The Northampton County Board of Supervisors got their first look at the best guess budgets for the upcoming fiscal year at Tuesday’s work session.

Both the County’s and the School’s budgets are in limbo, as the Virginia General Assembly has yet to reach an agreement on their own budget for the upcoming year. The House and the Senate budgets are vastly different in terms of spending, with the House version spending less and including refunds to Virginia’a taxpayers, while the Senate side spent the surpluses on projects around the Commonwealth.

County Finance Director John Chandler outlined the County’s budget, which jumps from $34,617,260 to $45,671,414, approximately $11 more in spending from 2022. However, approximately $8,000,000 of that amount came in the way of a federal grant for new 911 radios for the Eastern Shore.

Another item of note in the County’s budget is $451,030 for four paid firefighters and a firefighter manager for the County. The topic generated discussion about how big of a change in direction this would be for Northampton, which has relied on volunteer firefighters throughout its entire history. County Administrator Charlie Kolakowski replied these funds are placed under contingency pending the completion of a study on the matter.

The full report can be seen here.

School Superintendent Dr. Eddie Lawrence and Head of Finance Brook Thomas went through the school’s proposed budget.

Reiterating this is the latest the State budget has been getting passed since 2012, the presentation was based on the Senate budget, which included more funding for the schools.

Under the Senate budget, Northampton’s FY2023 budget will be $1.4 million in the red.

Northampton Schools Average Daily Attendance

The Senate budget includes a 5% raise for teachers, one time supplemental support for teacher recruitment and retention and the cost of competing(COCA) will be extended on more year. The House’s budget does not extend COCA funding.

The school system recommended 62% of the money needed be picked up by the State of Virginia, 28% by the County, 5% by the fund balance, 5% by redirecting existing funding and 1% with additional miscellaneous revenue.

Chronic absenteeism continues to be an issue, with 30% of Northampton’s students missing 18 or more days this past year.

“This is one of the biggest problems we have to get over,” said Dr. Lawrence.

The school system’s average daily membership continues to decline as well, falling to a projected 1,300 students for this coming year, a 31% decrease since 2006.

The County and School Board will finalize their budgets as soon as an agreement is reached by the General Assembly.

The full presentation can be seen here.

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