Budget Questions and Responses

During the budget development process, staff takes note of the questions asked by Board members and provides written responses to questions for which responses were not readily available at the time the questions were asked.

Below is the list of the questions received to date.  Please click here for the complete file (file size: 12.2MB) containing the Board questions and responses.

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BOARD QUESTIONS

 

1

What is the estimate of the revenue that would be lost if the County were to exempt the first $999,999 in gross receipts from taxation for those businesses meeting the $1 million threshold?
Response

2

Why is the professional category for Business License taxed at a higher rate than other categories?  How much revenue is generated from the professional category?

Response

3

The Superintendent’s budget proposal includes implementation of the Classification Date Parity for non-teachers and implementation of the Range Date Parity for teachers.  The cost of this implementation is $6.8 million.  For purposes of comparison to the County’s implementation, please provide the cost estimate if the implementation were to match the County’s implementation.  Further, please confirm that the cost of the 60 new positions recommended is $3.6 million.

Response

4  In follow-up to the response to Question 2:  How much revenue is generated from each category of Business License?  What does each penny on each category of Business License generate?   Response
5 Is it possible to eliminate any category of Business License tax while not eliminating any/all others?  Response
6 What would it cost to include the dollar bill graphic with tax bills? Response
7 What is driving the increase in the jail use?  Does the increase necessarily mean an increase in the crime rate?  What are the crimes?  How can we reduce this number? Response
8 Explain why the right turn lane from Lansdowne onto Rt. 2 is in the CIP.  Isn’t this intersection in the city?  Can FAMPO fund this project with regional funds?  Response
9 What is the change in on-going funding to the Schools from FY 2017 to FY 2018 and from FY 2018 to FY 2019?  How does that compare to enrollment changes during those years?  Response 
10 Clarify what the funding gap is for the Schools.  Response
11 Of the 60 new positions included in the School Board’s proposed budget, please identify those that are mandated and those that are required to meet requirements/standards.  Are any of the 60 not associated with mandates or meeting requirements/standards?  Response
12  Please provide the notes from the School Board’s PowerPoint presentation to the Board.  Response
13  Regarding slide 40 of the School Board’s presentation, please identify what the other 14 positions are.  Response
14  Given the number of students in other programs during the day, is Massaponax High School over capacity or not?  Response
15  Given the expansion at Courtland and the potential upcoming discussions of revisions to attendance boundaries, when is Schools’ staff thinking a new high school is likely to be needed?  Other schools?  Response
16  Provide a cost comparison of County and Schools health insurance benefits.  What is the difference in health insurance plans and costs?  Is either entity covering retirees that can be covered through Medicare?  Response
17  Provide a list of all requests from County departments that were not included in the Recommended Budget.  Response 
18  Regarding slide 24 of the School Board’s presentation, is it representative of the most currently available data?  Response
19  What is the cost to provide the line of duty tax relief for public safety employees?  Response
20  Fire/Rescue has asked for 6 additional positions to provide ALS staffing at Company 1.  With the staffing plan now revised to include ALS to begin at Co. 1, 4 and 8 in March, how many positions are still needed?  Response
21  What is included in the equipment for $67,455 on page 12 of the summarized version of the budget document for the Sheriff’s Office, Fire & Rescue, and Parks & Recreation?  Response
22  Is there an option to get funding from the State for the Social Services building?  Response
23  What is the additional scope of work on the animal shelter at a $1 million dollar cost?  Also why is there a $2 million dollar cost increase in the project?  Response
24  To where are the Marshall Center training room and network being relocated?  Please explain the related cost.  Response not available at this time 7/2/18
25  Page 24 of the summarized version of the budget document shows an increase on a janitorial service contract of $117,000 and that it will be partially offset by a reduction in part time funding. Does this mean we are eliminating a part time position?  Response
26  Page 53 of the summarized version of the budget document mentions mussel farming.  Please provide details of this operation.  Response
27  On page 61 of the summarized version of the budget document, the interest on investments for FY 2017 was $97,006, FY 2018 Amended was $70,000, and FY 2019 Recommended is $75,000. Why the decrease?  Response
28 On page 85 of the summarized version of the budget document, $4,000 is in the budget for the Fredericksburg SPCA.  We have a Spotsylvania SPCA. Why are we giving money to another SPCA?  Response
29  Page 89 of the summarized version of the budget document has a commercial/residential plans reviewer for public safety position.  What is the justification for this position?  Doesn’t the Fire Marshal handle public safety plan review?  Response
30  Could we fully fund the Social Service building with surplus funds from last year’s budget?  Response
31 What improvements are happening this budget cycle as far as the upstairs bathrooms at the Marshall Center?   Response
32 Page 113 of the summarized version of the budget document lists a $50,000 allotment for paving convenience sites.  Is there a convenience site that needs immediate paving?   Response
33  Page 114 of the summarized version of the budget document lists $52,987 in the FY 2018 budget for Belmont Passive Park.  Was this money spent? If so, what was it spent on?   Response
34  Page 114 of the summarized version of the budget document lists $567,248 to upgrade the Marshall Center auditorium.  Is this going to be done? When?  Response
35 What heavy equipment are we replacing as indicated on page 119 of the summarized version of the budget document?  Is it an immediate need?  Response
36  Please explain what the Other Bonds (lease revenue) in FY 2021 for $3.6 million is on page 120 of the summarized version of the budget document.  Response
