By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
At its December 7th meeting, Fluvanna County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to contract with the University of Virginia to provide enhanced medical recue service to the county. The additional unit would provide an advanced life support crew (including a medic) and greater response capability to a system currently under great stress. The crew would supplement the Lake Monticello Fire and Rescue department, which currently provides countywide service during the weekdays.
This is the first introduction of paid service to the county and the six-month contract (for $150,000) will be reassessed at its conclusion to determine its utility. The idea of paid service has provoked opposition from the community, as has the proposal to institute cost recovery. Supervisors have gone to lengths to assure residents that no one will be turned away, nor billed if they cannot afford payment.
The Fluvanna County Fire and Rescue department, the Lake’s counterpart, has been unable to reach full strength through volunteers and in many cases throughout the county as a whole, the volunteer staff has been aging. The county’s rescue leadership unanimously endorsed the proposal, although opposition remains within its ranks.
Supervisor Shawn Kenney (Columbia) briefed his colleagues on the progress of the Governor’s Task Force on Mandates to localities. Mr. Kenney, a member of the Task Force, stated that there are over 600 mandates imposed upon localities and they have identified some 70 that could be eliminated.
Kenney also noted that if secondary road maintenance were to devolve to localities, the cost to Fluvanna would be some $3 million per year – the equivalent of an additional $.10 to the county real estate tax rate – currently at $.57 per $100 of assessed value.
Supervisors also declined to accept an offer to place 94.6 acres into a conservation easement. According to staff the county would have been unable to administer the easement and would have acted as a “placeholder” until the property could be transferred to the VA Department of Forestry. That agency is not prepared to consider the transfer until 2012.
The supervisors will hold their final meeting of the year on December 21st.