By Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer
Prepare the for the marathon that will be the next two weeks of the final month of Fluvanna’s budget calendar.
The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors will meet on Wednesday, March 12 for a work session for the entire budget, including revenues, expenditures and the capital improvement plan (CIP).
Where their minds are? In the public session of last week’s meeting, Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) doesn’t think the supervisors are as far along as they should be.
“We’ve got one week,” said Ullenbruch in reference to the scheduled work session on March 12.
He reference how his first budget cycle included a meeting that lasted until midnight to discuss every item.
“There are some numbers in there (the budget and CIP) that are place holders,” said Ullenbruch.
Chairwoman Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) countered, “For all the concerns we have, we have solutions.”
Booker had confidence the supervisors could pass a budget in the time allocated.
County administrator, Steve Nichols, assured the board his staff was prepared to adjust numbers and scenarios on the fly.
“We are ready to work at whatever speed you want to,” said Nichols.
The FY15 budget is tight. Supervisors have discussed large items like $10 million worth of debt service for the CIP and painfully went through projects to see if there were savings of $20,000 here and there to piece together.
The budget is built with a higher anticipated tax revenue collection rate, using historical figures. The adjustment allowed to budget revenue as if there were an extra penny on the real estate tax.
The question mark Don Weaver (Cunningham District) had was the school system budget. The School Board will submit a budget on March 19. Immediately following its submittal, the supervisors will put the finishing touches on the budget then pass a budget and tax rates to advertise.
The school budget, if higher than anticipated, can really throw the county budget out of sorts. Weaver noted that if the School Board submits a budget higher than the preliminary reports, it could add to the anticipated tax rate.
“To make a decision when you get the budget, that’s not really good,” said Weaver of the tight time frame the supervisors get.
Weaver noted he was ready to work on the budget as long as needed and even schedule another meeting if appropriate.
Two weeks after supervisors advertise the tax rates and budget, they are then eligible to formally approve the tax rates and the budget. After those two weeks supervisors can set a tax rate only lower than what is advertised. The advertised rate is the ceiling tax rate. To raise higher than the advertised rate, it takes another two weeks of public notice and another public hearing.
The Board of Supervisors will meet on March 12 for the work session and March 19 for setting on an advertised budget and the tax rates. Both meetings start at 7 p.m. in the Fluvanna Circuit Courtroom.
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