Hiring freeze, lower spending, halting projects: Henrico County braces for coronavirus financial fallout

Henrico County

Henrico County Board of Supervisors meeting (courtesy of Henrico County Government Twitter).

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — The Henrico County Board of Supervisors is making significant changes to its proposed budget for next year as it anticipates a loss of revenue because of COVID-19.

The county expects much lower revenue from sales, meals and occupancy taxes.

So far the county has ordered an immediate hiring freeze across all agencies. The county has also suspended all discretionary spending, and it has put all unfunded capital projects on hold.

“Recent announcements from Gov. Ralph Northam’s team regarding billion-dollar state budget shortfalls in the current year and next fiscal year reinforce the need to realign our plans and expectations,” said Meghan Coates, deputy director of Finance. “These important, cost-saving measures are going to be the backbone of our plan to endure the financial impact of this event.”

In a March 24 Board of Supervisors meeting, County Manager John Vithoulkas said, “The world has changed. The budget that we worked on, that was presented to you, is no longer sustainable based on the revenue assumptions that were put forward- in one week.”

The county expects its new budget to not support any new positions or projects. The revised proposal is expected to be heard in mid-April. There will be a public hearing at 6 p.m. on April 14, with a vote expected two weeks later.

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