Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Budget concerns possibly looming in Northumberland

HEATHSVILLE—While Northumberland County has not yet publicly released a draft operating budget, there was already talk of raising taxes to balance the books during a joint meeting between the board of supervisors and the school board on Wednesday, April 19.

Recommended budget

Superintendent Dr. Holly Wargo, steered the board through a $23,331,811 school operating budget recommended by the school board on April 13. It includes an increase of $2,419,921 (11.57%) from the current budget, necessary, according to Wargo, to provide all staff with a 5% raise, plus a 1.25% step at a cost of $1,033,729. Among the other increases are $219,696 to cover a 9.9% increase in health insurance premiums; $368,476 to provide health insurance and benefits for bus drivers; and $361,774 to hire three security officers, a speech pathologist and an occupational therapist. Local funding is projected to be $15,642,818, an increase of $2,343,082.

At one point in the discussion supervisor Richard Haynie told Wargo and the school board, “I don’t want you to feel that we are always picking at you. We’ve got a lot of other things to consider besides your budget. We have all the other agencies in the county to consider. When we look at your increase in spending, that’s a nine to ten cent tax increase. We’re also looking at probably another ten cent tax increase on the county side. That’s a twenty cent increase to the taxpayer and a lot can’t afford that….

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