The proposed 2017-2018 Annual Fiscal Plan for the County of Culpeper approaches $165 million.
Let’s take a snapshot look at the top five pieces of the county money pie and where most of your tax dollars are going. Seventy-four percent of the total budget goes in three areas: schools, human services and public safety.
1. Typical of most county budgets, the biggest piece of the pie and coming in at first place is the public school system. Education is vitally important and the public school system has more than 7,800 students. It comprises 60 percent of the total budget and accounts for $98,620,276.
Keep in mind you’ve got salaries for some 180 employees and capital improvements to existing buildings and debt service. Salary increases are proposed this year. Career and Technical classes offer students a variety of choices after high school.
2. Taking second place in our top five ranking is human services which accounts for 7 percent of the budget at $12,406,260. In addition to the operations of the Social Services Department, funding also accounts for the operations of the Day Care Program, Cosmetology Program, Head Start and Early Head Start. State and federal monies do play a part in this area with the county providing matching funds.
3. Keeping the community safe is a top priority but it doesn’t grab the most money. Public safety dollars in the amount of $11,118,983 make up 6.75 percent giving it a third place ranking. That money is going for court security (bailiff’s), the sheriff’s office, the jail and outside jail services. $950,000 is proposed for outside jail services. $750,000 will add 18 new vehicles but giving the sheriff $255,000 will allow him to purchase them over time. He’d also like to add an SRO (School Resource Officer) which would allow for one at each school campus.
4. Filling the fourth spot in our top five are what is known in the county budget as ‘enterprise funds’ consisting of the airport, landfill and water and sewer. Comprising 6.24 percent of the budget at $10,279,662. The airport is estimated to bring in more than $4M in revenue for FY18 so it is a self-funding operation but the county would like to acquire more land surrounding the airport and do some paving improvements around the hangars. When it comes to providing water, monies can be recovered from those who use it. Continuing construction of a public water supply system near the closed landfill will provide an alternate water supply to residents at risk for groundwater contamination.
5. Taking fifth place is monies toward capital improvement projects. Accounting for 1.7 percent of the budget at $2,821,740 the proposed budget includes a ‘to do’ list of items. As an example, $194,000 is included for LED side markers to all four county emergency communication towers. This will result in a long term savings on maintenance on the towers. Funding in the amount of $243,000 is included for the first of two ambulances needed by the Emergency Services Department. Two of the older ambulances are in need of replacement due to their age and unreliability.
Source: Figures taken from proposed FY18 County of Culpeper Budget