View Virtual Town Hall Hosted by Diantha McKeel and Kate Acuff

Email Sign-Up
Sign up for A-Mail to receive news and updates.
Click here >>
Albemarle County Operating and Capital Budget
brown-horizontal-line


brown-horizontal-line
HOME SCHEDULE FAQs GLOSSARY

Over what period does the Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) Budget run?

What is the relationship between the Five Year Plan and the annual Budget?

What is the Revenue Sharing Agreement and how does it impact revenues?

Can the County discontinue the Revenue Sharing Agreement?

What is the Five-Year Financial Plan?

What are “unfunded mandates” and how have they impacted Albemarle County’s budget?

How are property taxes set by the County?

Is there a calendar of the County’s Budget Process, and how can I participate in this process?

What if I have questions or comments regarding the Budget?

What is the difference between “recurring funds” and “one-time money”?

How does the County’s tax compare to similar jurisdictions in Virginia?

What is the tax rate in neighboring jurisdictions?

What is the County’s total recommended budget for FY 16 and how does it compare to FY 15?

How does the County’s General Fund budget respond to the evolving economic environment?

How will the average taxpayer’s real estate taxes change in this budget?

What does the general fund budget recommend regarding human services and community agency funding?

How does the general fund budget support core services?

What are the major impacts of this budget on the County’s Capital program?

How is the School Division affected by this budget?

What are individual major areas of expenditure for the County’s Total budget?

What are Albemarle County’s Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Rates?

What will the increased tax rate fund?

What is driving the increase in expenditures?

What role do the county’s vision, mission and strategic goals play in the budget development process?

How can I review the County’s Budget?

How do we determine the components and costs of our employee benefits packages?

Why are you proposing employee raises in FY 16?


Over what period does the Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) Budget run?

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires all localities to meet certain budget guidelines, as outlined in Sections 15.2-2500 to 15.2-2513 of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended. According to these guidelines, all localities within Virginia must have a fiscal year beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30. FY16 begins July 1, 2015 and runs through June 30, 2016.
Back to top.
 

What is the relationship between the Five Year Plan and the annual Budget?

Since 2008, the Board of Supervisors has annually approved a balanced Five-Year Financial Plan for the County. This process is not designed to be an approval of the fiscal year’s operating budget, but helps create a framework within which the fiscal year’s budget development will take place. The Plan supports Board priorities and provides direction to staff. It also brings together the three major components of the County budget – schools, general government, and capital projects. 
Back to top.
 

What is the Revenue Sharing Agreement and how does it impact revenues?

In 1982, Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville entered into a revenue sharing agreement in which both jurisdictions agreed to share tax revenues in return for total immunity from any annexation attempts by the City. The City was proposing a significant annexation of County territory at that time to increase the City tax base. The proposed agreement was approved by County voters in a referendum.

The agreement provides that the County and the City shall contribute annually to a Revenue and Economic Growth Sharing Fund which is then divided between them pursuant to a formula based on the City’s and County’s population, “true real property tax rates” as determined by the Virginia Department of Taxation, and the assessed value of real property.  Based on this formula,  the agreement has required the County to pay the City a revenue sharing amount each year since 1983 in an amount that is approximately equivalent to revenue generated by ten cents of the County’s tax rate.  The revenue sharing payment  in FY15 was $16.46 million.  
Back to top.
 

Can the County discontinue the Revenue Sharing Agreement?

The Revenue Sharing Agreement is legally binding and must remain in effect until one of the following occurs:

  • The City and County are consolidated or otherwise combined into a single political subdivision, or
  • The concept of independent cities is altered by state law in such manner that real property in the City becomes part of the County tax base, or
  • The City and County agree to cancel or change the agreement. 
    Back to top.
     

What is the Five-Year Financial Plan?

The local government Five-Year Financial Plan is an important long term planning tool that provides the Board of Supervisors with reasonable projections for the next five years so they can provide staff with direction regarding their long range goals and priorities. The Plan is based on a set of assumptions regarding how the County’s revenues and expenditures are likely to change over time, based on the best information available at the time the Plan is reviewed. While the plan is not a budget document, it sets directions that will influence budget decisions in the years to come. The plan is reviewed and updated on an annual basis. 
Back to top.
 

What are “unfunded mandates” and how have they impacted Albemarle County’s budget?

