Tag Archives: water supply

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

Greene Supervisors Agree To Communicate Better

By Brent Wilson, Field Officer

At the November 8th Greene County Board of Supervisors the agenda contained a “General discussion of White Run Reservoir Project”. Normally the supervisors take actions or receive reports – a simple discussion is not the norm but it proved quite effective.

Vice Chair Michelle Flynn (Ruckersville) began the discussion stating that information regarding the Reservoir Project reported on social media that is not entirely accurate. The fact that the reservoir project  has been going on for 8 years has made it difficult, especially for new residents of Greene County, to keep up with project in terms of what has happened, why, what needs to happen and at what cost.

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 Michelle Flynn

While true that each meeting is available on line on the county website, Flynn explained that there is no one place to get an overview of the project.

Supervisor Dale Herring (At-Large) agreed that it is hard to understand how the White Run site chosen.  He agreed that there needs to be a summary of the project that highlights each step of the process.

clip_image004Supervisor Jim Frydl (Midway) suggested a narrative to summarize the project is needed and volunteered to do the draft of the document since he has been the supervisor who has dealt with the project from the beginning.

The general discussion evolved into how Greene County got to the point of needing a reservoir. According to Frydl, many rural communities haven’t invested in water resource and therefore water rates are artificially low and don’t pay for the operating costs let alone provide funds to expand their system. Even grants that are pursued say that Greene County needs to charge market rates for water.

Frydl continued to explain that the county is required to meet a 50 year supply plan as required by the Army Corps of Engineers. The first site reviewed was that of Carroll Morris’ property on Route 33 but the soil was not good for the dam. This led Greene to pursue the second choice which is the White Water location.

The cost of the project has been a topic of discussion for some time.  The cost is to be passed on via a rate increase for water and an increase in personal property tax that is to be done incrementally over time. Recently, there were reports of a robo-call indicating the Supervisors would vote on a tax increase at the November 8th meeting.  Such a vote was not scheduled and did not occur.

There is still much work on the project to be done – designs are yet to be completed, the dam layout has to be determined, once the specifications are submitted, cost estimates can be developed and the exact funding mechanisms will be determined.

Flynn felt that the uncertainty in the community supports the need for a summary to the public of what has been done and what has to been done. Herring agreed there is a lot of material related to the project over the years that needs to be summarized into a presentation to allow the whole history of the project to be understood.

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 Bill Martin

Chairman Bill Martin (Stanardsville) stated that the public wants to know how they will be forced to pay for the water supply. Martin felt that the Supervisors need to communicate better and pledged to be transparent in the process. He proposed a town hall meeting to review the history of the project and remind the citizens of Greene of the drought when the county nearly ran out of water.

Frydl indicated that doing a summary of the project would help citizens more easily understand what has happened to date. Martin thought that more needs to be done especially with the starting of live streaming of Supervisor meetings in December.

Martin asked for input from County Administrator John Barkley. He appreciates that the Board seems to be unified in wanting to provide easily understood information on the project. And while all of the information is available over the eight years of Supervisor meeting minutes, it is very time consuming to gather all of the information over the years.

Barkley recommended summarizing the history of the project and carrying forward the actions required to design, build, maintain the water supply. Frydl agreed with Barkley and reconfirmed that the dam is needed since the current water supply cannot handle new large users and thus significantly restricts the economic growth of Greene County.

Martin asked Barkley to look at a town hall meeting with the consultants once we are comfortable with the time line on the remaining tasks. Frydl offered to do an outline and to work with Barkley to develop a presentation for the public.

It is hoped that the summary would cover all the decision points over the project to date and link back to each meeting where the issue was discussed so that citizens could easily get the details of any particular issue. In addition, the tasks yet to be done with approximate times and cost should be estimated and updated as the project moves forward.

Live streaming of the Supervisor meetings start in December as a new way to get information out to the public.

In the end, the Board of Supervisors heard the concerns from the citizens of Greene County and the board is going to communicate better.

It sounds like how the system should work.

