Tag Archives: taxes

Greene BOS Postpones Reorganization

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

In most localities across the Commonwealth, the first of the New Year is when the leadership is decided. Not so in Greene County in 2017, with Supervisors Jim Frydl and Michelle Flynn absent from the meeting the reorganization has been postponed to the second meeting in January – until January 24th.

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John Barkley

With only the minimum Supervisors for a quorum in attendance, the Board delayed all items requiring action until the second meeting of the month. The balance of the meeting was basically a single agenda item – the County Administrator’s report.  County Administrator John Barkley lead off by saying that the Board would hold a Strategic Planning Retreat on January 27th and 28th at the County Office Building that would be open to the public.

The White Run Reservoir water analysis  is hoped to have recommendations this winter as data continues to be collected especially on the fee structure to the county and how to manage the project with the Rapidan Service Authority. The analysis will give a roadmap as how to finance the project.

clip_image002The annual budget process is underway and the budget forms have been issued and received back from all county departments. The data is being organized to allow a budget to be presented in an orderly manner to the Board of Supervisors. The Fiscal Year 2016 audit will be presented at the next Supervisor meeting by Robinson, Farmer, Cox and Associates (RFCA) and the preliminary report looks to be favorable.

Another item to be reviewed at the January 24th meeting is the fiscal Reserve Policy and RFCA will also discuss this issue as part of their audit.

Property reassessments have been distributed to property owners in the county and any reviews requested by the property owners have been completed and revised assessments have been issued. The Board of Zoning Appeals will be the final review for any property owner that wants to further discuss their assessment and this is to be completed in the March/April timeframe.

Definition of blighted property and how the county deals with such issues is also on the agenda for a future meeting. The Ruckersville area was mentioned specifically.  According to Barkley, there are several areas that might need to be addressed by this review. It is hoped that there can be incentives offered for current and new business owners to improve the appearance of their properties.

clip_image003The only comment from Supervisor David Cox (Monroe) was that when he had his appointment with Fred Pearson, Professional Assessor related to property assessments, he was disappointed with the lack of professionalism of Mr. Pearson and gave an example to illustrate the problem. He suggested that the county needs to do a more thorough job in searching for whom does the next assessment.

Chairman Bill Martin (Stanardsville)  said that the work toward the pavilion on the county administration property was going forward with Stanardsville Mayor Gary Lowe, Stanardsville Area Revitalization (STAR) and Barkley working on the details of the agreement. Finally, Martin announced that there will be a budget work session with the School Board prior to the next Board of Supervisor meeting.

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.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

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Greene County Awards Reassessment Bid

By Brent Wilson, Field Officer

Greene County reassesses property values every two years and it is scheduled to happen again this fall. Two vendors  provided quotations including the firm that has performed the service the past two times – Pearson Appraisal Service Inc.

As a part of their June 28th meeting, County Administrator John Barkley  presented the two vendors quotations to the Board of Supervisors  for their review.

clip_image003Pricing from both vendors was based on the number of parcels included in the reassessment.

Blue Ridge Appraisal Company, LLC from Staunton submitted a quotation of $8.25 per parcel with an estimated number of parcels of 10,600 for a total cost of $87,500 using BAI Software .

Pearson Appraisal Service, Inc.   is located in Richmond, Va. and has done the last twopearsons appraisals for Greene County. The price quoted by Pearson’s per parcel was $5.96 for 10,400 parcels for a total cost of $61,984. In addition, for new appraisals a cost of $31.25 was quoted and it is estimated that there would be 24 parcels to appraise.

The total estimate from Pearson would be just under $63,000 vs. a budget of $62,000. Barkley felt certain that the price with Pearson could be negotiated down to the budgeted level. Barkley further explained that Pearson has a good reputation and does reassessments from Virginia all the way down to Georgia.

The timeline for the process would be to have the vendor complete the analysis by September 16th.

Notices would be mailed to property owners by November and the appeals process would take place in December of this year. With all of that completed the new rates would go into effect the first of 2017. After several clarifying questions the Board of Supervisors voted to award the reassessment process to Pearson.

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.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Greene Supervisors Increase Tax Rate

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

Dozens of voters showed up at the Raymond Dingledine Performing Arts Center for Greene County’s public hearing on setting next year’s budget and the tax rates on Tuesday, April 28th. Greene’s Administrator John Barkley  outlined the budget process to help fund the core services of the county – the schools, fire, rescue, parks, etc. [VAVoters.org has the video of Barkley’s budget introduction here.]

