Hanover Co. enjoying million dollar surplus

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - There are signs the economy is finally starting to improve in Hanover County. People are spending more money and that's translating into more sales tax revenue for the county.

Hanover County has over a million dollar surplus largely thanks to an extra $750,000 in sales tax and personal property tax revenues. Many in Hanover hope this is one sign that the recession is finally in the rearview mirror.

Shopper Colleen Kenyon says she's noticed stores are a little busier and says it's nice to hear some positive economic news for a change.

"I'm glad that the county has a surplus," she said. "I know the schools were really tight on money and they had to lay off a bunch of people. It's nice to know there's more money."

Some lower expenditures costs together with the increase in sales and personal property taxes equal a one point $1.1 million budget surplus. While a budget surplus isn't bad news, other shoppers say they haven't found reasons to be optimistic just yet.

"To me it's not getting any better," said Shanta Sample. "Being a single parent, everything is going up, gas is going up again. It's $3.09, $3.05 so I don't think it's getting any better."

Sales taxes dropped for over a year and a half before it rebounded last May. County leaders say it's been climbing back ever since. County Administrator Cecil Harris says he's cautiously optimistic the local economy has turned the corner. He says sales tax revenues is a good start, but the housing market will seal the deal.

"Real estate will really be the driver," he said. "Only when we really see the real estate market stop losing ground and become a stable part of our revenue stream will we be in a position to say that the recession has ceased."

About $900,000 of that million dollar surplus will go into a rainy day fund.

The rest of that money will go toward the next year's budget, which is set to be announced on Wednesday.

There is mixed news for the upcoming budget. Property values fell last year and that's expected to create a $4 million hole in the next budget.

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