Budget cuts not enough, Henrico leaders say change is needed – literally

Posted at 11:35 PM, Apr 09, 2013

HENRICO COUNTY, Va (WTVR) -- Henrico County’s money line appears to be shrinking. Much like a player losing at Monopoly, the county is trying to do everything to stay in the game.

“We have reduced the capital budget to the point where it was 52 years ago,” Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas said.

Despite those drastic cuts, Vithoulkas told the Henrico County Board of Supervisors if they can’t find a way to bring in new revenue, drastic cuts will need to be made in the future.

“All of this as we navigate in an environment that has been referred to as the new normal,” Vithoulkas said.

To stave off major cuts for at least another year, Vithoulkas wanted to use a one-time resource to prevent layoffs at schools. He proposed a cut in funding for several non-core services and already implemented a purchasing freeze.

While Vithoulkas had his proposals, Henrico residents have their own ideas.

“The publications, Henrico Today and School Days, maybe we stop publishing them. They cost a lot of money and they have almost no readership and they have almost no news in them,” said one resident.

“Will the Board of Supervisors consider adding a fee to cover the cost of EMS service calls?” asked another resident.

The board hopes county voters will pass a 4-percent meals tax when it comes up for a vote in November. If not, county leaders said they may need to raise Henrico's real estate tax in order to cover costs.

“We would like to see due diligence that the county truly has cut everything it can,” said one resident who doesn’t like the idea of higher taxes.

However, county leaders said they need this money to fund various revenue requests.

“Hope you can continue to give us future support so we can accomplish what we need to do,” said one resident.

The county’s Board of Supervisors is expected to adopt the county’s budget on April 23.