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Budget Message
May 18, 2009
Honorable Chairman and Members of the Board of Commissioners
Today’s world differs dramatically from the one we lived in a year ago.
Last year’s budget message focused on managing the high rate of growth and
development in the county and moderating its associated burden on the tax rate and on
our quality of life.
This year it will focus on the impacts of revenue shortfalls resulting from the global
recession, opportunities realized and opportunities awaiting.
Impact of Reduced Revenues in FY 2010
The proposed general fund budget for FY 2010 totals $194.5 million, retaining the
property tax rate of 63 cents but with revenue projections down by nearly $12 million
from the budget adopted last June (The proposed FY 2010 general fund budget is $9.3
million less than the current amended budget, which was cut by $6.1 million in February
2009 to reflect reduced revenues in FY 2009).
Consistent with the Board’s prudent and conservative fiscal policies, appropriation of
fund balance is not recommended to fill this funding gap. Instead, proposed
expenditures are reduced accordingly. These expenditure reductions are targeted to
minimize detrimental impacts on service delivery and to avoid layoffs.
Reductions in spending for FY 2010 are proposed nearly across the board, except
where prevented by contractual or statutory obligations, and for public school operations
(current expense), where spending increases over 2.5%. Total general fund spending is
reduced in FY 2010 by about 4.6% compared to the amended FY 2009 budget, or by
about 5.8% compared to the FY 2009 budget originally adopted last June.
General descriptions of the reductions in revenues and expenditures can be found in the
Budget Summary, beginning on page 31.
Impact of Reduced Revenues in Subsequent Years
Conservative projections suggest general fund revenues will not reach the original FY
2009 forecast until FY 2012. Obviously, a reordering of the county’s five year financial
plan is required.
If the projections hold true, it will not be possible to avoid a property tax rate increase in
FY 2011 without an unfavorable impact on service delivery. Further, the amount of the
tax increase will be higher if current plans are realized to finance the construction of four
new schools and a high school classroom addition in June, 2009.
Two alternative five year financial plans are presented for the Board’s consideration,
both with emphasis placed on minimizing property tax rate increases while the
recession drags on. Continuation of the operational reductions proposed for FY 2010
left school construction financing and other capital projects as the only significant and
controllable variables affecting the tax rate.
One alternative (option A, page 66) calls for financing the construction of two middle
schools and a high school classroom addition in June 2009 and financing the
construction of two elementary schools in June, 2012. This financing plan calls for
capitalizing interest payments for 2.5 years and using cash from the state’s school
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