Unfunded mandates are instances where the state or federal government establishes laws and/or regulations that require the County to incur costs that are not reimbursed by the state or federal government. A general example would be if Congress required new voting machines and provided no funding to assist local governments with the purchase of these machines. These mandates require the County to divert local tax dollars to support federal and state programs. A significant example of an unfunded mandate in Albemarle County is the Comprehensive Services Act (CSA) which was created by the state in 1993 to provide services for at-risk youth. An example of an unfunded federal mandate is the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. There has been a 36 percent increase in the number of SOL tests given since the 2000-01 school year as a result of NCLB, which requires more frequent testing. The School Division must spend money to fund testing coordinators for each school and technology support staff and data and reporting staff to comply with these mandates. 
Back to top.
 

How are property taxes set by the County?

General property taxes are based on the assessed value of real and personal property owned by businesses, individuals, and public service corporations. Real estate reassessments in Albemarle County are done on an annual basis and, as required by Virginia law, property is assessed at 100% of fair market value. The assessed value is used to calculate property taxes, which are the product of the assessed value and the tax rate, with tax rates being established annually by the Board of Supervisors. Both real and personal property are assessed at 100% valuation with tax rates applied per $100 of assessed value. Real estate and personal property taxes are paid in 2 installments due June 5 and December 5. General property taxes consist of real estate, personal property, mobile home, and machinery and tools taxes. 
Back to top.
 

Is there a calendar of the County’s Budget Process, and how can I participate in this process?

You can view a calendar of informational events and public hearings pertaining to the budget here [link to calendar on page]. To view events specific to the School Budget only, please visit [school calendar]. To view events pertaining to entire County Budget, a budget calendar can be accessed from the County’s website www.albemarle.org/budget. This calendar includes information and dates of public hearings. Hearings on recommended budgets and proposed tax rates are held in April. 
Back to top.
 

What if I have questions or comments regarding the Budget?

For more information about the County’s budget or budget process, click the link at the bottom of the Budget webpage on the County’s website. Feel free to email your comments and questions regarding the budget to budget@albemarle.org. Questions and comments can also be directed to the County Board of Supervisors via e-mail at bos@albemarle.org.  
Back to top.
 

What is the difference between “recurring funds” and “one-time money”?

Recurring funds are revenues that occur annually and can be counted on, either by assessment, policy or contract. In personal finance, recurring funds are like a person’s salary: you know how much you have to spend each month and can plan your budget based on continuing to receive those revenues.
One-Time funds are monies that do not recur. They may be funds from the state or federal government that are able to be used for a single fiscal year, but do not recur the subsequent year. In personal finance, one-time funds are like getting a bonus or a gift from your grandmother. They increase your revenue in the short-term, but not over the long-term.

Recurring funds and One-Time funds must be spent differently. An ongoing budget cannot be maintained with one-time funds because they do not continue. When the one-time funds run out, cuts will have to be made. Thus, one-time funds are often used for capital expenditures, such as the repair/upgrade of facilities or purchase of items, as these are “one-time” costs. Salary and benefits, on the other hand, are recurring expenses, and funding those with one-time funds creates a “funding cliff” when the one-time funds run out. Using one-time money to fund recurring expenses is not a long-term financial strategy; a locality must plan to balance recurring revenues with recurring expenses. 
Back to top.
 

How does the County’s tax compare to similar jurisdictions in Virginia?

Albemarle County’s real estate tax rate is consistently among the lowest third of those counties in the Top 20 most populated counties in Virginia. When the current tax rate of 79.9 cents is adjusted to reflect the impact of revenue sharing, the County actually operates on a 10.5 cent lower rate, or 69.4 cents, because of the amount allocated to the City of Charlottesville. 

COUNTY 2013 POPULATION 2014 BASIC TAX RATE
Fairfax 1,116,897 1.09
Prince William 431,258 1.148
Loudoun 347,969 1.155
Chesterfield 326,950 .96
Henrico 316,973 .87
Arlington 227,146 .996
Stafford 135,141 1.019
Spotsylvania 125,555 .86
Albemarle 102,731 .799
Hanover 101,702 .81

Source: Population estimates from the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service; Tax rates from individual County finance department webpages.

Back to top. 
 

What is the tax rate in neighboring jurisdictions?

When the current tax rate of 79.9 cents is adjusted to reflect the impact of revenue sharing, the County actually operates on a 10.5 cent lower rate, or 69.4 cents, because of the amount allocated to the City of Charlottesville.

COUNTY 2013 POPULATION 2014 TAX RATE
Fluvanna 25,977 0.880
Orange 34,689 0.804
Albemarle 102,731 0.799
Greene 18,804 0.720
Nelson 14,789 0.720
Louisa 33,945 0.680
Madison 13,200 0.680
Buckingham 17,136 0.500

Source: Population estimates from the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service; Tax rates from individual County finance department webpages.

Back to top.

What is the County’s total recommended budget for FY 16 and how does it compare to FY 15?

