By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
Fluvanna County’s Board of Supervisors kicked off its 2012 meeting schedule by holding its first meeting in two parts. The second session was an all-day retreat held in downtown Charlottesville on January 6th to discuss vision, goals, and budget. While short on many specifics, the retreat set a more collegial tone than had been seen in recent years.
Supervisors agreed to employ new procedures this budget cycle, given what they acknowledged to be “dire” budget circumstances. Perhaps under the rubric of no surprises, supervisors Joe Chesser (Rivanna) and Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra) will work directly with the acting county administrator Darren Coffey and staff directors to hammer out what agreements they can at that committee level. Then the budget will go before the entire Board for further consideration and adoption.
Simultaneously, each county department will evaluate its program activities on a “most to least critical” scale to identify where the departmental priorities are.
There also will be an effort to look beyond the immediate budget cycle. Staff will prepare broad three-year projections and a five-year forecast that will focus on financial needs to:
· Maintain a steady (“do nothing”) budget;
· Comply only with state mandated requirements (e.g., the least the county is required to provide for schools is $8.2 million, according to Chairman Shawn Kenney (Columbia)); and,
· Develop a more sustainable budget, one that might, for example, be more aggressive in debt repayment (i.e., refinance or retire debt that comes due).
The Board’s budget subcommittee will meet later this month and the departmental budget proposal will be transmitted to the entire Board on February 1st. The school budget request, by far the largest component will be forwarded in March.
At the brief January 4th segment of the meeting, Mr. Kenney was elected Chairman of the Board, and Mr. Ullenbruch the vice-chairman. Supervisors also agreed to serve as Board representatives to several Boards and Commissions, most notably:
· Fluvanna Economic Development Commission: Mr. Chesser
· Thomas Jefferson Partnership Economic Development: Mr. Ullenbruch
· Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission: Mr. Chesser
· Fluvanna Planning Commission: Mr. Chesser
· Virginia Association of Counties: Mr. Kenney
· Fluvanna Social Services Board: Ms. Booker (Fork Union)
The next Board meeting will be held on January 18th.
William Des Rochers is the Fluvanna County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.
The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you. To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org