By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
Fluvanna County supervisors selected Captain Steven M. Nichols (USN, Ret.) as the county’s new administrator at their meeting on April 4th. Captain Nichols, a resident of Lake Monticello, is a former hospital administrator who has been active in county affairs over the past several years. He is a former member of the Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals. He previously applied for the position when it was last open but was not selected.
Captain Nichols will serve at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors and will receive an annual salary of $110,000, plus a $6,000 annual allowance for automobile and telecommunication expenses.
Nichols inherits a staff bereft of senior leadership and will assume his duties, fortuitously for shortly after the supervisors approve the FY2013 budget on April 11th.
Supervisors did not discuss the budget at their meeting, but supervisors Robert Ullenbruch (Palmyra) is on record as wanting to reopen budget issues at next week’s meeting, especially the funding for the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). In past years, some supervisors have been successful in reducing the real estate tax rate at the last minute, but in this case there is no indication as yet that supervisors will back away from the $.68 per $100 of assessed value that they approved to be advertised. Virginia state code allows the Board the ability to enact a lower rate than advertised but not a higher rate.
The Board also was briefed by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) on what rate of return it might expect from a water/sewer line serving Zion Crossroads. The Return on Investment Study suggests that with only minimal growth on the Fluvanna side of the Zion Crossroads area, the county would see a positive return of $1.4 million over ten years.
Minimal growth was defined as twenty percent of what Louisa County received during the 2000-2010 period. Should comparable growth occur in Fluvanna, the return would amount to about $14.7 million, according to the analysis.
Separately, the Board announced that Aqua Virginia provided a Letter of Intent to provide several services to the county. Without binding itself, Aqua Virginia indicated willingness to:
· Provide water services to Zion Crossroads;
· Purchase the Fork Union Sanitary District Water System for $750,000;
· Provide operational/maintenance services for the Palmyra Sewer System; and,
· Construct a sewer collection system for Zion Crossroads.
According to supervisor Joe Chesser (Rivanna), each specific offer is independent of any other so that the county could negotiate, for example, the sale of the Fork Union Sanitary District without consideration to any other proposal.
Supervisors also were briefed on the VDOT Secondary Road Six Year Plan. According to VDOT projections, Fluvanna can expect less than $600,000 in new funding from the state over the life of the plan. To put that into context, currently VDOT is spending about $150,000 for sidewalks and bicycle paths on 0.17 miles at the entrance to Lake Monticello at the Food Lion shopping center.
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
Chart Credit: Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission via Fluvanna County