By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer
Both conservative and liberal sides of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors agreed on Nov. 18, the Fluvanna Schools current budget wasn’t spent the way supervisors thought.
The schools had a carryover of over $600,000 from last fiscal year. The School Board requested a carryover of over $61,000, which passed 4-0, Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) was not at the meeting.
Supervisors asked what the system would do with the full funding. One option given was to finish technology upgrades that were requested in the budget process. And that’s where Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) and Don Weaver (Cunningham District) became confused.
O’Brien remembers the supervisors giving money for upgrades in the budget process, as did Weaver. Supervisors gave less than the funding request of the School Board.
“Part of it, is you don’t control [their budget items],” said Steve Nichols, county administrator.
The supervisors approve a total budget number, but not the line items. State Code explicitly prohibits the supervisors from dictating budget items the elected School Board funds. The School Board takes the budget and divvies it up between its needs. While supervisors gave hundreds of thousands thinking it would go for technology, the School Board decided to fill other needs.
“I approved the funding and I’m disappointed to find out it wasn’t there,” said Weaver.
The school system did some technology upgrades including retiring its last Windows XP computer, an operating system that debuted in 2001.
The technology upgrades were originally in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) but the Planning Commission recommended removing it because technology upgrades are routine items and routine items should be in the regular budget.
Supervisors now disagree after finding out the upgrades they thought they funded didn’t occur.
The School Board can come back to ask for additional money to perform the upgrades, just like any department does throughout the year.
“I would rather see that money (the additional carryover) come back in as the General Fund to go back out in the CIP,” said O’Brien.
The General Fund is the county’s unassigned funds. It is also known as the Fund Balance.
Other Business Items
There is at least one property ready for redevelopment on the Fluvanna side in the Zion Crossroads area. The supervisors approved rezoning a property on the north side of Route 250 from agriculture to business. The owners requested the rezoning to make the land more attractive to sell.
The board also passed moving the Heritage Farm Museum from the CIP for FY17 (next fiscal year) and put it in FY16 (the current fiscal year), 4-0. The county’s contribution to the building is $15,000. Weaver dissented in contributing $15,000. Previously the county was to contribute $10,000.
The Fluvanna Historical Society has raised money along with grants to build the museum. It will look like a giant barn and will be built on Pleasant Grove. The county will own and operate the building once it is complete.
The supervisors cleaned up some county codes that were outdated or wrong because of changes in state codes. The biggest change residents will find is changing of the fees for filing land use requests.
The fee to file for land use was previously $10 plus $0.10 per acre. Now it is $25 plus $0.10 per acre. The late fee was $10. It is now $50.
The supervisors next meeting is Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. for a regular session. There will be a 7 p.m. session with public hearings on the James River Water Authority (JRWA) intake system and the LCWA raw water pipeline. Supervisors are expected to vote on both special use permits at the 7 p.m. session.
The 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.