Hearing set for $2.4 million budget increase to pay for Hardy sewer

Published 5:49 pm Monday, May 15, 2023

Isle of Wight County supervisors will hold a public hearing May 18 on whether to increase the county budget by $2.4 million to pay for extending sewer service to the new Hardy Elementary School.

According to a public notice published in The Smithfield Times’ May 10 edition, the additional funds would come from proffers, bond funds, school and contractor contributions and the county’s fund balance.

Proffers are commitments made by developers intended to mitigate the impact of a development, such as cash payments or land for infrastructure. Bond funds refer to money the county has borrowed. Fund balance refers to reserve money that isn’t currently budgeted.

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According to Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson, the additional $2.4 million would pay for the construction of a sewer pump station, the cost of which came in higher than estimated.

The public hearing will be held during the supervisors’ regular meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. in the boardroom of the county’s government complex.

This isn’t the first time costs associated with replacing the circa-1961 Hardy Elementary with a larger, two-story building have soared. Last fall, the county accepted a $2.5 million bid to complete the second phase of extending water service from Smithfield to the new Hardy – an amount higher than the combined total the county had anticipated spending on both phases, plus the pump station.

In 2021, the cost of the school itself increased from $33.7 million to $36.8 million in the span of a month due to inflated steel costs that had emerged from COVID-19 pandemic-related supply chain issues.

Under state law, counties must hold a public hearing ahead of any budget amendment that would exceed 1% of its total expenditures for the year. Isle of Wight County is operating under an $88.9 million budget for the current fiscal year. Anything over $889,700 would exceed the 1% threshold.