County budget: Schools a winner

County administrator John Egertson gave a short presentation Tuesday evening during the public hearing focused on the highlights of the FY proposed budget.

Coming in at $158.9M, this budget represents about a $4M increase from the FY16 budget at $154.1M.

That being said, the biggest item of interest for most county residents is that the budget includes no tax increase.

Tax rates for real estate remain as they did last year at $.66 on the dollar with fire and rescue at $.07 keeping the county tax rate at $.73.

More good news is that the general fund balance is at 16 percent. Fiscally conservative, county officials like to keep it hovering around 15 so it’s in better shape.

The big winner from this year’s budget process is the school system. Superintendent Dr. Brads had requested an additional $3M dollars largely to increase the starting salaries of teachers to further the county’s efforts of being competitive in teacher recruitment and retention. There are also six new teaching positions. That $3M would be divided between the county and state revenues. The board barely blinked in coming up with their share of $1.5M.

For President of the Culpeper County Education Association Matt Ortman, the news was cause for jubilation.

“We’ve needed to be at market…we’re playing catch up,” said Ortman adding, “I’m proud to stand in front of you as a united partner in this effort. This is a huge step in the right direction…we need to continue the momentum.”

While not getting all the patrol cars that he initially requested, the Culpeper County Sheriff’s office is approved for six new patrol cars at a price tag of $270,000. Also, two new bailiffs and two nurses to be added to the jail staff.

Doris Clatterbuck, who works for the county’s human services division, echoed Ortman’s remarks. “You’ve all done a wonderful job with this year’s budget. Thank you.”

The board will vote on the proposed budget at their May meeting.





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Anita Sherman is the editor of the Culpeper Times. You may reach her at