By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
Despite coming late to the game, developer Charlie Armstrong and the Free Enterprise Forum persuaded Fluvanna’s Board of Supervisors to reexamine the implications of a proposed zoning text amendment for economic development.
At its June 20th meeting, supervisors agreed to defer consideration of the amendment until August after Mr. Armstrong pointed out potential flaws n the ordinance that could derail potential development in the Zion Crossroads area of the county. Specifically Armstrong pointed to draft setback requirements for riparian buffers, landscape requirements, and three-year bonding for landscaping.
Earlier in an editorial comment, the Free Enterprise Forum urged a ninety-day deferral so that staff could examine the economic development implications of the proposed zoning changes. While Supervisors unanimously agreed to send the draft back to the planning staff.
The Board however did not accede to the School Board’s request to reinstate nearly $540,000 to the school budget to supplement employee health benefit costs. School officials presented data that suggested that some lower level employees would actually have to pay to work since their month health insurance premiums would exceed their net income.
The Board also unanimously rejected sending a proposed four percent meals tax to a public referendum this November. Supervisors believed that the $300,000 annual projected income was not worth it. Fluvanna does not attract many out of county diners, and is not major restaurant magnet.
Supervisors did adopt a proposal to give county (non-school) employees a five percent pay raise to offset the new five percent employee contribution to the Virginia retirement system. The decision will cost the county an additional $79,000, money that county administrator Steven Nichols said would have to be found from existing budget lines.
Supervisors also received the sobering new that there is just $8.1 million in the county’s undesignated fund balance, or “savings account”. The required minimum balance, based upon county revenues and expenditures, is approximately $7.1 million, leaving county officials with just $1 million in liquid savings. Supervisor Don Weaver (Cunningham) noted that just a few years ago the balance exceeded $16 million.
In other matters, the supervisors:
· Approved incorporating the county’s new vision statement into the Comprehensive Plan; and,
· Endorsed the School Board’s decision to request a Commonwealth efficiency study of the school division’s operations and expenditures.
Supervisors will next meet on July 3rd, at 2:00 pm, rather than on Wednesday, July 4th.
William Des Rochers is the Fluvanna County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.
The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you. To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org