Fluvanna Plans to Survive Government Shutdown

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

According to staff, Fluvanna County could survive multiple months if the General Assembly standstill shuts down the commonwealth.

The county would have to hold back on several projected items to keep county reserves high.

Fluvanna currently operates with committed and uncommitted money in the bank. The county collects taxes twice a year, June and December. After the June tax date, the county could have around $20 million in the bank to pay for various expenses until the December collection.

Uncommitted funds are known as the ‘Fund Balance’ or the county savings. The FY15 fund balance has to stay above $7.2 million, according to Board of Supervisors policy. The FY15 fund balance will be about $1 million above that.

The issue with a state government shutdown is it holds up major cash flow for the county and not just appropriations from the state. Federal funds that pass through the state, like education dollars, will be delayed, at best.

“Obviously, this is a worst case scenario that I’m showing you but it is something we want the board to be aware of,” said Eric Dahl, finance director, told the Board of Supervisors in a June 4 meeting.

He projects the county could make it through the 2014 calendar year but that would require holding off on signing the E911 radio contract. The county has $7.1 million committed to that.

Later in the meeting E911 radio contract came up for action but the matter was deferred until the next June meeting so supervisors could review the contract. There is a savings if the county signs the contract before the end this fiscal quarter but it could possibly affect the county’s money in the bank.

Staff did recommend on holding off on all Capital Improvement Plan projects that were planned in cash until a state budget is passed, implementing a temporary hiring freeze, hold off on paying staff raises, develop a plan across the county government in cuts in non-personnel costs and defer all non-essential staff training or travel.

The secondary concern beyond the shutdown is what the state budget will look like. The past biennium budget has resulted in a shortfall and making up that difference could be spread across the board in FY15’s budget, thus altering the county’s project revenue budget.

“We just don’t know,” said county administrator Steve Nichols.

He did say things like holding off staff raises will be retroactively applied once the county knows the effect of the pending FY15 state budget.

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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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