A 3% raise for county employees and new EMS positions in the Goode and Big Island areas highlight some of the spending by Bedford County in its 2019-20 fiscal year budget that will take effect July 1.

Supervisors adopted the budget in a unanimous vote Monday.

This year’s budget set the general fund — Bedford County’s primary operating fund — at $110 million for the 2019 fiscal year, a $4 million increase from last year’s budget of $106 million.

Highlighted here are some of the county’s revenues and expenses in the budget.

RevenueMore than 60% of Bedford County’s income during the 2019 fiscal year will come from property tax and sales tax revenues. The property tax rate — 50 cents per $100 of valuation — will generate an estimated $66 million, about $2 million more than the $64 million projected to be collected in the current budget.

The board adopted the property tax rate in April following the results of the recent tax reassessment in Bedford County. According to the assessment, the total assessed value of property in the county is about $10.2 billion, an increase of about $580 million from the last assessment four years ago. The board voted 4-3 to adopt an equalized tax rate of 50 cents per $100 of valuation — which compensates for the increase in property value — instead of keeping the current rate of 52 cents per $100 in valuation.

Other local taxes — like the county’s sales tax and meals tax — are projected to create an estimated $13 million in funds for the 2019 fiscal year.

“We are looking at a healthy increase in our revenues this year,” Bedford County Director of Fiscal Management Susan Crawford said. “Even with the equalized tax rate.”

Other revenue sources for Bedford County include:

» $16.8 million in funding from the state of Virginia; $2.2 million in charges for county services; $503,200 for the issuing of permits and licenses; and $4.8 million from the federal government.

ExpensesNon-departmental expenditures — including funds for Bedford County Public Schools — make up $55 million, or about 50%, of general fund expenditures in the 2019 budget, a $2 million increase from the $53 million allocated last year.

A total of about $36 million is allocated to schools to put toward the division’s operating funds. Other general fund expenditures include:

» $15 million in health and welfare spending; $3.7 million in community development spending; and $500,000 set aside for contingency funds.

Departmental budgets — which include salaries and benefits, equipment and operating costs — account for more than $40 million in expenditures.

The 2019-20 budget includes $480,000 to provide a 3% cost-of-living increase for county employees and $31,000 for a 3% raise for staff with Bedford Public Libraries.

Funding for one school resource officer was added to the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office’s budget and about $246,000 was allocated for additional EMS positions in the Big Island and Goode areas to provide full-time coverage. Positions for a Family Services Specialist and Human Services Assistant also were added to the Welfare Administration Department and an Outdoor Events and Marketing Coordinator position was added to the county’s Parks and Recreation Department.

“I think adding more EMS personnel is one of the biggest things to come out of this budget,” District 7 Supervisor Kevin Willis said. “This was a long budget cycle but I think this budget moves the county in the right direction.”

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Shannon Keith covers Bedford County for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5530.

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