Adopting county budget a drawn-out process

Ironing out an annual budget for Rappahannock County is no simple task — what if only 7,321 people live here.

Consider the meeting schedule alone for the development and adoption of the county’s future FY20 budget began way back on Nov. 13, 2018, when the School Board first discussed and adopted its budget schedule. The Board of Supervisors followed suit Dec. 3 with its schedule.

Once 2019 arrived, the BOS on Jan. 7 provided its preliminary input on 2020’s budget process, while the very next day the School Superintendent gave an informational presentation of the Governor’s FY 20 Budget. School budget work sessions got underway the next week, on Jan. 15.

As all of this was happening, county department heads — aka “budget holders” — were busy with their own numbers crunching. Internal departments’ and agencies’ budget requests were due for presentation to the County Administrator on Jan. 28, while outside agency budget requests faced a submission deadline of Feb. 8.

Between all this, the BOS on Feb. 4 provided additional preliminary budget input, with further budget discussions on its heels: Feb. 12 with the School Board, March 4 with the BOS, then on March 12 the schools held the first public hearing on their budget.

Another big day in budget preparation came March 13, when the Administrator presented his own balanced budget to the BOS, which board members are currently tweaking between themselves in consultation with the various department heads.

Meanwhile, last Monday, March 18, the BOS held a budget work session, with the School Board following suit on Tuesday. Another BOS budget session was scheduled for last night.

Next Friday, March 29, the Schools Superintendent will officially deliver copies of the FY20 Schools Budget to the Administrator, keeping in mind the proposed schools budget must be delivered to the BOS no later than April 1.

More budget discussion could tentatively take place April 1 during the regular BOS meeting, followed by additional BOS budget work sessions set for April 4 and 5.

Meanwhile, the County Administrator’s office must adhere to state-mandated newspaper ad-placement deadlines, which provide sufficient notice of public hearings to citizens surrounding annual budget synopsis and tax rates. Look for these legal notices next month in the Rappahannock News.

Finally, on Monday, Apr. 22, at 7 p.m., the BOS will hold a Public Hearing on the FY 20 Budget (including schools and tax rates), which will take place in the Rappahannock County Elementary School gym/auditorium. All residents are highly encouraged to attend.

The following Monday, Apr. 29, 7 p.m., at the Courthouse, the BOS will likely adopt the FY20 Budget — county and schools.

If needed, the BOS could also take action on the budget on Monday, May 6, beginning at 2 p.m.

Monday, May 13, is the final opportunity to adopt the FY 20 School Budget, during a meeting to begin at 7 p.m. Keep in mind that dates and times are tentative and could change.

All said and done, everybody can sit back and look forward to the FY21 budget process.

About John McCaslin 469 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at editor@rappnews.com.