Flu Delays Fluvanna Supervisors Action

By Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

PALMYRA — It seems it is the season to be sick. With three important Fluvanna County players sick, the Board of Supervisors January meeting did not get much done in depth.

The two items thought to have action were both deferred.

The first, a public hearing for a storage facility in the Village of Palmyra, was deferred at the request of the applicant, Cowboys, LLC. Vice chairman Bob Ullenbruch has reportedly been battling the flu and the applicant requested to have the item heard by the entire board.

It only takes three supervisors to meet a quorum and four were present. Don Weaver (Cunningham District) was ready to hear the item but Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) said he heard some residents were not at the meeting because of rumors of deferral. Mike Sheridan (Columbia District) also knew of residents who were not present because of the mid-afternoon rumors.

The board decided to defer the action until February.

The only item under action items, a grant application for school resource officers, was delayed because Gena Keller, schools superintendent, and Sheriff Ryant Washington were both battling illness.

The grant application is for three school resource officers (SROs), one for each physical building the school system operates. The grant pays for salary but not supplies and vehicles. The estimated county contribution over the course of the four-year grant is around $300,000. After the grant is completed the county would have to fully fund the positions. Currently only FCHS has an SRO.

Fluvanna has already submitted the grant because the deadline was last week but can withdraw or change it after submission. The board will need to approve or deny the submission.

The board did hold a discussion with the School Board on the school budget. Early projections are the fiscal year 2015 budget will require an additional $1.527 million.

The system will receive additional funds from the state while other funds disappear. The new funding will mainly fund Standards of Quality while losing grants and last year’s teacher bonus money.

The $1.527 million in extra local funds potentially needed over FY14 comes from increases in mandatory Virginia Retirement System contributions, addressing staffing needs, maintaing programs previously funding externally, adjustment of salary scales and health insurance mitigation to the county model.

This will undoubtedly change because the School Board has not met to discuss the budget yet. Their first session was postponed because of inclement weather. Also, the state budget projections was from the Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) budget proposal. Changes could occur with Gov. Terry McAullife (D) now living in the mansion.

The Board of Supervisors FY15 budget calendar starts in earnest next week with supervisors meeting with county administrator Steve Nichols privately. Nichols formally presents his proposed budget, capital improvement plan and tax rate on Feb. 5. The School Board presents its budget request to the supervisors on March 19.

Last year the Nichol’s proposed budget was highly praised by the previous board and only tweaked before approval.

The current year’s school budget will affect FY15’s budget and CIP because the school system is projecting another shortfall. The average daily membership (ADM) is coming in lower than projected, resulting in a potential $230,000 shortfall.

This can have damaging effect to next year’s budget because the CIP is often times funded through the ‘fund balance’, or county savings. Less money in the fund balance restricts a potential budget income stream and/or the main CIP funding source.

The projected school shortfall has lowered. Previously it was over $300,000. For FY15 the school system will use a different ADM projection model to minimize the potential for overshooting it again.


bryan-rothamelThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.

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