IOW expects $2.3 million shortfall next year

Published 11:00 am Saturday, April 10, 2010

ISLE OF WIGHT—Based on preliminary estimates, Isle of Wight County could face a $2.3 million budget gap for fiscal year 2011.

Options that could help offset the deficit include further cuts to county departments, furlough days for employees, converting select positions from full- to part-time, employee pay cuts, increased contributions from employees toward retirement and the termination of five employees. Trash dumpsites could also be closed one day a week.

Ron Reck, the county’s director of budget and finance, recently provided the Board of Supervisors with a draft of how finances are shaping up for next year in terms of projected revenue and expenditures.

Among options presented to raise revenue were increasing fees for building inspections and public utilities as well as increasing property taxes.

County spokesman Don Robertson said it’s important to note that these are “simply options” for the board at this point.

“Right now, nobody’s job is on the line because no decisions have been made,” Robertson said.

He characterized the discussion and the budget balancing options as very preliminary. Robertson also said the “numbers are still moving,” and the county hasn’t received final numbers from this year’s real estate assessments.

“We have not provided the board with a proposed budget,” he said, adding that supervisors gave the director of budget and finance some additional direction.

Robertson said the Board of Supervisors’ discussion didn’t include talk of the $59.3 million budget approved by the School Board for fiscal year 2011. The School Board’s approved budget assumes level funding from the county of just about $26 million, but it’s not clear whether that will happen or not.

“It doesn’t even include the schools, and that’s the bulk of our budget,” Robertson said of the preliminary budget estimate.