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Roanoke County Faces Clear Fiscal Concerns

As we start a new year it is important for the citizens to understand that every dollar spent by Roanoke County government is our money — it is the money of hard working citizens of Roanoke County. The key test when looking at whether government should spend taxpayer dollars is to ask whether the private sector is already doing it or is able to do it.  If the answer is yes – then government should restrain itself from financial involvement.

Today, all levels of government: Federal, state and local have become more centralized thus focusing control and power to government instead of the free market.   The unfortunate result of a more centralized government is that they continue to have an insatiable appetite for increased spending and debt.

Roanoke County is no exception to the rule.  For the past three years since I have been on the Board of Supervisors, the Roanoke County Budget has increased by 12 million dollars.  I have kept my commitment to the citizens of Roanoke County by voting NO on each budget.  As a reminder, each million dollars spent by government is $11 per citizen, since we have about 93,000 citizens.

Another way to look at this is that the cost to an average family of four when government spends 1 million dollars is about $45.  Just the budget increase over the past 3 years has cost the average family of four in Roanoke County about $540 (12x$45).  When you consider that the budget of Roanoke County is now about 184 million dollars and quickly approaching the 200 million dollar mark, you understand my concern for the protecting the “wallets” of the citizens of Roanoke County.

As a side note – Just because our county states that we have a balanced budget, that doesn’t mean we don’t borrow money – it only means that we can pay our bills.  Finally, if you think our AA+ rating means that we are in great fiscal shape – that is the exact rating of our Federal government – need I say more?

I also continue to have strong concerns about ROANOKE COUNTY DEBT.  In the past we would borrow $10 million per year and use it for major capital projects.  The past two years we stopped borrowing the $10 million each year and put a hold on capital projects so our debt started to decline.  This was due to the significant attention that the County was receiving from its citizens because our debt had been over 200 million dollars only a few years earlier. The bad news is that we are looking now at drastically increasing our debt by borrowing about $25 million dollars this fiscal year for renovations to Cave Spring High School.  In addition there are other capital projects that are looking for debt funding also.

In addition to the visible debt that we are held accountable to by specific spending ratios, we have also created 8 different Authorities/Commissions that have taken on debt themselves and they are not as visible to the average citizens but, but we are still responsible to pay for much of it.

These 8 institutions are the Water Authority, Community Development Authority, Broadband Authority, Roanoke Center for Animal Care and Protection, Roanoke Regional Airport Commission, Roanoke Valley Detention Commission, Roanoke Valley Resource Authority, Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority, and the Western Virginia Regional Jail Authority.

As of June 30, 2016, six of these 8 Authorities had a combined debt of $260 million – that is over a quarter of a billion dollars!!  (The Roanoke Center for Animal Care and Protection and the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission did not have any debt).  This is additional debt that is not included in local government debt numbers.

I urge Roanoke County citizens to attend at least one meeting this year.  Meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at the Roanoke County Building on Bernard Drive near the Tanglewood Mall area. Meetings start at 3pm. Contact the Board of Supervisors and let them know how you feel about the issues. I have included links below to download the most current agenda. In addition, you can watch the meetings live on the internet or on TV-Channel 3 (repeated on Thurs & Sat)

If I can be of service to you please do not hesitate to contact me in the following ways:
Cell: 540-309-8808 / Roanoke County email: [email protected] personal email: [email protected]
Email to ALL Supervisors at once: [email protected].   My personal political website:
Roanoke County Website –

If you want to download the agenda or watch online – click on the following links.
Board of Supervisors Agenda Only:
Board of Supervisor Agenda w/Reports:
Links to watch online:

Al Bedrosian
Roanoke County Supervisor
Hollins District

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