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County executive Melissa Peacor on Tuesday proposed a fiscal year 2014 budget that would include a 4 percent average hike in Prince William County residential tax bills, despite a lower rate of taxation.
The proposed $969.7 million budget and the five-year capital improvement plan would provide millions in new funding for public safety—including more police officers to keep up with population growth and new school resource officers. The county would pay for this through revenue projected to rise from sales, residential and commercial tax bases.
The average residential tax bill would be $3,661.
Fire and Rescue would get $1.3 million to staff a ladder truck on the eastern end of the county 24 hours a day. The county already has the equipment, but not the specialty staff needed to operate it. Funding for staffing would be taken from the fire levy on real estate tax bills.
“This is money in the fire levy that’s not currently programmed, and it’s using money in the fire levy to fund this,” Peacor said.
The plan does not cover the millions needed for a new jail, courthouse security, fire stations and other items.
Supervisor Marty Nohe asked whether the county could save money by spending some money on administrative staff instead of uniformed officers.
“Some of those positions might even be things where a civilian could do it less expensively than a uniformed officer. “ Nohe said. “Why wouldn’t we look at hiring some civilians so we can get some of those people in an office back on the street?”
Peacor said it was something the new chief of police could look at.
Peacor also proposed increased staffing for social services, upgrades at elementary and middle school fields, and other improvements. Residents who have additional questions can attend a budget meeting on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the McCoart administrative building.
By the numbers:
- $2,495,186: would pay for 15 school resource officers to staff every county middle school by fiscal year 2015
- $1,592,319: would add 25 police officers by fiscal year 2018
- $2,860,964: add 14 officers for a tactical training unit by March 2016
- To see the full budget proposal, click on the PDF in the upper right.
Coming tomorrow: Social Services Funding in Question