Tag Archives: infrastructure

Fluvanna Examines Energy Savings to Fund Infrastructure Improvements

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors are looking at energy savings through infrastructure improvements.

Fluvanna Supervisor Don Weaver

Supervisor Don Weaver

Don Weaver (Cunningham District) is on a committee along with deputy county administrator Eric Dahl to explore potential energy savings. It is a program the state has implemented to encourage localities to make infrastructure improvements to lower energy costs.

Recommendations include items such as changing light bulbs to LED and improving HVAC systems. Dahl told the Board the contractor guarantees energy savings are greater than cost to do the improvements, otherwise the contractor pays the difference.

Dahl received an update from the contractor just before the meeting that estimates infrastructure improvement costs at $7.7 million. The estimated yearly savings is $500,000.

Also at the October 5 meeting, the board accepted a ‘gifted deed’ from Fluvanna Rescue Squad for the Palmyra Rescue Squad station. The station will need improvements.

Supervisors paid $1 for J. Andrew Graff of Old Albemarle Surveying to survey the property. Graff essentially did the survey as a gift, unbeknownst to the county until the invoice came.

Supervisors unanimously voted a parcel in the Zion Crossroads area to be in violation of the garbage, refuse and waste ordinance. Staff showed pictures of garbage mounds at the property, located at 21708 James Madison Highway.
If the owner does not comply to remove the garbage, staff has the authority to clean the property. A tax lien will be placed on the property to recover the cost of trash removal.

Also at the meeting the supervisors upgraded the Clerk of the Board position to a pay band that moves the clerk to an exempt position. The Children Services Act position had a description change and pay band downgrade as the current employee is retiring.

Supervisors approved the FY17 pay band schematic. The biggest change is with exempt employees being moved to the new federal salary minimum of just over $47,000.

The consent agenda had eight open space contracts up for approval. Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) thanked the residents for filing the contracts. He noted ones that he viewed were in the wrong designation previously. No other supervisor commented other than Weaver wanting full names of the contracted residents in the motions.

The next supervisors meeting is Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. There is a 4 p.m. work session prior.

https://freeenterpriseforum.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/bryan-rothamel.jpg?w=151&h=151The 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

Photo Credits: Fluvanna County 


Fluvanna Seeks To Slake Zion Crossroad’s Thirst

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors receivewater bibd a final briefing on the RK&K report on Zion Crossroads water infrastructure on Feb. 18.  RK&K didn’t change the recommendation to build a $8 million water system, flowing from the Department of Corrections (DOC) women’s facility on Route 250. The county already has an agreement with DOC to buy water wholesale and treat sewer at the correctional facility.

The supervisors’ work session was designed to determine a path to move forward to bring water to Zion Crossroads. Opinions ran strong regarding the level of infrastructure investment required and when it should be put into place.

“DOC, by itself, doesn’t stand alone,” said Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District). The problem is DOC is a “short-term” solution, by RK&K’s opinion said an official from the company. It only supplies enough water for initial growth.

A mid-term solution is to supplement the DOC water source with wells or another water system. The long-term solution is to utilize Fluvanna’s portion of the James River Water Authority (JRWA) with Louisa County.  DOC only gives up to 75,000 gallons of water a day. Louisa currently uses 140,000 gallons a day in the Zion Crossroads area on its side.


Supervisor Bob Ullenburch

“[DOC] gives us an opportunity to start-up at a low cost, and we have options,” said Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District).  O’Brien countered DOC is a starting point but it isn’t a sufficient quantity for projected growth. He said supervisors will have to plan what’s next after 75,000 gallons is used.

Louisa is planning on a facility in Ferncliff to treat raw water from the JRWA. O’Brien wants to work with Louisa to be a partner in that production and thinks the ability to work with the county’s neighbors is closing this year.  “In my opinion, it would be pretty foolhardy not to participate in that,” said O’Brien.

But the county’s debt load continues to be an issue. County officials are currently planning on adding to the debt to pay for the $8 million initial water system. There is potential to save some money here and there by shrinking the main water line length and carefully planning construction vendors.

“We are already $97 million in debt. When is it going to end?” said Don Weaver (Cunningham District).  O’Brien asked how much of that $97 million was to help the lower tax rate. The consensus was none. Most of it is wrapped up in school buildings.

