Mon County commissioners to use FY 2023-24 budget to stabilize government operations

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A budget of approximately $37.6 million for the 2023-24 fiscal year will be approved by the Monongalia County Commission. The budget is a nearly ten percent decrease compared to the spending plan for FY 2022-23, and drops in spending in several areas after budget increases over the past three years.

“Our current budget that we are approving is about a 9.85 percent decrease from our beginning budget last year,” said Commissioner Sean Sikora in a budget presentation Wednesday. “And if you look at our revised budget from last year, it’s about a 6.99 percent decrease, so all in all, it’s about a $2,800,000 decrease,” he said.

The majority of the reductions in spending come from general government operations (approximately $900,000). public safety funding, health and sanitation, culture and recreation, and social services will each experience no more than a one percent decrease, which will not affect pay for any county employees. Sikora stated that with the exception of a decrease in capital project expenditures, the majority of the budget for FY 2023-24 is consistent with budget allocations in FY 2022-23.

“Capital projects are about 2.54 percent,” he said, “so overall, the budget is pretty consistent with last year, really flat.”

According to tax levy receipts, the county is expected to receive approximately $20.1 million in property tax revenues for FY 2023-24. The remaining $17.5 million will come from state and federal grants, hotel occupancy tax revenues, property transfer revenues, and carryover from the 2022-23 fiscal year budget. Tax revenues saw an increase, while Monongalia County maintained some of the lower property tax rates in the state.

“Our budget is predicated on eleven cents per $100 of evaluation; that levy rate is actually the lowest in the state,” said Sikora.

The 2023-24 fiscal year budget accounts for the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department pay scale adjustment approved by the commission and accounts for a near six percent increase in tax receipts. The decrease in spending in the budget is not expected to affect any capital projects, including the development of West Ridge and county broadband expansion. With long-term expenditures in place, the plan for the commission is to use the 2023-24 fiscal year to stabilize county operations.

“It’s always been our goal to transform the way we do things as a county,” said Sikora. “The last couple of years we’ve been trying to optimize where we’re at, and now we’re trying to stabilize where we’re at,” he said.