By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
At its September 3rd meeting, Supervisor John Gooch (Palmyra) suggested that the Board of Supervisors look at the possibility of enacting a business tax, or Business, Professional, Occupation License (BPOL).
Supervisors had no immediate comment but County Administrator G. Cabell Lawton IV volunteered to prepare a brief on the subject for the Board’s first meeting in October. The subject has come up before, although not seriously in recent years. Vigorous opposition by the business community has stymied previous efforts.
But the county now is facing unprecedented debt levels and likely will look for several ways to increase taxes beyond just the real estate and personal property taxes.
Supervisors also agreed to a job classification and payroll study for county staff. The analysis will cost about $12,000, but several supervisors expressed concern that benefits were excluded from the proposed scope of work. Supervisor Don Weaver (Cunningham) cited county figures which show that benefits can account for as much as much as forty percent of a typical compensation package.
Supervisor Gene Ott (Rivanna) noted that some benefits – such as retirement – come with “a long tail”, lasting many years after the employee has retired, and noted that much of the federal government’s work now is “contracted out”, to avoid the benefit liabilities.
The measure passed 4-2, with Supervisors Charles Allbaugh (Rivanna) and Weaver voting against. Mr. Allbaugh had argued in a previous meeting that the work should be performed in house.
Other Board Actions
The Board plowed through a number of agenda items. Among the many, supervisors:
· Were briefed on a regional housing conference report and adopted a resolution in support of the regional housing agenda (Weaver dissented);
· Agreed to donate approximately 7.1 acres of county land at Pleasant Grove to the School Board, subject to finalizing the request;
· Established a Building Committee for Fire Stations at Kent Store and Fork Union.
The Board also held a work session after the meeting to review the status of the goals they established earlier this year. At the work session, they also were updated on the James River water pipeline – see separate story for a full report on that topic.