“I can tell you, as a business owner, if you aren’t going to invest in where you are going, you are screwed,” said O’Brien.

Chairwoman Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) repeatedly said during the course of the night she wanted water and soon.  “We’ve got to narrow them down to options…otherwise we can be sitting here another 20 years,” said Booker.

Probably the easiest part of the solution is treated water. The hardDEQlogow part is sewer.  Putting treated sewer into Virginia’s water ways can be a difficult equation with Department of Environmental Control (DEQ). DEQ limits what can be sent back into the watershed, especially as the health of the Chesapeake Bay is continually a topic of conversation.

Ullenbruch said Louisa doesn’t want to treat more sewer. DOC only allows sewer treatment of 100,000 gallons a day.  “The cost of that, that’s the elephant in the room,” said Ullenbruch.

Options for Fluvanna to treat sewer is to see if DOC can expand its currently facility but it sends treated sewer into the Mechunk Creek. Getting re-permitted for that might prove too difficult.

Alternative drip fields sewer could be an option, but if the county supplements the DOC treated water with wells, the alternative drip fields cannot feed back into the wells.

The county could work on gaining ‘credits’ by improving other county waterways or even recruit a business that could use treated sewer for operations.


bryan-rothamel.jpgThe 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

Photo Credits: Fluvanna County, VA Department of Environmental Quality

$20,000 Hookup Fee Discussion Continues in Greene

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

The second meeting of August was winding down and, as always, Chairman Jim Frydl asked for any matters from each Board member. Vice-Chairman Davis Lamb offered that he, Bart Svoboda, Zoning Administrator/Planning Director and John Barkley, Greene County’s Administrator form a committee to study how to change the fee structure for hooking up to the water and sewer system.

The current cost of $20,000 per hookup has hindered development activity in Greene County. Supervisor Clarence “Buggs” Peyton agreed with the situation and asked that the BOS have a sense of urgency to modify the fee structure. He further explained that the income from fees is causing the county to spend funds out of the Reserve Fund in order to pay for the system.

frydlChairman Jim Frydl agreed that this is a complex issue and is being studied. He looked to Administrator Barkley for an update on his progress since he has recently taken his position in Greene. Barkley stated that he, Bart Svoboda and Herb White  have been studying the issue and comparing Greene’s fee structure to those of surrounding counties. Frydl asked when staff would be able to report back to the BOS and it was agreed to put the item on the agenda for the second meeting in September on the 24th of the month.

Back at the workshop with local business people, held on May 28th this economic development issue was highlighted by Steve Jones, President/COO of the Fried Companies, LLC.  Several weeks ago developer Larry Hall  was asked what issues are holding up development in Greene County. His top two issues were the fee structure for EDU’s and the slow process in getting projects through Greene County.

May, June, July, August, September – how long does the project take to be studied and recommendations be made? Hopefully the September 24th meeting will have a clear recommendation on how to modify the fee structure and restart development activity in Greene.


Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.

Fluvanna: Zion Waterline a Moneymaker?

By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission  (TJPDC) presented its Return on Investment Study of the Zion Crossroads Water/Sewer lines to the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors at its June 6th meeting. The organization sees a positive financial return for the county should it be built.

Steve Williams TJPDC Photo Credit Greene County RecordTJPDC Executive Director Stephen Williams (photo right) provided a presentation indicating that even with slow growth in the Zion Crossroads area over the next ten years, the county will receive a positive net revenue stream in excess of $2 million. Without bringing water and sewer to the region, Fluvanna would suffer a financial loss of about $4.8 million over the same time period according to the TJPDC analysis. The financial losses stem from the excess of county expenditures over revenue from the region.

Under more optimistic growth scenarios, the county could see a return from $5.3 to $15.6 million over the ten year period. The study also assumed that if there were no water/sewer, the growth pattern for Zion Crossroads in Fluvanna would be the same as occurred in 2000-2010.

The study was requested by the previous Board of Supervisors and will buttress the efforts to bring water and sewer to the region. Currently Aqua Virginia is holding discussions with the county about constructing the water and sewer lines, and according to one source, informal conversations also have been renewed with Louisa officials.