The advertised property tax rate was proposed at $.75/$100 of assessed value  (up from $.72/$100) driven mainly by the 3% increase in school funding to increase staffing due to growth in the number of students.

Bob Young 4 Supervisor - Photo credit campaign

Bob Young

After the introduction, Chairman David Cox opened the public hearing. The first speaker was announced candidate for At-Large Supervisor Bob Young.

Young expressed concern over the county continually drawing from the reserve fund to balance recent budgets including the proposed budget for 2015/2016. This year the reserve fund was drawn down by $4 million and the new budget shows $3.2 million from the reserve fund being used to balance the budget. He further expressed concern that without the reserve fund the equalization rate would have to be over $.90/$100 of assessed value.

Other public comments ranged from concern that low income housing drives up personal property taxes, concern of fixed income people paying higher taxes, the need to provide a future water supply for the county, etc. Some of the comments were off topic and focused on procedures within the county office building.

William Shifflett brought a county personnel issue that regarding a loan of $5,200 to Administrator John Barkley from the BOS for Virginia Retirement Service (VRS)  contributions. In addition, several comments were made related to the process within the county related to Special Use Permits.

Sharon Mack - Linked In

Sharon Mack

Finally, Sharon Mack from the Greene County School Board thanked the Board of Supervisors for considering increasing the schools budget to address the increasing student enrollment. In addition, the proposed budget includes a 2% increase for Virginia Retirement System funding and a 2% raise for staff.

The meeting then shifted to the Board of Supervisors who discussed the budget and tax rates. Supervisor Eddie Deane (At-Large) spoke first and expressed concern about the financial condition of the county and the declining reserve fund.

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Supervisor Eddie Deane

He pointed to the auditor’s comments about the county being stable but declining. He believes that the county has dropped below the minimum reserve balance that it has established and he stated he could not vote to pass this budget in his last year of being a supervisor.

Supervisor Davis Lamb (Ruckersville) stated he concurred with Deane and that the equalization rate would be $.92/$100 of assessed value if there was no contribution from the reserve fund. Supervisor Jim Frydl (Midway) stated that the reserve fund is not below the level set by the Board of Supervisors and that the water empowerment is causing the need to draw funds from the reserve fund. $2 million dollars is needed for Water and Sewer and Water Empowerment. Addressing the public comment regarding the  loan to Barkley, Frydl said it was due to a mistake made with his VRS contribution and the employee should not be penalized.

Supervisor Bill Martin (Stanardsville) stated that the Board of Supervisors needs to stand together and that Supervisor Deane had made the comment during the budget process that the budget is “cut to bare bones”. The school faculty and staff is the lowest in the area and a 3.3% increase is not outrageous. Part of the budget issue in recent years is the lack of sale of Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDUs) certificates when the water and sewer project was completed. He appreciated Young’s willingness to get involved and invited others to attend future Board meetings and run for office.

Martin believes that Greene County is managing through the recession better than most counties in the area. The fact that the population in Greene’s schools is increasing  indicates that the county is attracting more residents. He further encouraged residents to speak to their state representatives about unfunded mandates being pushed down to the county level.

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Chairman David Cox

Chairman David Cox (Monroe) has heard of horror stories of other counties not addressing the need for water. He agreed that Greene must keep going forward in acquiring land for the water supply. He appreciated the departments tightening their budgets and he is comfortable with the budget being presented tonight.

Deane stated that he felt that the personal property tax rate should be increased by $.03/$100 of assessed value so that there is not a larger increase next year. Frydl made a motion to accept the $.75/$100 rate and Supervisor Lamb seconded the motion which then passed on a vote, 5-0.

Photo Credits: Bob Young Campaign, Greene County, Lined in

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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.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Fluvanna BOS Hammers Out Budget–“It’s All About the Money, Money, Money”

By Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

Fluvanna-BOS_group2014_sm_thumb.jpg

Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors

The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors got its wish on March 18. Thanks to five hours of work session within the week preceding, the board voted unanimously to advertise a $68 million budget that includes tax increases in both real estate and personal property.

