County Administrator Randy Vosburg presented the FY2024 Proposed Budget at the Board of Supervisors meeting on March 7, 2023. Starting July 1, 2023, the All Funds Budget totals $947 million.
Proposed 2024 Budget Overview
The Budget proposes a real property tax rate of $0.94 per $100 of assessed value, moving from the current $0.85 tax rate. The proposed tax rate, while higher, will only increase the average tax bill by $347, with an average tax bill of $3,628. This average tax bill is still one of the lowest tax bills in the region.
With the stabilization this year of the previous year's historically-high car assessments, the Budget proposes a $4.99 personal property tax rate from the current $4.49 tax rate. This rate is still far below the FY2022 rate of $6.10, but this increase reestablishes dedicated transportation funding aligning with the top concern indicated by the 2022 Community Survey.
"Stafford's economy is healthy and growing but continues to face inflation and growth impacts unseen in many years," said County Administrator Randy Vosburg. "With the right investments in our community and organization—while honoring previous commitments—this Proposed Budget will steer the community in the best direction to meet community expectations and the Board's priorities."
Proposed 2024 Budget Drivers
Stafford has one of the highest median household incomes in Planning District 16 and continues to see employment growth in our community. However, Stafford faces a fast-growing population, including one of the highest percentages of school students per population among comparative localities. This challenge is coupled with having Virginia's largest veteran population—one of Stafford's greatest strengths—positioning Stafford's residents to cover tax relief impacts of nearly 7.3 cents on the tax rate. The Veterans Tax Relief Program is an unfunded state mandate that projects to cost Stafford's taxpayers $16.2 million.
While the economy continues to move forward positively, our community, including government operations and staff, is dealing with inflation and market challenges. The government sees extreme jumps in pricing, such as industrial chemicals to treat water and gas prices. Transportation is still a significant priority as Stafford confronts one of the nation's worst commutes.
The FY2024 Proposed Budget
The Budget proposes:
- $17.5 million for education to increase the per-pupil allotment by $376, to allocate nearly 52% of all new revenue to the schools, to fund $4.5 million debt service for High School #6 and to provide the largest proposed increase in history to fund our schools and teacher's pay.
- $13.0 million for public safety to include pay increases of 17.75% for Sheriff uniformed 1st Sergeant and below, 10.75% for all other uniformed public safety staff, managing increasing overtime costs, body cameras for Sheriff's deputies, a new Engine Crew crew and several more initiatives vital for a safe community.
- $7.1 million for general government support to combat inflation increases, an 8% pay increase for all staff, eight positions for social services and five general government staff members to ensure high-quality service for our community.
- $4.2 million for over 12 new and ongoing transportation projects, including moving forward on six 2019 Road Bond Referendum Road Widening and Safety Projects.
The Capital Improvement Program (CIP)
The FY2023-2033 CIP includes both County and School projects totaling $1.14 billion for the 10-year period. The category with the largest expenditure by percentage is school projects at 61%, followed by public safety at 10% and transportation at 18%.
Most of the School's debt is regarding High School #6, which is $93 million, with $28 million for Elementary School #18. The CIP invests in the Rockhill Fire and Rescue Stations' rebuilds at $10.2 million alongside the beginning stages of the Embrey Mill Fire Station at $660,000. The Embrey Mill Fire Station funding is from set-asides for land acquisition
The public can participate in a multitude of ways, including coming to Board of Supervisors meetings, public hearings, email, phone and social media. The entire FY2024 Proposed Budget and CIP are accessible through Stafford's OpenGov platform. You can move graphs, see number breakdowns and dive deeper into the budget, maximizing communication and transparency with the public.
To access the online Proposed Budget, please visit www.staffordcountyva.gov/budget.
The FY2024 budget public hearing is scheduled for April 4, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. at the George L. Gordon, Jr., Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554. Watch live by visiting www.staffordcountyva.gov.