In other developments:

· Supervisors were informed that Louisa County is suspending all mutual emergency medical services (EMS) aid to Fluvanna. Louisa increasingly has had to respond to assistance requests from Fluvanna’s overwhelmed EMS and contends that it has not received sufficient support in return;

· An independent review of Fluvanna’s Fire/EMS systems will begin at the end of June;

· The audit of county financial records has been delayed because of lack of county personnel, but according to the county administrator, the deadlines will be met; and,

· Supervisors passed out $16,500 in bonuses to staff members who had to assume additional duties because of the firings of staff directors – the funds come from salary savings; Mr. Robert Popowicz was named to be the Director of Community Planning and Development – previously he was the county’s economic development coordinator.

Many residents refuse to give up the school budget fight. At the first public comment session, which lasted nearly an hour and a half, twenty-two residents argued for restored school funding, while five supported the Board’s decision.

The next supervisors’ meeting will be held on June 20th at which time the Board will consider sending a proposed county meal tax (4 percent) to a November referendum.


William Des Rochers is the Fluvanna County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Photo Credit: Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission

Greene Planning Commission Revisits $175 Million+ CIP

By Pauline Hovey, Field Officer

At their first meeting of 2012, Greene County planning commissioners poured over the proposed 2012 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) before sending it to the Board of Supervisors for review.   The proposal projects $175,093,725 in departmental capital spending through FY 2019.

According to Greene County’s previous CIP:

A capital project will be defined as a project (1) which requires a minimum expenditure by the County of $20,000, (2) which has a useful life span of ten years or more, and (3) which meets one or more of the following criteria:

    • • Provides for the acquisition or construction of any physical facility for the community,
      to include consultant or professional services related to acquisition or construction;
      • Provides for the acquisition of equipment for any physical facility when first constructed or acquired;
      • Provides for the ongoing acquisition of major capital equipment or systems, i.e., computer technology, radio systems;
      • Provides for the acquisition of land or an interest in land;
      • Provides for the acquisition of public utilities;
      • Fund expenditures, including additions to existing facilities, which increase the square footage or value of a facility; and/or
      • Fund expenditures for major maintenance or replacement projects on existing facilities.

Newly elected Planning Commission Chairman Anthony Herring led the discussion of the various departments’ capital requests, which are continuing to escalate as the county population increases and the demand for county provided services expand. From the treasurer’s office, to the schools, to fire and rescue, the need for facility and equipment upgrades is anticipated, some more urgent than others.

The rescue squad has been in need of a new building for years, and in fact requested a new facility last year, at a cost estimated at $1.5 million. The current building—a converted old house—is well beyond capacity and in need of repair. In addition, the CIP includes requests for the replacement of outdated equipment for both fire and rescue departments.

Greene County 2012 Proposed Capital Improvement Plan(CIP)
Treasurer $ 13,500
Building Department $ 60,000
Information Technologies $ 178,000
Roads $ 33,121,814
Dyke Fire Department $ 515,000
Stanardsville Fire Department $ 1,270,000
Ruckersville Fire Department $ 6,900,000
Schools $ 39,195,000
Parks and Recreation $ 15,709,000
Rescue Squad $ 259,400
Social Services $ 1,025,000
Commonwealth Attorney $ 20,000
Administration Building $ 2,145,000
Utilities $ 60,670,000
Sheriff $ 4,070,000
Facilities $ 880,000
Community Development $ 195,000
Economic Development $ 8,390,000
Stormwater Retrofit $ 477,010
Total $175,093,724
Town of Stanardsville $ 6,078,000

Infrastructure projects, particularly the proposed water impoundment and water plant and the Stanardsville water and sewer project, at a combined estimated cost of $51 million, according to the CIP, may prove to be one of the most interesting discussions of the year.

The previous Greene County Board of Supervisors, led by Former Chairman Steve Catalano worked diligently to address the county’s future water needs.  As reported last summer:

Total estimated cost for the White Run Reservoir project is approximately $35 million. This includes construction costs associated with the dam and reservoir, the pump stations, water treatment plants, raw and finished water piping, estimated property acquisition costs, wetland and stream mitigation costs, and engineering and construction administration. Water would be pumped from the Rapidan River during wet weather and stored in the reservoir for usage during dry weather periods, causing minimal impact of the river. The target for pump storage is 900 mg.

