Provided by Prince William County
The Fiscal Year 2016 budget process starts in earnest this month. As part of that process, taxpayers will have several opportunities to let the Prince William Board of County Supervisors know how they want their money to be spent.
On Feb. 17, the County Executive will present the proposed FY2016 Budget during the 7:30 p.m. session of the Board of County Supervisors. Over the next few weeks following that presentation, there will be a series of community meetings where the public is invited to come and learn about the budget.
The first scheduled public meeting with the Board of County Supervisors will be at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21 at the James J. McCoart Administration Building. That is when the supervisors will begin to examine the budget, said Michelle Casciato, Prince William County Budget Director. “They’re going to really get into the details of the proposed ’16 budget and determine what types of questions they need to have answered; what kind of information they want to ask the budget staff; and have a good back-and-forth information flow that day to help them think about what that maximum tax rate should be.”
The Board is also scheduled to meet on Saturday, Feb. 28 at noon at the Buckhall Volunteer Fire Station. Then, during the evening session on March 3rd, the Board will approve a proposed tax rate for advertisement. Under Virginia law, the Board can adopt a tax rate that is lower than the advertised rate, but cannot adopt a tax rate that is higher than the advertised rate. The tax rate is adopted when the Board adopts the budget at the end of April.
“There will be a number of opportunities for the public to interact and get information on the budget,” Casciato said. There are several Board meetings in March and April where citizens may address the Board about the budget; and a public hearing is scheduled for April 14th at the McCoart building at 7:30 p.m.
People will also have the chance to get involved online, Casciato said. “This year, we will once again be opening our online question-and-answer database for the budget season. That will open on Wednesday, Feb. 18. People can enter their questions online and the answers will be provided online as well. Anybody can look at the database and see the questions that have been answered and asked. They can sort by magisterial districts, by type of question, by type of answer. It’s been very well received over the last couple of years, and we’re anticipating good use of it this year.” Casciato said the database received approximately 300 questions last year.
More information about the FY2016 budget will be available on the County website at pwcgov.org/budget once the proposed budget is presented to the Board.