By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Representative
Late in the evening of April 21st, Fluvanna’s Board of Supervisors set the FY 2011 real estate tax rate at $.54 per $100 of assessed value. This represents an eight percent increase over the current $.50 cent rate, but was a reduction of two cents from the advertised proposed rate of $.56 cents.
Three of the four cents tax hike are earmarked for debt payment on the high school currently under construction, while the other cent: the equivalent of about $350,000, is scattered among various departments. To reach the goal of less than a ten percent tax increase, supervisors cut an additional $300,000 from the school budget. This is on top of the previous $1 million cut.
Apart from schools and Parks and Recreation, most other departments were spared significant reductions. Towards the end of the meeting, funds were restored to a number of departments and agencies, which the supervisors hoped would mitigate employee layoffs.
Supervisors Kenney (Columbia) and Weaver (Cunningham) voted against the budget, which passed 4-2. Supervisors also approved a Capital Improvement Plan that contained no funding for new projects, but did provide for a $200,000 capital reserve.
Given its size, the county’s library likely took the biggest relative hit of all. Supervisors cut its budget by 8.4 percent, the effect of which will force the layoff of all of the library’s part-time librarians.
It was a curious end to a messy budget process this year. Most, if not all, observers expected that a more conservative board would seek to fundamentally alter the priorities of the county’s government. But this Board chose not to do that in this budget.
The two conservatives were isolated as the Board’s two more moderate members joined with the two liberal members to make Fluvanna only the second jurisdiction in the Charlottesville area to raise taxes for the upcoming fiscal year.