Surry budget proposes keeping 72-cent real estate tax rate

Published 5:13 pm Monday, April 17, 2023

Surry’s draft 2023-24 budget proposes leaving the county’s real estate tax rate as is despite a projected increase in revenue from this year’s assessed property values.

Surry County supervisors adopted a real estate tax rate of 72 cents per $100 of assessed value last year, down from 77 cents in 2021. This year, County Administrator Melissa Rollins is proposing to leave the 72-cent rate unchanged.

County staff projected receiving $105,000 per penny of the 72-cent rate last year. This year, the estimated revenue per penny under the same rate has risen 7% to $112,514.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Public service corporation taxes, largely from Dominion Energy’s Surry nuclear power plant, will account for roughly 53% of the county’s total budget in the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1. Last year, the county projected receiving $216,000 in public service corporation taxes per penny of the 72-cent rate. This year, the estimated revenue per penny has risen roughly 1.8% to $219,972.

Among the county’s stated priorities for the 2023-24 budget is to continue building a “revenue stabilization fund” to “provide a buffer for fluctuations in public service corporation revenue.” Surry had raised its real estate tax rate from 71 cents to 77 cents in 2021 to adjust for a $710,000 reduction in public service corporation taxes.

Rollins’ proposed $65.2 million budget includes $31.3 million for the county’s general fund.

The general fund includes roughly $13 million, or 41.5% of its total budget, for Surry County Public Schools. The amount would fully fund the $209,895, or 1.63%, increase the School Board has requested of the county.

Included in Surry County Public Schools’ adopted $17.9 million budget, which includes local, state and federal funding, is money to provide 5% raises mandated in the state’s biennial 2022-24 budget for school employees.

The county’s proposed budget includes a 5% cost-of-living increase for county staff.

Capital projects budgeted for the 2023-24 fiscal year total $9.6 million.

The supervisors have scheduled public hearings on the county’s proposed tax rates and budget for 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively. The supervisors are slated to vote on a final budget May 18.