Current Chairman Buggs Peyton (Stanardsville) and Jim Frydl (Ruckersville/Midway) fully supported the water supply plan last July. How the three new supervisors will view the plan remains to be seen. The joint permit application for the plan is already in process.

Other Planning Commission appointments included Commissioner Norm Slezak, who served as chairman for two years, will be the liaison for the Stanardsville Town Council; Commissioner Frank Steele will serve as liaison for the Economic Development Authority; and Bill Martin, who was reelected vice chairman, will be the lead liaison to the Site Committee, with Slezak serving as the secondary.

Supervisor Davis Lamb (Ruckersville district), former planning commissioner whose election to the Board of Supervisors left a seat on the commission vacant, was one of only a few residents in attendance at the meeting. Interviews of potential candidates to replace Lamb will be conducted the week of January 22, and a new commissioner may be in place by February.


Pauline Hovey is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

City Council Discuss Power and Priorities

By Amelie Bailey, 2011 Field Officer Intern

Charlottesville City Council met on Monday night (8/1) to receive reports on council priorities, nonprofit funding, and the Charlottesville area power grid.

dominion-virginia-power-logoCouncil hosted Dominion Power for a systems update upon request of Mayor Dave Norris, who expressed interest in hearing the state of the Charlottesville power grid given the frequent outages in recent years.

Dominion Power representatives explained both methods of meeting increasing demand, as well as reliability efforts in the Charlottesville area. Representatives explained that a 40% increase in demand over the last ten years can be explained by the increase in the number of electronics in homes and businesses alike. One of the methods for meeting the increase in demand is conservation efficiency measures. Locally, LED streetlamps have been installed on McIntire road, and “smart meters” are being installed in homes throughout Charlottesville. “Smart meters” reduce the need for service trucks, deliver more consistent levels of voltage to homes, and allow for “smart pricing plans” which assign prices based on the time of day.

Dominion Representatives stated that increase in storms, especially since 2009, is the cause of the frequent outages, not any specific system failure. According to Dominion’s presentation, in 2010 38% of outages were tree related. Dominion has aimed to lower this number by removing “danger trees”; trees deemed to be distressed by drought, disease, or for other reasons have a possibility of falling in proximity to a power line. Other reliability measures include increasing storm resiliency of distribution circuits (circuit reconditioning projects). Dominion also announced that construction of a new Brandywine Transmission substation is scheduled for 2013.

Council recently reviewed a set of priorities established in 2008. These priorities included alternatives to cars, infrastructure repair, race relations, economic development, workforce development, affordable housing and a greener Charlottesville. City Manager Maurice Jones delivered a report on ways in which the city has accomplished these goals including increased funding to affordable housing and workforce development, job fairs, launching of the Dialogue on Race, and efforts to make the city more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. Council added “Children” as a broad Council priority at their June 9th retreat. This will include efforts to reduce the infant mortality rate, emphasize prenatal care, increase community activities, and close the achievement gap. Jones said that Council intends to partner with residents and nonprofits to achieve these goals.

Discussion continued on efforts to review the process by which human service non-profit funding will be allocated. A steering committee conducted research over a nine month period and produced seven goals for a healthy community to aim for when allocating funding. On July 5th, staff presented proposals to City Council and offered their own recommendations. On Monday (8/1), staff responded to comments given in the July 5th meeting. Staff reinstated “recommendation 1” by the steering committee which calls for a needs assessment for the area. Staff plans to submit a method and cost estimate of this needs assessment by October 1st.

Staff responded to Council interest in soliciting feedback from stakeholders by building feedback into the needs assessment, and by asking nonprofits how they will gather feedback as part of the funding application. Mayor Norris requested that stakeholders also be involved in feedback regarding the funding allocation.

Council debate centered on whether arts and cultural nonprofits should be included in the human needs category or if they should have their own review process. The steering committee as well as councilors Edwards and Huja voiced interest in having a separate process, believing that this would benefit the arts and cultural community.

However, staff recommended that these nonprofits be kept in the same review process upon requests by arts and cultural nonprofits and festivals. Council agreed to keep arts and cultural nonprofits in the same review process for a year trial period.


Amelie Bailey is the 2011 Field Officer Intern for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization. If you find this report helpful, please consider supporting the Free Enterprise Forum. To learn more visit www.freeenterpriseforum.org