After a very difficult deliberation and review, the Town Manager and staff submitted the Fiscal Year 2021 Proposed Budget to Town Council and the citizens of Vinton for their consideration. This proposed budget represents a balanced budget, despite a large revenue decrease anticipated with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our locality. Quality services such as Police, Public Works, Planning and Zoning, Financial services and Community Services, which includes our Community Programs and War Memorial facility, will continue to be offered to the public with minimal service reductions. The Fiscal Year 2021 Proposed Budget for all funds totals $11,663,773 and an overall decrease of 4.51%.
Revenues: Before the COVID19 event, the Town was beginning to see recovery in several key areas of our local economy. The Town is heavily dependent on consumer driven revenue sources, and staff has forecasted significant decreases in key areas to protect Town Employees and the services to Town Citizens. More detailed information is available in the PowerPoint presentation attached below.
Expenditures: Each department was asked to critically evaluate their budget and identify budget reduction options while maintaining the core government functions of their respective departments. These budget reductions identified by the departments and Town Management have resulted in a General Fund Budget that is balanced without use of Fund Balance or raising tax rates. This was quite a challenge to accomplish, and we appreciate the assistance of all involved.
Budget Changes: The proposed budget has the following changes in personnel: (1) the elimination of one vacant position in our Public Works Department by moving the bulk collection service from weekly to bi-weekly; (2) freezing three vacant positions for the duration of the fiscal year, two in Public Works and one in the Police Department and (3) freezing of the Assistant Town Manager position for six months of the fiscal year due to the upcoming retirement of the Town Manager.
Programs and services have been evaluated and we are proposing to consolidate community programs to certain days to reduce the cost of providing these programs to the public while maintaining the same level of service. Although our capital needs are critical, the significant reduction to Town revenue resulted in a recommended pause of the CIP program for the fiscal year 2021 budget. The Town hopes to re-instate the frozen positions, operating reductions, and capital expenditures as the local economy and revenue collections improve.
The Town was unable to provide any increases to personnel pay. Virginia Tech had performed a pay study for the Town that we were unable to implement with this budget, but would like to implement as funds become available. The Town did absorb the health insurance increase for our employees, which kept the employee premiums at the current level. The Town also experienced an increase in the VRS contribution rate, as well as the VRS Group Life insurance rate. To offset the significant increases in health insurance and VRS benefits, the Town had to make the hard decision to significantly reduce travel, training, and employee events.
This budget represents the Town Manager’s 30th and most difficult budget to prepare in his public service career. He is very proud and appreciative of his staff who have supported him through the process in making the very hard and necessary decisions to create a balanced budget. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was not of our own doing, he is confident that the Town will bounce back, be stronger, and will continue to make Vinton the “IN” place to live, eat, work and play.
If you have any questions, please contact the Town Manager’s Office at 540-983-0607.