By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Representative
Fluvanna’s Board of Supervisors met for six hours on March 3rd, conducting its regular meeting and hearing budget presentations from a variety of regional governmental and non-governmental agencies. No budgetary decisions were made, nor did supervisors give any indications on which ways they were leaning.
For the first time since the debate over the new high school construction, the courthouse was packed with teachers and parents. They came out in force to protest the reported $3 million school budget cut under consideration by the supervisors. This would be in addition to the proposed state-funding cut of as much as 3 million.
Citizens urged officials to raise taxes to cover the county shortfall (that would add about $.09 cents to the real estate tax rate, an 18 percent hike for schools alone). Speakers also highlighted the economic impact on laid-off teachers, especially for those who live in the county.
Separately, the School Board might send an unbalanced budget request to the supervisors, in effect placing the onus for deeper cuts on the supervisors. Last year the local contribution amounted to $15 million.
Supervisors also heard budget requests from more than a dozen agencies, both public and private. Petitioners advocated funding for various social service agencies, economic development, transportation, and clean water.
During the scheduled meeting, the planning director delivered the 2009 Development Activity Report; that presentation will be the subject of a future blog.
At its next work session on March 10th, supervisors are expected to make some decisions regarding the budget. Then, on March 17th, there will be a public hearing on the budget and tax rate proposals. Final passage will take place in April.