By. Bryan Rothamel
PALMYRA – The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors passed the 2014 fiscal year budget and associated tax rates unanimously during the April 17 meeting.
The budget had minimal changes from the advertised budget. The tax rates did not change from advertised amounts, with the real property tax rate at $0.795 per $100 assessed and personal property tax at $4.15 per $100 assessed.
“I love this budget,” said Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) after the meeting. “We put in some things that we took out last year and the schools are in a better position. I loved the whole budget process, the way it was organized, the way it was presented. And we got a 5-0 on the tax rate.”
The minor changes to the budget were increased funding for the Fluvanna-Louisa Foundation and Jefferson Area Board of Aging. These two changes came from other budget lines but totaled $17,000 of changes.
Notable budget items include $13.75 million for the school district, educational supplements for deputies and structured pay increases for county employees who are currently paid less than market value.
“It was a win-win situation for everybody involved: for schools, for deputies, for staff. Those are the best sorts of budgets. I think that’s why we had such smooth sailing this time around,” said chairman Shaun Kenney (Columbia District).
The FY2014 budget is for $65,312,998. The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), included in the total budget figure, has $3,834,662 worth of projects for FY2014.
The CIP caused more discussion than the budget. Don Weaver (Cunningham District) did not like the inclusion of a $20 million new elementary school for FY2018. The supervisors only commit to fund items in the FY14 column unless an item stretches from FY14 into following years. The other years were described as ‘hopeful’, ‘dreams’ and ‘planned for’.
Bob Ullenbruch agreed with Weaver’s dissension on the elementary school.
Weaver said he would prefer the School Board raise the issue instead of the Board of Supervisors just including an item from very basic discussions. Weaver hoped in the next nine months the School Board would have a better idea of student enrollment, projections and usage of current facilities including the pending closures of Columbia and Cunningham elementary schools.
The CIP for FY14 includes $575,000 for construction of a Zion Crossroad water and sewer system with another $3.1 million in FY15 and $975,000 in FY16. All three years are slated to be paid for by cash, with the first year coming from the Fund Balance instead of operating expenses.
Also in the plan are a groundwater study and adding a water source to the Fork Union Sanitary Department system. The plan also includes replacing an emergency services apparatus.
The CIP has $1.26 million of spending on school projects including new buses, implementation of a new financial system the county finance department uses, renovations to Carysbrook Elementary School and information technology like server virtualization and internet equipment upgrades.
The CIP was adjusted to take school flooring replacement and playground equipment upgrades out of the FY14 year. The supervisors will vote at the next meeting to pay for those items, totaling $150,000, from the FY13 budget. This will allow the school district to award a contract and begin work sooner in order to give proper time before school resumes this August.
The CIP passed 3-2 with Weaver and Ullenbruch voting against it. Weaver announced before the vote his vote against was a protest vote of the FY18 elementary school line.
The first tax bill to include the new tax rates will be due June 5. The FY14 calendar year begins July 1, 2013.
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