Localities Brace For Budget Cuts

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Counties and cities are bracing for more bad budget news. This is on the heels of a projected 38-million dollar shortfall in Chesterfield.

Chesterfield appears to be the first and only local county, thus far to come out with some numbers. But neighboring areas, such as Henrico are expecting revenues to be down as well. Just a week after Governor Kaine announced more than a billion dollars in cuts, it's no surprise that Henrico County's finance director was attending a downtown luncheon, on the topic of economic issues.

"Revenue in fiscal 2011 will be down compared to fiscal 2010," said John Vithoulkas, Henrico County Director of Finance.

Like most localities, Henrico is bracing for a new reality in which the county's revenues are less than previously expected, and that, means cuts are all but guaranteed.

"When there's not as much money coming up, obviously, your expenses must go down to reflect what revenues are," said John.

For example, the state released new numbers today that show income tax revenues dropped from 710 million last August, to 686 million this August. July sales tax revenues dropped from 253 million to 240 million. All of that eventually trickles down to the local level.

"You take state revenues and the real estate market, and look at how much revenue comes in to Henrico County from those two components, that's 70% of our resources," said John.

For now, though Henrico officials are tight-lipped on the impact these numbers will have on employees and services. Details may still be up to three months away.

"We don't like to come out with numbers unless we're absolutely certain as to those numbers, and so we are working through it, we know there's a challenge ahead of us, and that's where the focus will be," said John.

John Vithoulkas was also named Henrico county's new Special Economic Advisor, answering directly to the county manager on financial forecasts for the next two to three years.

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