Henrico Board of Supervisors approves proposed budget for fiscal 2024-25

Plan retains 85-cent real estate rate, supports RECAP program, doubles BPOL exemption, advances bond projects, reinvests in education, safety, employees

Update: The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously April 9 to adopt the county’s proposed budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year. The approved budget added $4.5 million to create a reserve fund for Henrico County Public Schools to expand planning periods at elementary schools and $89,500 to fund a community health worker position. It also adjusted funding for several nondepartmental agencies.

Henrico County’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2024-25 would enhance funding for education, public safety and other core priorities while expanding residential and business tax relief, advancing key capital projects and bolstering employee pay, particularly for teachers, bus drivers and other critical, hard-to-fill positions.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday accepted the county manager’s recommended plan, kicking off four weeks of review that will include department-by-department presentations in legislative sessions scheduled for March 18-21 and a public hearing Tuesday, March 26. As outlined, the $1.2 billion general fund budget represents an increase of 8.4%, or $97.6 million, over the current year’s plan.

“The FY25 budget focuses on as many priorities as possible within a conservative outlook that maintains flexibility while doing what we must to serve our constituents,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “It takes care of our employees and maintains the county’s position as a regional pay leader among local governments. It also expands services through a meticulously planned process to enhance the quality of life for residents.”

Among its highlights, the proposed budget would support:

  • No change to the real estate tax rate of 85 cents per $100 of assessed value, which is the lowest among Virginia’s 10 largest localities;
  • A Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) general fund budget of $704 million, which represents an increase of 8.3%, or $53.7 million, over the current year’s plan. In addition to employee raises, the additional funding for education would cover school security enhancements, more learning and classroom positions, and the costs of positions previously supported by federal stimulus funds;
  • The launch of the Henrico CARES initiative to promote the mental health and wellness of youth and their families, with an additional $1.7 million for HCPS and Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services;
  • The remaining 12 positions for Bungalow City Firehouse 23, which is expected to open next winter;
  • New and updated technology for public safety as well as the scheduled replacement of vehicles and apparatus, and the implementation of the Marcus Alert system;
  • An additional $1.5 million in tax relief for qualifying homeowners through the new Real Estate Cap Program (RECAP) and an expansion of the Real Estate Advantage Program (REAP). In the recommended budget, RECAP caps taxes for participants with an income up to $125,000 and a net worth up to $750,000, excluding the value of the home;
  • Additional business tax relief through a doubling of the exemption level for Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) taxes, from $500,000 to $1 million in gross receipts, in an effort to augment the commercial office market in the county;
  • An across-the-board pay increase of 4.8% for general government and HCPS employees, with additional funds to provide a pay-scale step increase for positions in critical areas of need in education and public safety;
  • 10 new positions in the Division of Recreation & Parks for the openings of Taylor Farm Park and new athletic fields and facilities, including a pickleball complex at Pouncey Tract Park and a shelter and restroom building at Four Mile Creek Park, by the Virginia Capital Trail;
  • Expansion of economic development and community revitalization efforts, with $2 million for neighborhood revitalization projects and $750,000 for the Henrico Investment Program;
  • A 5% increase in water and sewer rates to support the operations of the public utilities system;
  • A capital budget of $327.2 million, which includes $30 million for sidewalk/pedestrian and road projects, much of it from the Central Virginia Transportation Authority, and $110.8 million for bond-funded projects – specifically replacement schools for Quioccasin Middle, Longan Elementary and Jackson Davis Elementary; renovation of Johnson Elementary; a new Environmental Education Center Living Building at Wilton Farm; a replacement of Firehouse 1; drainage projects countywide; a new animal adoption center; and a third phase of improvements to Tuckahoe Creek Park.

The March 26 public hearing on the budget will begin at 5 p.m. in the Board Room at the Henrico County Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road. The plan is scheduled for adoption Tuesday, April 9 and would take effect for the year beginning July 1.

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