Per capita IW debt ranks 8th

Published 7:26 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Most higher in northern Virginia

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Isle of Wight County has the distinction of having the eighth highest per capita debt load among counties in the Commonwealth. 

Isle of Wight carries a debt balance of $238.6 million, according to the 2017 comparative report of local government revenues. 

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That is up 9 percent from 2015 when the debt was $218.5 million, but the county has dropped from the fifth highest per capita cost since 2015.

The debt represents $6,436 for every man, woman and child in the county. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Coming in higher than Isle of Wight for per capita spending is Arlington ($10,251), Fairfax ($9,151), Loudon $6,942), Stafford ($6,763), Spotsylvania ($6,630) Goochland ($7,877) and Powhatan counties ($6,588). 

As the county prepares for the upcoming budget season with its accompanying capital improvements plan, the School Board has approved a $78.2 million long-range facilities plan over the next 10 years. 

The Isle of Wight County Planning Commission is now in the process of reviewing the CIP before it goes to the Board of Supervisors.

Recent big-ticket projects that have added to the debt since 2015 include the new emergency communications system at $8 million and another $8 million for the school division’s new career and technical education program. 

Smithfield District Supervisor Dick Grice, who has spearheaded an effort to form a finance committee, said the way to manage the debt in the future, particularly with regards to the schools, is to determine trigger points for various projects, such as new schools and major renovations of existing facilities. 

Smithfield debt relatively low in Virginia

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

While Isle of Wight County grapples with a good deal of debt, Smithfield is in the opposite position, when compared to other towns in Virginia. 

Smithfield has the third lowest per capita debt load among towns in the Commonwealth, at $834 for each man, woman and child in the town, according to the 2017 comparative report of local government revenues.

Coming in lower than Smithfield are the towns of Ashland and Bridgewater, at $234 and $795 in per capita debt, respectively. The average debt for Virginia towns is $2,536 per capita.

Smithfield’s total outstanding debt for 2017 was listed at $6.7 million. That puts Smithfield at seventh from the bottom of 38 towns listed for the total of outstanding debt. 

The Town of Windsor was not included in the comparative report. 

However, Windsor has prided itself on not taking on debt and currently, the only item that could be considered debt is a line of credit for the Windsor Town Center. The cap on that credit line is $500,000, according to Town Manager Michael Stallings.  {/mprestriction}