The Fiscal Year 2020 Budget represents a balanced budget for all funds totaling $12,214,592 which is a decrease of $143,838 or 1% over Fiscal Year 2019. The purpose of this budget is to plan necessary operating and capital expenditures for the next fiscal year and to vision for the Town's future. Quality services will continue to be offered at the same service level.
The County of Roanoke and the Town of Vinton entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated April 9, 2019 which replaces the Gain Sharing Agreement that will expires on June 30th. This agreement decreases certain revenues to the Town of Vinton, and moved the governmental responsibility of Fire and EMS Services to the County of Roanoke. The overall service for our citizens will continue at the same level, if not improve, with greater operating efficiency and regional cooperation.
The goal of the MOU was to keep each jurisdiction whole and to work out a budget neutral agreement, and this MOU accomplished that objective. The Fiscal Year 2020 Budget has all of the impacts of the new MOU incorporated into the budget plan.
In prior budgets the economic recession had negatively impacted our revenues. However, the Town is beginning to recognize recovery in several key areas. The Town did see real estate assessments increase by approximately 2.34% with the 2019 reassessment with no changes in the tax rate for real estate or personal property.
The meals tax continues to be a strong revenue source for the Town. This is reflective of the value our restaurants are able to offer their customers. In order to fund ongoing capital needs, Council adopted and Ordinance to increase in the Meals Tax rate from 5.0% to 6.0%, estimated to provide an additional $260,000 per year.
During the recent Virginia General Assembly session, the legislature authorized historical racing terminals for the first time in Virginia. The Town of Vinton is anticipating new revenue growth of approximately $390,000 from the re-opening of the off-track betting facility. Staff has opted to take a conservative approach and include the funding as a transfer to the Capital Fund to be used as a match to an upcoming Virginia Department of Transportation application for Mountain View Road.
The major cuts over the past five years have reduced funding for capital projects, which was a priority in this budget with the re-opening of the Capital Fund. The Town facilities and equipment are aging and our buildings not only need to be maintained but are going to require significant investment over the next 5 to 10 years in order to be properly maintain the assets. With the re-establishment and funding transfer to the Capital Fund, the Town is working to address the identified needs and also plan adequately for the future.
The Town has an excellent reputation for being a desired employer as well as having outstanding employees who are committed to providing the best possible service to the community. Changes in Personnel include the transfer of eleven positions in the Fire/EMS Department, to the County of Roanoke. The Budget includes the restoration of one position in the Police Department. This budget, includes a 2.0% cost of living increase for all employees.
Community & Economic Development
In Community Development, the Planning and Zoning staff along with the Planning Commission and community stake holders, continue to be proactive in community-based planning to promote health, safety, and prosperity of all present and future residents through effective planning of development/redevelopment of the community. Beginning in 2017, the Town began several new initiatives to continue the revitalization momentum by focusing on downtown housing rehabilitation, improving walkability and alternative transportation options and redevelopment planning for targeted underutilized commercial properties. The Town continues to work independently and collectively with other local and regional partners to pursue a variety of economic development activities to expand and diversify the Vinton economy.
Water & Sewer Fund
The maintenance, operations, and investment in our water and sewer system are a fundamental government service. Early in 2019, Council approved a contract with Davenport and Company to perform a rate study for the Town system. The last rate study was completed in 2013 by Davenport and Company, which provided for scheduled rate increases and evaluated funding sources for infrastructure, capital, and reserve needs. The implementation of the study successfully moved the Utility Fund to self-sufficiency. Once the current study is completed, Davenport and Company will make a presentation to the Town Council with future recommendations on rate structure.
The Fiscal Year 2019 / 2020 Budget has funding to provide analysis and recommendations to Council to implement a stormwater fee dedicated to achieve capital storm water projects, water quality improvements, and increased maintenance of stormwater infrastructure.
With this Fiscal Year 2020 Budget, we have provided the same level of service to our citizens, began setting aside funding for our capital expenditures, and provided a compensation increase to the Town employees. The Budget also recognizes economic development initiatives throughout the Town which will create synergy and bring continued growth to our Vinton economy. Through this budget, we 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.