HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County leaders heard an update on current and future plans during the annual State of the County address on Thursday morning.

Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas praised the county’s budget and said when COVID-19 first hit, leaders took a conservative approach.

“The county was very fiscally conservative,” Vithoulkas told 8News. “We cut the budget by $99 million dollars going into COVID and that proved to be an absolutely right decision.”

Vithoulkas added that, because of their actions, next year’s budget proposal will include a reduction in real estate tax rates, and a first time dividend payment back to residents and businesses.

“For 43 years, this county has not increased the real estate tax rate,” he said. “43 years ago, the tax rate was $1.07 per $100 and will now be 85 cents.”

Vithoulkas said all employees can expect a pay raise.

On November of next year, residents can also expect a bond referendum for school improvement and public safety projects.

The county manager also dedicated a portion of the address to the valiant efforts of mass vaccination events at the Richmond Raceway.

It was the largest vaccination effort managed by a local government in the commonwealth with more than 166,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered from January to May.

“We started with no playbook. But we had our amazing staff. We put our trust in our new Emergency Management Office and leaders like Jackson Baynard and Rob Rowley,” he said.

More than $224 million was advanced towards capital projects, according to the county.

Vithoulkas also mentioned other projects like the NOVA aquatics center at Regency Mall and the redevelopments at Virginia Center Commons for the Indoor Sports and Events Center.

John Vithoulkas ended he address by thanking those who were part of the changes and developments in the county throughout the past year.

“Team Henrico. Let’s finish the job we started many years ago. God bless,” he said.