By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer
The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors went ahead with the plan to advertise a budget justifying a tax increase of over four cents.
It was approved on a 3-2 vote with Don Weaver (Cunningham District) and Patricia Eager (Palmyra District) dissenting.
The advertised budget was as promised with a real estate tax rate of $0.94 per $100 assessed and a personal property rate the same as last year at $4.35 per $100 assessed.
The budget included increases that were outlined from the last work session but included an extra penny of real estate taxes that was placed in a capital depreciation fund.
The extra penny was included because supervisors can set a tax rate lower than the advertised rate but not higher. The extra penny is in case something occurs unforeseen before the final budget is passed on April 20.
Still, the county is struggling without diversifying the tax base. That’s a hope with the two approved water projects but final details of the Zion Crossroads system will be approved later.
“We can’t continue to get to the point where we keep raising rates,” said Eager.
Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) said, “I think we are offering value by investing in the county.”
The fear Eager raised was next year there will be built-in increases because of the water projects’ costs will start coming due.
“I think we have to be responsible,” said Eager in anticipation of those additional expected expenditures in FY18.
Weaver wasn’t happy with advertising a tax rate and especially not happy about the additional penny added to budget for a ‘just in case’ scenario. “You are just opening the door to do whatever you want,” said Weaver.
The heated discussion concluded with O’Brien wanting to see what the tax rate would be if the land use tax was rolled back. That would bring in additional tax revenue but would discourage keeping large land rural unless you could afford the regular rate taxes.
County staff has shown budget scenarios that has various tax rates, including no tax increase from last year’s $0.899. The scenarios step up all the way to $0.94.
The supervisors will have an additional work session on March 23 on the budget. It will be held at the Fork Union Community Center on Route 15 at 7 p.m. It cannot be held in Palmyra because of the Planning Commission needing to use the Morris Room. The courthouse has a case scheduled.
“Sounds like next Wednesday will be interesting,” said chairman Mike Sheridan (Columbia District).
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.