In his Fiscal Year 2023 County Budget, Hanover County Administrator John A. Budesky proposes to strategically invest a noteworthy increase in revenues into priorities that will touch residents who live throughout the County. Highlights include replacing three elementary schools – and renovating a fourth – building a new fire station, investing in the workforce, and enhancing the County’s Tax Relief program.
“This budget is influenced by daily conversations and feedback from County residents of all means, our business community and other stakeholders,” Budesky told the Board of Supervisors at his presentation in February. The Fiscal Year 2023 proposal is just the first year of a five-year planning horizon. “The development of a multi-year plan allows the Board of Supervisors to set long-term priorities and work toward goals, rather than making decisions based solely on the needs of the moment,” Budesky said.
Hanover is currently experiencing positive trends in real estate, personal property and sales taxes. These revenues are projected to grow significantly in FY2023 but are forecasted to return to lower growth rates in the subsequent four years of the five-year plan.
Budesky’s strategic investments are designed to meet the most urgent public needs in the areas of citizen services, the workforce, and aging facilities.
Challenges have intensified
Competitive Job Market
Though the pandemic has not damaged revenue streams, it has intensified challenges and put the County at a competitive disadvantage, Budesky said. For example, the School division has growing recruitment and retention challenges, and the county government’s turnover rate has nearly doubled from previous trends.
“Our regional peers have often provided higher merit increases or other wage enhancements on an annual basis than Hanover County,” Budesky said. His budget recommends a merit increase of 5%, a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, and targeted, market-based salary adjustments.
Budesky noted that Hanover has three elementary schools that are over 80 years old. The proposed budget provides the opportunity to consolidate Henry Clay and John M. Gandy elementary schools into a new facility, advance the replacement of Battlefield Park and Washington-Henry elementary schools and make major renovation improvements to Beaverdam elementary – all within a five- year window.
“Having resources now to address the oldest facilities and maintenance of others will help get our educational facilities up to today’s functional standards,” Budesky told the Board.
New fire station, more firefighters
Public safety remains a focus of Budesky’s proposed budget. A new Fire Station will be built to support 24/7 staffing and faster response times in the Laurel Meadow area and seven new paid firefighters are recommended to increase Henry Fire Company #6 to 24-hour coverage.
Budesky’s proposed budget also includes a significant enhancement to the Tax Relief for the Elderly and Disabled program, increasing both eligibility and the amount of relief available for those most vulnerable and in need in our community.
Hanover’s real estate tax rate of 81 cents will continue to remain the lowest among the four largest localities in the Richmond region if Budesky’s budget is adopted. Unlike some localities, Hanover does not charge a meals tax, a business license tax, or fees for citizens to access trash and recycling centers, all positive factors to the County’s quality of life.
The public hearing on the County Administrator’s proposed budget will be held on April 6 at 6 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room in the Hanover County Administration Building. The entire proposed budget and Budesky’s letter to the Board of Supervisors can be read on the County’s website at