WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
A supervisor who stressed the importance of community feedback during the months leading up to the adoption of York County’s budget said he interprets the lack of feedback as satisfaction among the citizens.
“Silence is acceptance. And this is a room full of silence,” Supervisor Walt Zaremba said after two people spoke during the county’s second public hearing on the proposed budget, which will begin July 1.
The county’s $133.4 million proposed budget includes no tax rate increase and $950,000 in new revenue, $361,000 of which is going to the York County School Division.
At Thursday’s public hearing— which lasted a total of 15 minutes — York County resident Joseph Taylor asked the board to fully fund the school division’s $51.9 million request.
“The schools have long been the crown jewel of York County,” he said. “We need to continue to do everything we can to support that effort.”
He also asked that the county put more money into the York County Public Library, comparing it to the Williamsburg Regional Library.
“We are not fulfilling the obligation of a library when we have such marginal service,” he said, remarking on the “bare” magazine racks in the library on Route 17.
Karen Riordan, the president of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, gave a presentation on future strategies for growing tourism, which include expanding on the arts, marketing more events related to sports, building upon the Christmas holiday and creating culinary and beverage events such as the new Harvest Celebration, which is set for Nov. 11 to 15.
Riordan requested $650,000 from York County for the upcoming fiscal year — a $307,553 difference from what the county adopted in 2015. If the budget passes as-is, the alliance will receive a total $392,447 from the county.
At an April 14 work session, Interim County Administrator Mark Carter said the reason for not meeting the Alliance’s full request was because the county has its own tourism coordinator.
“We think there is a significant value associated with that,” Carter said.
York County also provided WYDaily with three comments received via email or letter by citizens concerning the budget.
Barbara Conley said she would like to see more funding for schools, police and emergency citizens; Sheila Majka also asked for the board to fully fund the school division’s request, while Don Phillips said he would be “willing to pay a little more in real estate tax” to maintain York County’s “desirable environment to live in and an excellent school system.”
“I don’t see much in the way of disagreement,” Zaremba said after the meeting Thursday. He said the citizens’ silence “reflects a broad — not unanimous — but a broad acceptance of the frugality in which we build the budget.”