The total budget shown below includes the General Fund, Special Revenue Funds, School Fund, School Self-Sustaining Funds, Capital Funds and Debt Service Funds – additional details on these funds are provided in the budget document.

The County’s FY 16 recommended combined capital and operating budget totals $370,686,414 and represents the overall increase in revenues, including proceeds from anticipated increased borrowing of $18.6 million, or 5.3%, and a proposed 80.9 cent tax rate, which is a proposed one cent increase, as compared to the FY 15 Adopted Budget.

The following are represented in the graphs above:

  • Projected property tax revenues, which include taxes such as real estate and personal property, are anticipated to increase by $6.5 million, or 4.3%.
  • State revenues are projected to increase by $1 million, or 1.2%, primarily due to increases in funding for the School Division and the Comprehensive Services Act (CSA).
  • Federal revenues are projected to increase by $0.2 million, or 1.1%.
  • School Division local transfer is an increase of $3.98 million, or 3.6%, over FY15 adopted budget.
  • The payment to the City per the revenue sharing agreement totals $16 million. This is a decrease of $408,313, or 2.5%, from the FY 15 adopted budget.

Back to top.


How does the County’s General Fund budget respond to the evolving economic environment?

This budget reflects the impact of a moderate improvement in the economy and property values for the second year in a row. 

This budget proposes new ways to approach our current challenges in the near term, while encouraging greater dialogue with the public on funding beyond the coming fiscal year. As demonstrated in this budget, the cumulative impact of increased service demands and obligations, growing citizen expectations, and community aspirations outpace our available resources.  Given this reality, we are at a critical moment of decision with the community about defining priorities and funding our future. 

Because of improving revenues, careful fiscal stewardship and strategic investments, this recommended budget makes some positive progress and is built on the modest steps taken in the last several budgets.   While we see things moving in a more positive direction, we also recognize that challenges exist which are not addressed and that significant need in core areas remains. 
Back to top.


How will the average taxpayer’s real estate taxes change in this budget?

The average residential property owner will see an increase in their tax bill in this recommended budget. The proposed 80.9 cents tax rate represents a one-cent increase from the FY 15 adopted budget. Despite an increase last year, this year’s tax bill for the average homeowner is only a few dollars higher than the 2009 tax bill.
The County’s tax rate is among the lowest of the top twenty most populous counties in the state, including many counties that are facing similar urbanizing pressures, which demonstrates a continuing commitment to the principle of fiscal restraint. 


Back to top.


What does the general fund budget recommend regarding human services and community agency funding?

The County’s recommended funding for human services and community agencies is based on the Agency Budget Review Team (ABRT) process. The ABRT is a team of County/City staff and community members tasked by the County and City with reviewing and evaluating request made by human services and other community agencies that are generally non-contractual or not based on another funding agreement. The application for funding is based on an outcome measurement model that requests information from agencies and programs about the concrete and measurable impact they are making in the communities they serve. Funding recommendations in FY 16 budget are based on the ABRT process and in coordination with the City of Charlottesville.  The ARBT has an established process to rank and fund agencies based on their rating: exemplary, solid or fair. The County recommends approximately a 3% increase for “exemplary” programs, level funding for “solid” programs and reductions for those rated “fair.”  No new programs are recommended to be funded by the County in FY 16 due to funding constraints.
Back to top.


How does the general fund budget support core services?

The FY 16 general fund budget supports core services through the following:

  • Redirect existing funding from enhanced services to protect core services
    • Recognizing that we face serious pressures in a number of core service areas, this budget redirects funding from areas of enhancement towards addressing significant unmet needs in local government and schools. Programs including ACE, school modernization and sidewalk construction will retain sufficient funding to match grant opportunities and meet basic maintenance needs for the coming year.
  • Dedicate tax increase to specific core service needs
    • This budget establishes a Fire Rescue Services Fund that aggregates all fire rescue expenditures, including capital, volunteer funding and services, and the fire contract with the City, in one place and assigns a dedicated tax increase of one cent to meet those rapidly growing core needs. 

Back to top.


What are the major impacts of this budget on the County’s Capital program?

The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for FY 16 – FY 20 continues to focus on meeting mandates, maintaining existing infrastructure, and investing in those projects that allow the County to continue core and necessary services without substantial increases in operational costs.   The Recommended Budget for the Five-Year CIP totals $157.1 million. The General Fund transfer to CIP and for Debt Service in the FY 16 Recommended Budget totals $18.6 million, which is a decrease of $1.6 million, or 7.9%, from last year’s transfer.  $152.1 million, or 50%, of the requested CIP projects were unable to be funded with current resources. 
Back to top.


How is the School Division affected by this budget?