37  How much revenue is gained by rounding up the equalization real estate tax rate to 82 cents?  Response
38  The 2/13/18 PowerPoint listed $8 million from the available fund balance for a Social Services building but the budget itself calls for $1.2 million to be spent in FY 2019.  Does the remainder stay in fund balance during FY 2019? What happens with the rest of the excess fund balance in the County Administrator's budget?  Response
39  Do we have authority under the bond referendum to borrow in FY 2020 and beyond for more space for Social Services?  Response 
40 Please explain the increase in the Animal Shelter project budget using the most recent cost estimate.  How much has been spent to date on the project?  Response
41 Was the cost of the Marshall Center major maintenance project increased in the Recommended CIP?  Response
42 What is the space (sq. ft.) needed by DSS?  Is it feasible to use the Marshall Center for DSS?  What space is available to lease for DSS?  Response
43 Is there sufficient County-owned property in the Courthouse area on which to build a new DSS/Health Department building?  Response
44 Please update last year’s public hearing handout to reflect current numbers.  Response
45 Based on data on the Spotsylvania Schools and Stafford Schools webpages, we are spending $11,348 per student and they are spending $9,789 per student.  Stafford’s numbers were thought to be inaccurate by Spotsylvania Schools’ staff at a recent budget work session.  Please provide the accurate/comparable figures for both divisions. 
https://www.spotsylvania.k12.va.us/domain/244
https://www.staffordschools.net/Page/15736
Response
46  There has been a slide in past budget information that shows student population by grade over time.  Please provide an update.  Response
47  What has the local transfer to Schools been each year for the past 10 years?  Exclude debt service from the figure.    Response
48  There’s $104,000 added to Fire/Rescue training largely due to revised State requirements for EMT certifications.  Will this be an on-going expense or a one-time expense?  If every year, why every year?  Response
49  Is a vote needed to eliminate the set-asides for Transportation?  Response
50 Why was the Business Furniture & Fixtures Personal Property tax rate increased from $5.00 to $5.95 for calendar year 2009?  How much revenue would be lost if we were to lower it to $5.00 again?    Response
51  What is the intention of the four EDT positions at the Visitors Center?  Response
52  How has Communications staffing changed since 2012?  Response
53  How would the cost of the 24/7 ALS and fire staffing option change if we provide for 24/7 ALS only for two stations and have one station be 24/7 ALS and fire staffing?  Response
54  Provide information on impact fees for transportation funding.  How do they differ from SSD taxes?  For what purposes can the fee revenue be used?  How much revenue could we expect from impact fees?  Response
55  Does the County have the option to exempt Personal Property taxes for military?  Response
56  What County positions were not benchmarked through the Evergreen compensation study?  Response
57 How much revenue have we gotten from the Business Furniture & Fixtures portion of personal property since 2009?  Response
58  Why do we calculate an equalized rate for real estate, but not for personal property?  Response
59 How much revenue do we get from one penny on the Furniture & Fixtures personal property rate?  Response
60 What payment do planning commissioners receive now?  What would it cost to increase that payment to $1,000 per month?  Response
61  What salary/stipend is paid to members of each commission and Board including the School Board?  When was the last time the payments were adjusted?  How do Spotsylvania’s payments compare to those of neighboring localities?  Response
62 How much staff time has been spent supporting the CBRC and what is the cost?  Response
63 In follow-up to Budget Question #22, provide the financial analysis of options related to leasing a building for DSS compared to constructing and owning a building for DSS.  Response
64  What is the number of SROs needed for each school to have a dedicated SRO?  How much would these positions cost?  Response 
65 At the equalized rate of $0.8164 and each whole additional penny through $0.85, what is the impact on residential and commercial taxpayers?  Response 
66  Do SROs work in the summer break and over Christmas/Spring breaks?  What do they do during this time if they do work?  If they don’t, are they on a contract similar to the teachers (180 days?)  Response 
67  Are SROs interchangeable with deputies?  Are our SROs career SROs?  If SROs are not interchangeable, what actions/costs would it take to allow them to be interchangeable? Response 
68 If the School Board were to concur, is it possible now for the Sheriff to deputize “qualified” teacher allowing them to carry concealed weapons in the public or private Spotsylvania schools at this time?  Is this something that can only be done by General Assembly action?  (The definition of “qualified” would need to be determined to the mutual agreement of all stakeholders.)  Response 
69 Is it possible for the schools to hire armed security at this time?  Is it the case that the person hired must be a former law enforcement officer retired under good discharge conditions?  Would such a position cost less than a SRO costs?  Response 
70 What is the cost associated with the across-the-board 4% increase to teachers who are already at the correct salary level assuming the Classification Date Parity method?   Response not available at this time 7/2/18
71 What statistics exist to inform us that SROs are the answer to student safety concerns?  Are there mental health issues that could be addressed that would help more than putting SROs in the schools?  Response
72 How many SROs have been added since 2012?  Response
73  What is the cost to increase the payment to planning commissioners from the current $4,800 a year to $7,500 a year?  Response 
74 How much are we paying for individuals who have electronic signature capability now?  What will the $50,000 get us?  Is any portion of the $50,000 a one-time cost?  Response not available at this time 7/2/18 
75  Provide a list of all cash-funded capital projects and the cash balances.  What’s the status of the projects?  Response 
76 What schedules do other localities have for presenting/adopting their budgets?  Our schedule seems earlier than all others.  Why?  Response