By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
Fluvanna’s supervisors will face several policy decisions on April 15th. The Board is expected to approve a two-cent tax increase in the real estate tax rate (to $.50 per $100 of assessed value) and agree to establish a Joint Water Authority with Louisa County.
Other items on the agenda include approving the FY 2010 budget, and Capital Improvement Plan. No one attended the public hearing supervisors held on the tax rate and budget.
That was not the case for the public hearing to consider the Water Authority. The issue was highly contentious; however, the Board is expected to reject a referendum petition signed by over two thousand residents in the space of two weeks. The petition form apparently was not “preapproved” by the clerk of the court prior to circulation.
The Authority would become a wholesale water seller to just two customers (both counties), would establish the pipeline route, could take land through eminent domain, and raise needed funds through bond issues.
Proponents of the referendum object to several aspects of the Articles of Incorporation’s powers and have started a new petition drive. Theyalso have threatened to sue the supervisors if the Boardapproves the Authority.
The proposed budget is set at just under $62 million. Overall spending is down by some $2.3 million, excluding debt payments and set-asides. Virtually every aspect of county services was reduced – including school funding (-2.2 percent), which was reduced for the first time this decade.
The Board acknowledged economic reality and made an effort to craft an operating budget that reflected constituent priorities (every area but public safety, education, and public works was cut by at least five percent).
In another political development, Planning Commissioner Joe Chesser announced that he intends to run for the Rivanna district supervisor seat currently held by Mr. Charles Allbaugh. Mr. Chesser said that he wants to improve financial management practices so that supervisors can better judge project proposals and the future financial implications that will flow from them.
Mr. Allbaugh, who campaigned successfullyby advocating for the new high school, has not indicated whether he will stand for reelection.