April 15, 2014
While you'll probably be seeing a higher tax bill, Albemarle county schools are still going to be facing a major budget shortfall. Vote after vote went up to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and was shot down on a 3-3 vote.
They finally approved a real estate tax rate of 79.9 cents, less than they advertised. But its still 3.3 cents higher than the current rate, and it leaves the schools with a close to 4 million dollar budget gap.
The source of the struggle? They all want to help bail out the schools from their budget shortage, to varying degrees. And they wanted to keep the tax rate low. And it really didn't look like there was a way to do both.
Supervisor Brad Sheffield says state mandates for the Virginia Retirement System and storm water management forced some tough decisions on the board
"If we didn't have these issues we're dealing with the state and the feds, we wouldn't be raising taxes at all. That is a pure fact. If we didn't have the underfunding of the state funds for the schools and if we didn't have this VRS mandate and if we didn't have the storm water mandate we would not even be talking about raising taxes."
"We have to spend that money on those items, we cannot cut those. So if we can’t cut there, we're looking at a 4.4 million gap, we have to go to services, salaries, or class size.
Ken Boyd and Diantha McKeel both voted against the tax rate, for very different reasons.
Boyd was focused on keeping the rate low.
"i wish we could have kept it a little more level. I'm very concerned about how the economy is still impacting some of our local residents. There are people out of work, there are people under-employed.
McKeel wanted to be able to aid the schools more.