Roanoke leaders talk budget and $183 million debt - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Roanoke leaders talk budget and $183 million debt

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Roanoke County and school leaders me Wednesday night to discuss how they plan on moving forward into next year all while facing millions in future renovation projects on top of millions in debt.

Roanoke County is in the red 183 million dollars.

Roanoke County Board of Supervisors member Jason Peters says tax revenue has been lacking.

"This may be one of our toughest years."

Board leaders tell WSLS that tax revenue has been down over the past few years, especially real estate and sales tax.

Board members say figures for the month of December are very disappointing.

Sales tax revenue dropped twenty four percent and with frigid temperatures they're estimating that January will be down as well.

Board member Jason Peters says revenue on the real estate end, however, could be looking up.

"Over the past few years we have had a decrease in real estate taxes, but that has begun to flatten. That is starting to show a little bit of increase over the next few years," Peters said.

The county has now adopted a new revenue sharing formula --that board members say will help budget more efficiently factoring in key elements like county population, personnel and estimated state funding.

County leaders say a priority for next year’s budget is including a two percent raise for all county employees, one they haven't received in several years.

Peters says they have been working on collecting data about their financial situation.

"We have found that through some of my interviews with department heads that if we are not staying up to speed with increases in salary, then they are moving on and whether it is our teachers, or police officers or fireman, we want to keep our quality people. We have trained them and I’d like to see them stay here in Roanoke County."

Salary increases is a short term cost that county leaders say could end up saving Roanoke County more money in the future.

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