Due to timing, the School’s budget numbers included in the FY 16 Recommended Budget reflect those that were included in the Superintendent’s proposed budget.  The School Division operations budget increases by $5.3 million, or 2.9%.

  • The local transfer to the School Division is an increase of $3.98 million, or 3.6%, over last year’s Adopted Budget.
  • The local transfer to the School Division is $113.8 million.
  • Based on the School Board’s Request, the remaining budget gap is $1.25 million.

Back to top.


What are individual major areas of expenditure for the County’s Total budget?

The largest areas of expenditure in the total County’s budget are the School Division operations and General Government operations. Taken together, School Division and General Government operations expenditures account for nearly 78% of the County’s expenditures in FY 16. Other major areas of expenditure include capital debt service and revenue sharing with the City of Charlottesville.
Back to top.


What are Albemarle County’s Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Rates?

The proposed real estate tax rate is $0.809 per $100 assessed value.  The personal property tax rate is $4.28 per $100 assessed value. Personal property tax is levied on vehicles and other tangible non-real estate property owned by individuals, businesses, trusts, and taxable non-profit organizations.
Back to top.


What will the increased tax rate fund?

As a result of the recession, staffing has failed to keep pace in critical service areas, like public safety and human services. This proposed tax rate increase will support our organization’s capacity to provide high quality services that have been diminished in some critical service delivery areas, such as public safety.
Back to top.


What is driving the increase in expenditures?

The primary driver of expenditures in this year’s budget includes: increasing state and federal mandates and obligations, population and enrollment growth, and the demand for critical services in our urbanizing areas of the county.
Back to top.


What role do the county’s vision, mission and strategic goals play in the budget development process? 

Albemarle County has an ongoing and active strategic planning process.  In partnership with citizens and with leadership from the Board of Supervisors, the County’s Strategic Plan establishes goals and timelines that respond to community priorities. Staff and the Board of Supervisors reviews the progress on the Strategic Plan on a regular basis and the Plan informs the County’s budgeting process. Specific actions, programs, capital investments, staffing requirements, and funding levels have been developed over the years in response to the needs identified in the Strategic Plan.  Critical decisions regarding resource allocation during the budget process are evaluated for consistency with and support of the identified strategic priorities. You can find more details about how this year’s recommended budget aligns with the strategic plan in Chapter B.
Back to top.


How can I review the County’s Budget?

The County’s Recommended and Approved Budgets, both current and for past years, are available for review on the County’s website, www.albemarle.org/budget. The budgets are divided into sections in PDF format for easier viewing and downloading. A budget summary sheet will also be available online. In addition to the online budget, a copy of the FY16 budget document is available at local libraries and in the County Executive's Office for public viewing. Bound print and/or CD-ROM copies of the budget are available for purchase in the County Executive's Office.
Back to top.


How do we determine the components and costs of our employee benefits packages? 

Major components of the Albemarle County benefit package are health, dental and life insurance plans, and retirement benefits through the Virginia Retirement System. These are comparable to the benefits packages offered by other major employers, including local governments, school systems, and businesses. Our Total Compensation Strategy includes a target for our benefits to be slightly above market levels of our adopted market. Medical insurance and the Virginia Retirement System are the largest components of the benefits piece of that strategy. The benefit programs are a significant component of Total Compensation in terms of cost, employee satisfaction and employee well-being. In order to provide cost-effective and valued benefits, we review our health and dental plans on an annual basis by gathering data from other localities and by looking at the plan design and costs to both employees and the County.  This review indicates that Albemarle County offers plans in line with our strategy to be slightly above market.
Back to top.


Why are you proposing employee raises in FY 16?

The Division uses an adopted competitive market to analyze its compensation and benefits against other school divisions, local governments and several local employers in order to ensure we are able to recruit and retain high quality personnel. We also follow a compensation strategy that targets teacher salaries within the top quartile of our competitive market and classified staff at the median of the market. Analysis of our salaries this year shows that we are below our market for our classified staff. To maintain our strategy and our ability to continue to attract and retain excellent teachers and staff, the 1.95% average raise for teachers and 2% raise for classified staff is recommended.
Back to top.

 
Featured Events
Board of Supervisors Adjourned Meeting - Development Advisory Services Work Session
11/16/2017, 3:30 PM
Lane Auditorium (COB)
Places29-North Community Advisory Committee
11/16/2017, 6:00 PM
5th & Avon Community Advisory Committee
11/16/2017, 7:00 PM
Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee
11/20/2017, 5:30 PM
Planning Commission Meeting
11/21/2017, 6:00 PM
Lane Auditorium (COB)
Thanksgiving Holiday
11/22/2017, 12:00 PM
Various Locations

View All >>
 
Links of Interest