The advertised budget requires a real estate tax rate of $0.899 per $100 assessed and a personal property rate of $4.35 per $100 assessed to balance. The previously discussed increase in fees were not included.

“Everything we have a demand or need for is taken care of,” said Don Weaver (Cunningham District) during the work session just before the regular session.

The board did add a slight pay increase for employees to 1.5 percent. Before it was just one percent. That came to a total of $6,722. It was added by subtracting it from the school budget, a proposal put by Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District).

From the County Administrators’ budget proposal, Fluvanna supervisors added funding for JAUNT, Region 10, staff raises and school funding. They added positions in the E911 center, Department of Social Services and Commonwealth Attorney’s office. They took away the 10 percent operational cut.

Fluvanna County Administrator Steve Nichols

Fluvanna County Administrator Steve Nichols

“You all did a good job at holding the line,” said Steve Nichols, county administrator.

“There are times I walk away (from meetings) where I don’t feel proud but walking away last week, I did,” said Mike Sheridan (Columbia District) about the four and a half hour work session that hammered the budget out to get a unanimous vote.

In a sign of togetherness, Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) made the motion and O’Brien seconded it.

Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the increased real estate tax rate on April 1. The budget public hearing will be April 8 and supervisors are set to formally adopt the budget and tax rates on April 15.

According to Virginia state code, the advertised budget and tax rates can only decrease, not increase.

The fee increases previously contemplated by the Board were not increased because there is debate if the amount Fluvanna currently charges is the state mandated ceiling. While other localities charge more but the county attorney believes a conservative view of the law puts Fluvanna at the ceiling.

Fluvanna could increase fees by differentiating based on weight of vehicles. Because of the uncertainty of the fees, supervisors will take up the issue later this year. Unlike taxes that must be completed in the established budget calendar, fees can be increased at any time during the year, with proper public notice.

Not increasing the fees left revenue $100,000 short but supervisors will use the county’s savings to fill the hole until a resolution can occur on the fee structure.

Also at the March 18 meeting, supervisors voted to allow itself to charge for ambulance transport services. The ordinance paves the path to rescue cost recovery coming to the county. Supervisors have not voted to start rescue cost recovery, yet.

Fluvanna supervisors also rezoned land in the Zion Crossroads area to I-2. This will allow for other various forms of industry including companies that require heavy water use.

Industries that can use treated sewer discharge is an industry Fluvanna is very interested in. It helps lower the nutrients that are put back into the water shed.

The land that was rezoned is near and downstream from the correctional facility that the county has an agreement to treat sewer for a Zion Crossroads water system.

In a related note, supervisors will have a work session on water for the proposed Zion Crossroads system and the current Fork Union’s system tentatively scheduled for May but a date hasn’t been selected.

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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

Greene Supervisors Learn of Flat Property Reassessments

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

In a critical step in their budgeting process, the Greene County Board of Supervisors learned the results of the recent county wide reassessment.  Fred Pearson  of Pearson’s Appraisal Service  addressed the Greene County Board of Supervisors at their January 13th meeting. Pearson reported to the Board of Supervisors that the assessed property values in Greene County are essentially flat.  Property taxes (based on property values) are the lion’s share of revenue in Greene County’s annual budget

Pearson further explained that homes were grouped by neighborhood to determine assessed values. Last fall 30 home owners called to schedule appointments to discuss their property valuation. Of that group, half had reductions given to their assessed values. Owners are interested in a lower assessed value since it would lead to a smaller property tax bill.  Pearson further indicated that only Dogwood Valley had a significant decline in value. He expressed his thanks to Commissioner of the Revenue Larry Snow and County Administrator John Barkley for assisting in his reassessment.

Pearson explained to the Board of Supervisors that there was approximately a 1% reduction in value since his last assessment. When asked what he anticipated in the next few years, Pearson indicated that gasoline prices are down, the economy is improving and the real estate market is strong. So he would assume that prices may start to move upward in the future. Supervisor Bill Martin, Stanardsville District, referred to the recently released Charlottesville Area Association of REALTOR’s (CAAR) Market Report that showed Greene County had a 12% growth in housing sales in 2014 over 2013.

Pearson stated that he only made changes to the assessed value when the change in value was at least 2% different from the prior assessment. Supervisor Jim Frydl, Midway District asked that Pearson consider making changes when the value changes by 1% so that homeowners see smaller increases rather than wait until the increase reaches 2%.

