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Budget approved with no tax increases

Charlotte County residents can breathe a sigh of relief as they will see no real estate or personal property tax increases for the coming year.

The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved the $65 million FY 2021/22 county budget in a unanimous vote Monday, May 10.

Real estate and mobile home taxes are set at 62 cents per $100 of assessed value. Personal property is $3.95 per $100 in assessed value. The machinery and tool tax are $3 per $100 of assessed value.

The approved budget includes $44 million in school funding, of which just over $4 million will be local funds.

This fiscal year’s budget also included a 5% salary increase for both county and school employees.

During the board’s many work sessions on the budget the most significant request for funding, other than the request from the schools,  came from the Charlotte County Fire and Rescue Association.

In March, the association’s President Walt Bailey addressed the BOS requesting $75,000 in funding for each department.

Bailey said the additional funding was needed to help the departments that have been struggling for some time. 

“In order for us to hold our heads above water, we need to get our departments to $75,000 each,” Bailey said, “Until we get to that, we are going to continue to sink.”

During its April 12 meeting, the BOS voted to give the county’s seven fire departments $80,000 each for the upcoming budget year.

The FY21/22 budget sets aside $55,000 for each department, but the board approved giving each department an additional $25,000 each in one-time funding.

According to County Administrator Dan Witt, portions of the $190,000 left in the CARES Act funds will be used to cover the additional $25,000.

“If financial details can be worked out, then the departments will receive the additional $25,000 before July 1,” Witt said.

One organization that currently serves citizens of the county, the Tri-County Community Action Agency (TCCAA), was, however, left out of the new budget.

TCCAA serves low-income families in Halifax, Mecklenburg, and Charlotte counties and has requested just over $18,000; however, supervisors elected to move away from the agency during the budget work session.

According to County Administrator Dan Witt, the BOS now wants to rejoin with STEPS to have needed services provided to its citizens.

STEPS serves South Central Virginia providing community services such as housing, education, workforce, and economic development.

Currently, STEPS operates the Head Start Program in Charlotte County.

Charlotte County was a part of STEPS at one time but left in the early 2000s to join TCCAA.

“The board has decided that they would like to rejoin with STEPS to be with the rest of those counties that are served in the region,” Witt said.

According to Witt, the funds will remain in the FY21/22 budget until a final decision is made as to which organization will serve the county.

That decision is expected to come sometime in July.