Still having its meetings via telephone, Northumberland County’s Board of Supervisors continued to wrestle with the budget for 2020-2021 at its regular meeting May 13 and at a special work session May 21.

The regular meeting included a public hearing on the proposed budget. While the public could participate in the phone meeting, nobody commented on the proposal. Some did write the board protesting the size of the budget which includes almost two million dollars more in expenditures than the 2020 budget to be funded by a real estate tax increase from 62 cents per hundred dollars of value to 64 cents per hundred of value. Increased expenditures are not the only reason for the proposed increase. Property values have decreased by more than three percent which means there would be a shortfall even in the absence of increased expenditures.

Almost all areas of county government would have their funding increased in the proposed budget. Schools and public safety would get the biggest increases: the shools by almost a million dollars and public safety more than $600,000.

The total proposed budget for the coming fiscal year is $43,873,687. The current year’s budget has been $42,096,200.

In other business, the board declared May 16-22 Safe Boating Week and adopted a resolution making May 17-23 EMS Week which commended the county’s emergency services organizations. The board also adopted a resolution in memory of former Sheriff Sterling Lee Bowles, Jr. Bowles served with the Sheriff’s Department for 27 years and was Sheriff for 15 years.