Supervisor Bill Martin also suggested that Greene County announce when the reassessments are being mailed to landowners. He noted that this information was only posted on the county website last fall. Finally Supervisor Davis Lamb, Ruckersville District, asked if the cost of living goes up, does that mean that real estate values will increase. Mr. Pearson indicated that no, this would not necessarily mean an increase in property values.

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The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Greene County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

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

Greene Supervisors Get TJPDC Legislative Update

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) has been undergoing some major personnel changes this year  . Prior to the naming of a new executive director due to the dismissal of Stephen Williams,  David Blount, the agency’s longtime legislative liaison had been serving as interim director for part of the year.

Annually, Blount meets with the respective localities in the TJPDC and gets their input on a proposed joint legislative agenda.  After the initial meetings, he takes the input back reworks the legislative agenda and returns to get each locality’s blessing prior to pursuing the agenda when the General Assembly is in session.

At the Greene County  Board of Supervisors meeting on August 12th, Blount gave an update on what is happening in Richmond that has an impact on Greene and the surrounding counties (Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa, Nelson and the city of Charlottesville) – both from the 2014 Legislative Program and what is in the proposed program for 2015.

In 2014 the emphasis has been on primarily on public education funding – primarily “without making formula and policy changes that shift the funding burden to localities” and that the unfunded liability for the teacher’s retirement plan that “should be a shared responsibility of state and local government”.

In 2015, a major legislative priority emphasis is on giving the counties more tools to generate tax revenue similar to what powers cities and towns now have. Also, he said that School Boards were going to be invited into their process as their budgets are major component of localities expenditures.

After the overview, Blount opened his presentation to the Board Of Supervisors for their comments and questions. Supervisor Davis Lamb, At Large, commented that in the 1990’s and 2000’s like before the recession the state should provide more funding to counties.  Blount agreed and stated the equal taxation authority to enable counties to tax like cities and towns is a top issue this coming year.

Chairman Jim Frydl, Midway District, commented on the multiple studies cited by Commission that state that taxes other than property taxes need to be developed. Mr. Blount again agreed with the comment.

Bill Martin Greene County Supervisor

Greene County Supervisor Bill Martin – Stanardsville

Supervisor Bill Martin, Stanardsville District,  wanted to be clear that Greene County supports other methods of taxing, but is not trying to increase total taxes and wants Richmond to pay their share of the tax burden. Frydl added to the issue that ideally taxes would be assigned by some method based on the cause or driver of the activity as opposed to property taxes as the main source of revenue.

The concluding point that was agreed upon was that while Richmond talks about low taxes and having a reserve fund, this has been accomplished on the backs of counties by pushing unfunded mandates to localities and shifting the cost away from the state with no transfer of any revenue to cover the program.

Blount also expressed frustration that the underfunded Virginia Retirement System  has not been brought up for discussion. The VRS still has an unfunded liability of approximately $20 billion

Lamb along with County Administrator John Barkley both complimented Blount on being very responsive as questions arise throughout the year.

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

Photo Credits: Greene County

Food Truck Regulations Considered in Greene County

By Brent Wilson, Field Officer

The Greene County  Planning Commission  heard a proposal from Zoning Administrator/Planning Director Bart Svoboda  to create a category of mobile food units (more commonely refered to as Food Trucks) allowed by right in B-1, B-2, B-3, M-1 and M-2 zoning districts at their monthly meeting on July 16th. Svoboda explained that in tcrab-cabhe past few years there have been more mobile food units in industrial areas in the county.

The proposed new ordinance would allow a vendor to take their mobile unit to three locations in the county for a year. The issues that he brought up to the PC were safety, traffic flow, fire hydrant locations, and set back distance and Charlottesville’s ordinance has recently been reviewed .

According to the proposed regulations, the unit must be located on private property and not in the right of way. The unit must be moved from one of the approved locations each day. The hours would be limited to 6 am to 10 pm.

Commissioner John McCloskey asked Svoboda how this affectstruck_redbone vineyards and was told this does not apply to vineyards. Commissioner Vic Schaff had a unique perspective as an owner of a brick and mortar restaurant. He questioned how (and if) these businesses paid the same taxes to the county as other businesses.  He raised concerns that the creation of  this new zoning classification could create an uneven playing field and harm existing businesses in Greene (including his own).  While to some many of his comments may have seemed self serving, his questions were valid.

