By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
Fluvanna County supervisors delayed adopting the county’s Fiscal year 2013 budget until May 2nd, citing uncertainties regarding state funding levels. About half of the county revenue comes from Richmond.
But the Board made significant policy changes to the five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Supervisors essentially wiped out county participation in any improvements to Pleasant Grove Park and said that private donations would be required to fund the envisioned upgrades. Amenities such as ball field lighting, fencing and a swimming pool were left in the CIP but the supervisors left little doubt as to their reluctance to fund such programs in the face of a pending 20 percent real estate tax increase. The shift to local donations would save the county over $1.3 million over five years.
Also removed from the CIP was $135,000 for the purchase of a building currently occupied by the Commonwealth Attorney and staff. It seems that nobody bothered to ask the owner if he were interested in selling, which apparently he is not.
The Board also learned that the county reassessment fieldwork is about two-thirds completed, and the news is about as bad as was anticipated. Home sale prices are currently estimated to be at about 65 percent of the 2006 assessed values in Lake Monticello, with only marginally better results in the rest of the county.
The effect of such a reassessment on the real estate tax rate will be significant. Assuming that supervisors increase the rate to the advertised $.68 at their next meeting, the revenue neutral rate would jump to $1.05 once the reassessment takes effect next January. This would be the highest rate in the region.
Finally, supervisors deferred a decision on issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to construct water and sewer lines for Zion Crossroads. Aqua Virginia has a proposal before the county but it would involve a public-private partnership that would not be subject to the RFP process.
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
Photo Credit: Fluvanna County