Fluvanna’s Supervisors Cope with COPS

By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer

On April 1st, Fluvanna’s Board of Supervisors had one of those meetings where a seemingly noncontroversial issue suddenly became one.  The Board considered a federal grant request for up to $250,000 to fund five sheriff deputies for three years.

The application, if successful, would come from the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.  But the program comes with some strings, and that was the concern of some supervisors.

The county would be obligated to initially equip the new positions ($181,000) and fund a fourth year at an assumed $250,000 plus pay increases that occur over the first three years.  Given the tight budget situation, some supervisors wondered how they would fund the initial obligation.  Moreover, the staff report was unclear if the program would provide $250,000 each year, or for the life of the program.

After much discussion, supervisors finally approved the request by a 5-1 vote with Don Weaver (Cunningham) dissenting.

In other matters, the Board learned that it will have to place in trust some $286,000 to comply with accounting requirements for retiree health benefit costs (GASB 45).  Failure to do so would dramatically increase unfunded liabilities and that could have consequences for the county’s bond rating. 

Supervisors unanimously authorized the negotiation of a structure lease agreement with U.S. Cellular to construct a communications tower at no cost to the county.  The tower would be constructed on county owned land in the Fork Union area of the county and, according to staff, could link with a tower planned by Ntelos at another county site.  The two sites would significantly increase coverage in the central and southern parts of the county.

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