The hearing was then opened up to the public and the only speaker was David Holtzman, Land Use Field Office for the Piedmont Environmental Council . He had several questions for the PC, including why does the unit have to vacate daily, the space allowed, and music/sound levels.

The hearing then moved to the discussion within the Planning Commission. Chairman Jay Willer confirmed that a vendor must get a zoning permit and there should be a verification process that the vendor has a Greene County business license.

As to the collection of taxes, Svobada stated that the Commissioner of Revenue is responsible for collection of taxes from businesses in Greene County. As for the need to have the unit move daily, Svoboda stated that units have limited capacity and need to be serviced daily. And if they didn’t move daily, they would be considered a permanent structure.

Willer recapped the issues that the Planning Commission had agreed on. Svoboda asked if the Commission would want to approve with the agreed to changes, deny the request or defer the request and have a revised request come back to them at the next meeting. The Commission agreed to defer the request to allow Svoboda to present an updated request at next August’s meeting.

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

Photo Credit: Vintage Virginia and Respective Food Trucks

Fluvanna To Consider New Fees and Taxes

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

Fluvanna County’s Board of Supervisors only have two main options when it comes to revenue to fill the budget: personal property or real estate taxes.

Wednesday night (3/7) the Board looked at additional options for revenue.

“We are a two trick county: real estate and personal property [taxes],” said Steve Nichols, county administrator.

Staff recommended the board further research and look to implement business, professional and occupational licenses (BPOL) fee and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) revenue recovery. Further more, staff recommended examining a meals tax.

BPOL fee would be a flat charge yearly to every business in the county. A BPOL tax would be based on a percentage of business revenue but was not thought to be the best to implement for the county.

Ullenbruch - Nov 2012 Web

Fluvanna Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch

“Is [BPOL fee] worth the pain you go through?” said Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District).

Ullenbruch said it would cause a lot of uproar with businesses and would only generate minimal amount of revenue.

Nelson County County charges $30 a business per year. It generates $32,610 per year. Some counties chose to implement both a fee and a tax but Fluvanna looks to explore the fee only.

“it is perfectly understandable a business doesn’t want to pay a tax,” said Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District).

The EMS recovery option would potentially generate around $500,000 a year. Louisa, who takes more than twice as many calls as Fluvanna, brings in $966,710 in FY13.

The revenue recovery would bring in more than the county currently pays to operate emergency services. It could help pay for things like equipment or part-time staffing.

The plan would be ‘compassionate billing’ which would institute a way for those who showed an inability to pay, the possibility to have the charge removed.

Of the nine counties in the surrounding area, all have revenue recovery except Cumberland.

Staff also recommended supervisors finalize a proffer guidance document and review why some current fees the county collects are significantly lower than its peers.

One idea with additional revenue is to help supplant the current personal property tax. Fluvanna charges $4.15 per $100 assessed. Louisa charges $1.90.

Every nickel of Fluvanna’s personal property tax is $86,000 of revenue.

Measures like fees could be implemented for FY16. A meals tax would require a referendum and counties have had trouble passing such a measure. Currently Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange have a 4 percent meals tax.

Staff is expected to give more information on the items the board have agreed to further examine later this year.

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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.

Photo Credit: Fluvanna County

Fluvanna Supervisors Pass 22% Higher 2015 Budget Without Drama

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

Much like the rest of the budget process, the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors passed the 2015 fiscal year budget in quick order and without much fanfare on April 16.

The budget process was full of short discussion and few residents in attendance and the passing of the budget to finish the familiar script.

One person spoke in favor during the first public comment session. Then without any discussion from the board, Mike Sheridan (Columbia District) moved to pass the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) seconded.

Chairwoman Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) voted with Sheridan and O’Brien to pass the CIP on a 3-2.

The tax rate and budget was moved by O’Brien and seconded by Sheridan. Again, Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) and Don Weaver (Cunningham District) voted against the measure but Booker joined the majority in a 3-2 vote.

The budget is 22 percent higher than last year but the extra money comes some from increase tax revenue but includes $12.5 million of debt service for the CIP.

The real estate tax rate increases from $0.795 to $0.88 per $100 assessed. The increase in revenue will help pay for the CIP, debt service incurred previously, public safety, information technology and the school system.

