PALMYRA — The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to advertise a budget that includes a tax decrease.
The advertised budget will be for $65,312,998 which includes a real property tax rate of $0.795 per $100 assessed and a personal property tax rate of $4.15 per $100 assessed.
The school funding was raised from the baseline of $12.2 million to $13.75 million but still short of the School Board requested amount of $14.1 million.
“As we incrementally improve, we need to incrementally put back the things that we had taken away. I think everyone recognizes that,” said chairman Shaun Kenney (Columbia District) before the motion was made. “That just doesn’t involve the school system. It involves deputies, it involves county staff, it involves the tax payer. …. Those are things that need to be addressed.”
Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) made the motion and it was seconded by Joe Chesser (Rivanna District).
Booker said before the motion, “Everyone in this room knows I am a strong advocate for education. I would love to be able to say and desire that we were at an equalized rate, that we could fund the schools beyond what they are asking for.
“The only thing I can do is get you a little bit past $0.79 and move it to $0.795. And that would help and bring you to $13.7 [million].”
The vote went quickly without discussion.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Chesser made a motion to reconsider the tax rate motion. It is a Roberts Rule of Order procedure that a motion during a meeting can be ‘called to reconsider’ later in the same meeting. It last was used during a budget advertisement meeting in 2010. It was successful and the board voted to increase the tax rate to help with school funding at the time.
This year the reconsider motion by Chesser and seconded by Booker failed 3-2. Don Weaver (Cunningham District), Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) and Kenney voted against it.
The advertised budget means the supervisors will hold a public hearing on the advertised budget and tax rates. The board can only decrease from the advertised amount. If the board wants to increase from the advertised budget and tax rates, it requires holding another public hearing and advertising in the local newspaper for two consecutive weeks.
The public hearing on this budget and tax rates will be on April 10 at 7 p.m. at the Fluvanna Circuit Courtroom.
Increasing the budget and tax rates is unlikely because it puts a strain on county operations. The first tax bill that reflects the accepted tax rate has a payment deadline of June 5. If the supervisors try to change the timeline, the county treasurer has a limited window to prepare tax bills, send them out and then give time for residents to pay.
Many residents pay the real estate tax through their mortgages. The mortgage companies are not as easy to change the rates on so late in the process. Reportedly, moving the timeline back could cause many delayed payments and other collection issues.
The process of increasing the budget and rates after advertising can be done but it is just unlikely.
The Board of Supervisors next meets on April 3 at 2 p.m. in the Fluvanna Circuit Courtroom. There will be a work session that evening to discuss the budget. A finalized budget is scheduled to pass after the public hearing on April 10.
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