Botetourt audit paints a picture of growth since 2000

It’s a report like no other, an annual snapshot of Botetourt County. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report deals with numbers, figures and statistics, which, while boring to some, can lead to intriguing insights into where tax dollars go.

The Board of Supervisors received the 2009 report at its February meeting, along with comments from the tax auditors.

The Board of Supervisors on February 23 presented the family of Don Meredith, the Fincastle District Supervisor who passed away in January, a resolution of of appreciation for Meredith's work during his tenure. Meredith joined the Board on January 1, 2004 and served until his death. The resolution noted Meredith's time as a basketball coach at Lord Botetourt High School and called him a "diligent and faithful servant" to the citizens of the county. Photo by Anita Firebaugh
The Board of Supervisors on February 23 presented the family of Don Meredith, the Fincastle District Supervisor who passed away in January, a resolution of of appreciation for Meredith's work during his tenure. Meredith joined the Board on January 1, 2004 and served until his death. The resolution noted Meredith's time as a basketball coach at Lord Botetourt High School and called him a "diligent and faithful servant" to the citizens of the county. Photo by Anita Firebaugh

The information is enlightening. For instance, county residents had a per capita personal income that averaged $37,775 in 2009; that’s up from $26,293 in 2000, or a 30 percent increase as the population inched up in median age from 40.7 years to 45 in that same time period.

There is also a chart on government employees. The county employee numbers climbed from 179 in 2000 to 267 in 2009, or a 33 percent increase.

And where are those folks?

A good number are in public safety, which has increased by 36 percent since 2000.

The additions include 34 more people in the Sheriff’s Department, which is now taking care of a new jail facility; and 15 people in fire and rescue, which until 2002 was completely volunteer; and a single additional person in animal control.

The remaining increases in the last nine years are in public works and judicial administration (10 more people), general government (five more people) with a lone person or two added to other departments such as planning.

If you want to know what these folks do, another chart in this document shows that in 2009 the Sheriff’s Department arrested 1,768 people, wrote 2,330 traffic citations, and served 7,301 civil papers.

Fire and rescue personnel answered 5,131 calls.

Animal control answered 6,872 calls. For three people, that’s 2,290 calls per animal control officer, or more than six calls a day each, 365 days a year.

The total number of calls was just 1,129 in 2000.

The landfill folks collected 6.5 tons of refuse each day. They also recycled 8.1 tons of material each day.

Parks and Recreation employees oversaw field and facility preparations and maintainance for 3,594 young people as they participated in various events.

Those numbers are significant increases over nine years ago.

Financially, the report shows the county on June 30, 2009 had total long-term debt of about $52.1 million. This debt includes all school construction projects, such as the renovation of James River High School, and construction of the Botetourt-Craig County Jail and Public Safety Building. Some of the school construction debt dates back to 1989, according to the report.

The county’s debt per capita is $1,816, which is lower than the state average of $2,480 per capita, the auditors told the supervisors.

Additionally, Botetourt County has one of the highest tax collection rates in the state, with 97.99 percent of taxes collected in 2009. The county consistently has a high rate of tax collection, Stone said.

The county collected $28.4 million in general property taxes and another $7.5 million in other local taxes. Permits and licenses netted the county another $406,900 and charges for services brought in $820,900. All told, the county’s actual revenue, minus school funding, was $50.9 million, according to the report.

The county’s actual expenses were $55.4 million, leaving the county with a deficiency of $4.5 million for the year that ended June 30, 2009.

By category, the local tax money went to:

$3.1 million in general governmental administration

$1.2 million in judicial administration

$12.7 million in public safety

$1.6 million in public works

$3.4 million on health and welfare

$21.7 million on education

$2.9 million on parks and recreation

$496,566 on community development

$3 million on capital projects

$4.9 million on debt service

Citizens interested in seeing the document can find it in offices of the County Administrator or the Finance Manager, which are in Fincastle.

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