The School Board will receive $1.5 million over FY14 budget. It is anticipated the Board of Supervisors will also have to contribute an estimated $200,000 to $250,000 to fill a hole in the FY14 budget because of over anticipated average daily membership. Overestimating the ADM miscalculates the state contribution to the local budget.

The CIP is for five years but the supervisors only commit to paying for the current fiscal year. The FY15 budget will borrow $12.5 billion for items like a Zion Crossroads water project, James River Water Authority construction costs, renovations to the middle school and emergency service vehicle work.

The largest item on ‘out years’ is still the ‘multigenerational center’ that has been discussed in the CIP since at least 2009. It is placed in FY18 for $2.6 million.

The supervisors will work on alternative revenue sources at the next work session on May 7. The alternative ‘revenue’ are various taxes and fees the county currently does not collect such as business/professional/occupational licenses, meals tax, revenue recovery of emergency services and other charges.

Also at the April 16 meeting, supervisors opted to allow the state to handle the stormwater management program for the county and heard updates from the procurement department, planning department on 2013 development activity and compensation of various boards, commissions and committees.

The next supervisor meeting is May 7 at 4 p.m. followed by the revenue work session.

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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.

Fluvanna Passes Budget and CIP

By. Bryan Rothamel

PALMYRA – The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors passed the 2014 fiscal year budget and associated tax rates unanimously during the April 17 meeting.

The budget had minimal changes from the advertised budget. The tax rates did not change from advertised amounts, with the real property tax rate at $0.795 per $100 assessed and personal property tax at $4.15 per $100 assessed.

Mozell Booker“I love this budget,” said Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) after the meeting. “We put in some things that we took out last year and the schools are in a better position. I loved the whole budget process, the way it was organized, the way it was presented. And we got a 5-0 on the tax rate.”

The minor changes to the budget were increased funding for the Fluvanna-Louisa Foundation and Jefferson Area Board of Aging. These two changes came from other budget lines but totaled $17,000 of changes.

Notable budget items include $13.75 million for the school district, educational supplements for deputies and structured pay increases for county employees who are currently paid less than market value.

kenney_200px“It was a win-win situation for everybody involved: for schools, for deputies, for staff. Those are the best sorts of budgets. I think that’s why we had such smooth sailing this time around,” said chairman Shaun Kenney (Columbia District).

The FY2014 budget is for $65,312,998. The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), included in the total budget figure, has $3,834,662 worth of projects for FY2014.

The CIP caused more discussion than the budget. Don Weaver (Cunningham District) did not like the inclusion of a $20 million new elementary school for FY2018. The supervisors only commit to fund items in the FY14 column unless an item stretches from FY14 into following years. The other years were described as ‘hopeful’, ‘dreams’ and ‘planned for’.

Bob Ullenbruch agreed with Weaver’s dissension on the elementary school.

Weaver said he would prefer the School Board raise the issue instead of the Board of Supervisors just including an item from very basic discussions. Weaver hoped in the next nine months the School Board would have a better idea of student enrollment, projections and usage of current facilities including the pending closures of Columbia and Cunningham elementary schools.

The CIP for FY14 includes $575,000 for construction of a Zion Crossroad water and sewer system with another $3.1 million in FY15 and $975,000 in FY16. All three years are slated to be paid for by cash, with the first year coming from the Fund Balance instead of operating expenses.

Also in the plan are a groundwater study and adding a water source to the Fork Union Sanitary Department system. The plan also includes replacing an emergency services apparatus.

The CIP has $1.26 million of spending on school projects including new buses, implementation of a new financial system the county finance department uses, renovations to Carysbrook Elementary School and information technology like server virtualization and internet equipment upgrades.

The CIP was adjusted to take school flooring replacement and playground equipment upgrades out of the FY14 year. The supervisors will vote at the next meeting to pay for those items, totaling $150,000, from the FY13 budget. This will allow the school district to award a contract and begin work sooner in order to give proper time before school resumes this August.

The CIP passed 3-2 with Weaver and Ullenbruch voting against it. Weaver announced before the vote his vote against was a protest vote of the FY18 elementary school line.

The first tax bill to include the new tax rates will be due June 5. The FY14 calendar year begins July 1, 2013.

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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.

bryan-rothamel

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.  He is the founder of the Fluco Blog.  Additional writings can be found at www.Flucoblog.com