By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
Fluvanna’s Board of Supervisors got some bad budget news at its January 20th meeting. Not only is the county expected to be over $560,000 in the hole this fiscal year, it will get a lot worse in FY 2011.
Staff reported that taxes would have to be increased by $.11 just to cover increased debt payments in the next fiscal year. That translates to a 22 percent tax hike. The staff presentation assumed no change in the level of county services.
Several Board members seem of a mind to cut those services, and substantially. Half of the local budget is directed towards education – excluding the school debt service – and half of the county’s governmental operating budget goes to salaries. The state already has signaled that it intends to cut its contribution to Fluvanna’s school system by nearly $2 million, and additional cuts in other areas are expected.
Compounding the difficulty is the lower tax collection rates. Collections are running at 95.6% for real estate taxes and just 88.4% for personal property taxes.
With the imminent departure of Mr. G. Cabell Lawton IV, Ms. Shelly Wright, the deputy county administrator, was named the acting county administrator, and will steer the county through the budget process.
In another major development, the supervisors gave notice of its intention to terminate its contract with its financial advisor: Davenport & Co. Board members had expressed dissatisfaction with the interest rate and structure of the bond issue for the new high school. Several contend that the county overpaid both for the bonds and the advisor’s services.
Supervisors also approved an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan. The amendment will expand the Rivanna Community Planning Area by approximately 62 acres. The property is located on the northeast side of the intersections of Routes 53 and 618, and currently is zoned A-1 (Agricultural).