Henrico proposes $1.4 billion budget for FY 2020-2021, with money for County projects and teachers

Henrico proposes $1.4 billion budget for FY 2020-2021, with money for County projects and teachers
(Source: Henrico County)

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico’s proposed $1.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 aims to advance several major County projects, stimulate economic growth and provide raises for teachers.

The proposed budget was introduced at a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday and is a 5.5% increase from the current year’s budget.

The proposal is broken down into two main sections:

  • General Fund: $926.5 million (which supports most governmental operations)
  • Capital Projects: $142.7 million

“The budget proposal before the Board of Supervisors is a true reflection of Henrico County, including its priorities, needs and opportunities,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “It underscores our community commitment to education and public safety by designating 86% of all revenue growth to these areas. It advances critical projects — from new and expanded schools to sidewalks, improved parks and an indoor sports facility. It recognizes and rewards employees for outstanding public service, particularly teachers whose dedication and commitment make difference in the classroom. The budget does all this in a way that remains fiscally sound and conservative, ensuring Henrico will continue to offer residents the highest quality of life and services at a great value.”

As in the current year’s budget, there will be no change in the real estate tax of 87 cents per $100 of assessed value.

“The county’s rate has not been increased, although it has been lowered, during the past 42 years,” a news release said.

The propose budget has also allocated $542.2 million for Henrico County Public Schools, which is an increase of 5.4% from the current year.

“The budget would support additional positions to allow planning periods for elementary school teachers, boost special education staffing, provide for smaller class sizes as well as designate $3.1 million to implement a Career Ladder for teachers,” a news release said. “The program would qualify teachers for additional compensation based on various criteria, which include specialized training and working at schools with critical needs. The budget would continue support for the Achievable Dream Academy and the CodeRVA Regional High School and set aside $4.7 million for school bus replacement.”

In addition to compensation for qualified teachers, the budget proposes a 3% merit-based raise for all general government and HCPS employees.

In terms of capital improvements, County leaders have proposed funding to support several projects planned as part of the 2016 bond referendum.

“It supports an $11.5 million, eight-classroom addition to Hungary Creek Middle and a $34 million elementary school near the River Mill development in Fairfield, provides $12.5 million overall to complete the new J.R. Tucker and Highland Springs high schools and includes $4 million each for Taylor and Deep Run parks,” a news release said.

As for public safety capital improvements, it would designate an additional $3 million for the Staples Mill Firehouse, $7.8 million to replace Police’s South Station and $2.9 million to begin planning for a new administration building at the Henrico County Government Center.

In early February the Board of Supervisors approved relocating the Henrico Police Division’s South Precinct to an 11-acre on N. Airport Drive near East Washington Street.

A HCPD spokesman said this is due to the lease agreement at the 561 EastPark Court (Sandston) location which ends in the next few years.

The budget also proposes allocating approximately $840,000 to implement strategies discussed by the Recovery Roundtable to reduce jail overcrowding by enhancing substance use treatment and other services to support recovery for people struggling with addiction.

The Board of Supervisors will begin reviewing the proposed budget during work sessions scheduled March 16-19.

On April 14 the board will hold a public hearing on the budget at 6 p.m. in the Board Room at the County Government Center. A vote to adopt the budget is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28. Once approved, the budget go into effect July 1.

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