Government, Latest News, Monongalia County

Mon Commission rolls out $44.24M budget for fiscal year 2025

MORGANTOWN — Despite holding the county’s base levy rates in place, the Monongalia County Commission anticipates a 15.38% jump in revenue in the next fiscal year. 

The commission on Wednesday passed a $44,244,654 spending plan for the 2025 fiscal year beginning July 1. 

As mentioned, the commission is keeping levy rates unchanged, making this the seventh budgeting cycle in which rates were either lowered or held in place.  

Monongalia County rates will remain the lowest in the state at 22 cents per $100 of assessed value for Class II (owner occupied) property and 44 cents for rental properties in a municipality (Class III) or the county (Class IV). 

Even so, the county expects property tax receipts to jump by 14% over the current fiscal year based on valuations set by the state. 

“That is a state-mandated valuation that was done on property that increased property values, that then correlated to larger tax revenues — and also some other properties coming online that were developed,” Commissioner Jeff Arnett said. 

The budget anticipates a beginning balance (carryover) of $10 million and tax revenues of just over $29.4 million. 

It includes a fully funded contingency fund at $4.4 million, or 10% of the general fund, and $927,883 in grants for nonprofits. 

General government, which includes elected offices, insurance, facilities, data processing, planning and zoning and justice center bonds, covers just over 54.5% percent of expenditures ($24,121,929). 

Another $13,598,050, or 30.75%, falls under public safety — law enforcement, jail transfers, court security, regional jail costs, dog wardens, central garage, community corrections. 

Additional expenditures are anticipated for capital improvements ($2,798,159); culture and recreation ($1,985,346); health and sanitation ($1,301,027); and social services ($420,143). 

The budget includes $520,000 in employee raises based off specific requests for each office made by the county’s constitutional officers. 

“We really went through and asked for justification and specifically requested what and how much money [they] would want for pay raises rather than us just doing across the board,” Commissioner Tom Bloom said. “I think it really worked. I really think we got a better understanding of how the constitutional offices support their employees.” 

All three commissioners noted the amount of time invested in putting the budget together. 

Commission President Sean Sikora noted there are some 500 line items in the county spending plan. 

“It’s just not the easy path. We don’t do base line budgeting where you say, ‘We were here last year. Give me the same or give me the same plus something.’ We look at each line item every year,” he said.  

“When [county residents] see those revenue numbers going up, they can rest assured that we’re going to do right by them with every penny of those dollars that we spend.” 

In other county news, the commission set dates for consideration of the county’s subdivision and land division ordinance. 

The ordinance will receive a first reading on April 17 and a second reading on May 1. 

Public hearings will also be held on May 1. A morning hearing will be held as part of the commission’s 10 a.m. meeting. A second hearing will be held at 6 p.m. 

It’s expected that the commission will take the matter up for potential adoption at some point after May 1, but exactly when is not known. 

TWEET @DominionPostWV