its FY2020 rate study. These proposed changes are designed to maintain adequate revenue despite continued decreases in water usage and minimize the impact of rate increases on the customer.
After a series of work sessions, the Board of Supervisors should vote on the proposed FY2021 County budget and JCSA budget at the May 12 meeting at 5 p.m. Once adopted, the FY2021 budget will cover July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021, and provide a plan for FY2022.
Public input on the proposed budget is encouraged. As a result of COVID-19, we are unable to rely on our normal ways of operating public budget input sessions. Residents are encouraged to send their input to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 757-253-6605 and leave a message.
There will also be a public hearing on the proposed County budget and JCSA budget during the April 14 Board of Supervisors meeting at 5 p.m. (101 Mounts Bay Road, Building F), however, due to social distancing guidelines, emails and phone messages are preferred.
Additional opportunities for input are being developed and will be shared soon.
The Board of Supervisors will hold budget work sessions at 4 p.m. on April 21 and 28 in the Board’s work session room at 101 Mounts Bay Road, Building F. Although there are no opportunities for public comments during work sessions, they can be viewed on JCC TV Cox Cable channel 48 and 1048, and streamed live and on demand at jamescitycountyva.gov.
The proposed FY2021 budget can be viewed and downloaded at jamescitycountyva.gov/budget.
Renee Dallman, Public Information Officer