On Tuesday, October 7th, Stafford County Administrator Anthony Romanello reported to the Board of Supervisors that the county faces a $5.6M budget shortfall for fiscal year 2009. Mr. Romanello submitted his recommendations to the Board that will close the gap without raising taxes on county residents. Stafford County is one of many jurisdictions throughout the state facing funding issues in the coming year. The state itself is facing shortfalls with Governor Kaine and the Legislature searching for answers to combat revenue shortages, fuel cost increases and the general economic slowdown and financial crisis that we see on the news everyday.
Fortunately, unlike many counties, Stafford will implement a plan that calls for the county to tighten its belt first. Mr. Romanello suggests eliminating unfilled positions in the County bureaucracy. This attrition plan, while not ideal, will allow for the least impact on residents. The Administrator also recommended cut-backs in training courses, special events, outside legal fees and computer upgrades and repairs. Also, the Woodlands Pool facility which is currently open seven days a week would be closed on Sundays which is their slowest day. Facility upgrades and repairs will also be re-evaluated to ensure that only necessary repairs are made until the financial picture is brighter.
In closing, Mr. Romanello told the Board that he is very optimistic about the future financial strength of the County citing three million square feet of new commercial development in various stages throughout the county. The Board approved the plan as submitted regarding everything except the attrition plan. They have postponed that decision until the October 21st meeting.