By William J. Des Rochers
Fluvanna Field Officer
Since Fluvanna’s supervisors meet only once this month, the August 6th meeting had twenty-eight items on the agenda, plus assorted other briefings and comment periods. The meeting lasted less than five hour, but there were no public hearings.
County Bond Issue
The session’s most significant item was the upcoming bond issue. Fluvanna’s solid bond rating likely will save the county as much as ten million dollars in interest payments, according to Mr. David Rose, the county’s bond counsel.
Mr. Rose told the supervisors that there are four approaches they might take to secure the funding for the new high school. Currently, one does not seem viable: securing bond insurance to lower the potential interest rate. Given the current uneasiness in the credit markets, the two bond insurers approached by the county are unlikely to offer it [primarily due to their own financial condition].
The preferred option at this time would be to secure the bonds through the Virginia Public School Authority (VPSA). Rose believes the authority will meet in September or October and once their decision is known, the supervisors would be able to make a decision between obtaining funding from the authority or through a publically issued lease revenue bond issue.
Currently, Rose estimates that the total debt service (principal and interest) for the lease revenue bonds would amount to $127,5 million (at 5.25 percent) over twenty-eight years, while the VPSA debt service would be about $120 million (at 4.9 percent).
Supervisors unanimously agreed to accept a gift of an alternative wastewater treatment system from Mr. Mike Clark, who previously won a lawsuit from the county over whether such systems could be installed on a by-right basis. The gift is estimated to be worth about $30,000, according to Mr. Clark. The county expects to amend its zoning ordinance in September to require a special use permit for alternative wastewater systems.
- Might order a pay and classification study, to ensure the county is competitive in the job market. However, should the study suggested that higher salaries are necessary and then not implemented, it could lead to what human resources director Barbara Wall Magee called “negative employee relations”. The study will cost between $13 and $45 thousand, according to Ms. Wall Magee and the proposal will return as an action item on the September 3rd agenda;
- Agreed to relocate the Commonwealth Attorney’s offices for three years subject to successful rental negotiations with Mr. Bosley Crowther;
- Approved the proposed Public Works reorganization, without a position for heating and cooling worker;
- Authorized the county administrator to advertise a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a telecommunications policy study for the county – the study will include provisions for public safety radio communications, cellular communications, and provisions for rural broadband service. This is an outgrowth of the ongoing dispute regarding the placement of cell communication towers throughout the county; and,
- Made four appointments to the Economic Development Commission. The Board reappointed Mr. Chris Fairchild (Cunningham district) to an at-large position with a term to begin on August 1st, 2008 and expire on July 31st, 2012; also reappointed Ms. Catherine Palmer (Palmyra district) to a term from July 1st, 2008 and ending on June 30th, 2012; appointed Mr. Joseph Chesser (Rivanna district) with a term beginning immediately and ending on December 31st, 2009 – replacing Mr. Dennis Rawls, who had resigned; and appointed Mr. Stephen Scott (Columbia district) to an at-large position with a term from July 1st, 2008 and ending on June 30th, 2012.
Early in the meeting, Mr. Jamie Glass, the VDOT representative to the county, informed the Board that the highway agency will not lower the speed limit on Route 600, currently 45 miles per hour, but will install additional signage. Mr. Glass said that a traffic study indicated that 85 percent of the drivers exceed the posted limit by 7 mph, and to lower it would not solve the problem. Supervisor Charles Allbaugh (Rivanna) said that the VDOT position that if the speed limit were lowered, people would still ignore it “makes no sense”.
Supervisors will meet next on September 3rd, at 2:00 pm at the Courthouse. The regular meeting will be followed by a work session to review progress on the goals they established last February.