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

SE Rural Community Assistance Project addresses Greene BOS

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

Greene County is in the process of building a municipal water impoundment to provide water to the residents of the county. However, not all residents are served by the public water system.  Others are on well and septic  but some don’t have access to water at all. Randolph Phillips of the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc. http://southeastrcap.org/ addressed Greene’s Board of Supervisors last Tuesday to present their services.

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Randolph Phillips

Phillips explained that SERCAP has existed in Virginia for over 40 years with a mission to improve the quality of life of low income families to help them become self-sufficient and gain their independence. SERCAP has a staff of 25 and he specializes in housing and partners with many federal agencies such as Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), etc. Phillips also works with home inspections and redevelopment grants for low income families.

imageSERCAP helps homes acquire safe drinking water and indoor plumbing by drilling new wells and installing septic systems.  Supervisor Jim Frydl (Midway District) asked if any work has been done in Greene County? Phillips said that none has been done so far but it has been done in surrounding counties.

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James Howard

Frydl pointed out to Phillips that Greene’s Social Services Director, James Howard, was in the audience and asked if Phillips would speak with him after the meeting to coordinate the use of his service in Greene County. Supervisor Michele Flynn (Ruckersville District) confirmed that there are some Greene County citizens that do not have running water.

Phillips went on to explain that the only requirements to use the services are you must own your home and your income must be below the minimum level. Another service that SERCAP provides is “aging in place”, where home are modified to install a ramp for a wheel chair, widen doorways to permit wheel chairs, install grab bars in bathrooms, and other safety improvements.

Chairman Bill Martin (Stanardsville District) asked Phillips who provides the funding for SERCAP. Mr. Phillips said that funding comes from a variety of sources such including state and federal agencies. Martin thanked Phillips for presenting the information to the Board and hoped that Greene can take advantage of SERCAP services.

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

Photo Credits: Southeast CAP, Greene County 

Fluvanna Supervisors Wrap 2015

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors got in its last minute items in a long meeting on December 16.

Three residents spoke during public comments regarding the Special Use Permits of the James River Water Authority (JRWA)  intake and a Louisa County owned water line that failed to pass. In an unusual move, chairperson Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) wanted to immediately address the comments.

One issue was raised because the supervisors had on their agenda to vote to ‘ratify’ the November 20 vote on the addendum to the interjurisdictional agreement. That controversial vote was 2-1 with Don Weaver (Cunningham District) dissenting, Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) not present and Mike Sheridan (Columbia District) recused.

Fred Payne, the county attorney, felt a vote on December 16 was not necessary to ratify the previous action. His reasoning is all parties to the contract had agreed to the addendum so Fluvanna was bound to it regardless of if the ratification occurred.

Booker  said the decision to include it was to show the public the supervisors felt it was a correct action because some residents questioned if the vote was legal.

“[Ratifying the vote] would eliminate one possible argument,” Payne agreed.

Ullenbruch2014Vice chairman Ullenbruch wanted to vote on ratification because he felt he lost something by the November 20 vote.

“I thought my voice was taken away by that,” said Ullenbruch. He said had he known it would be on the agenda, it would’ve been a different situation.

Supervisors passed the ratification 3-1 with Weaver  still dissenting. Sheridan is currently not at board meetings for health reasons.

Weaver protested even having the vote because it found it odd the supervisors would vote on something they already voted on. He said it was confusing. He did agree the addendum was favorable for the county and commended Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) for working on it.

“You got more consideration than we would have had if we just approved [the previous agreement],” Weaver said to O’Brien.

Supervisors also approved more ordinance changes that brought county laws into agreement with state and federal changes. One was the sign ordinance.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled in Reed v. Town of Gilbert that government couldn’t restrict signs based on content without strict scrutiny. Fluvanna had restricted political signs differently than other temporary signs.

The new changes to the ordinance now eliminate the political signs subset and all temporary signs are held to the same standard. Temporary signs can only be displayed 60 days prior to the event and 10 days after.

This change actually does not extend the limit on political signs but on temporary signs. In Fluvanna, political signs had 60 days but temporary signs only had 30 days prior to the event. They both had 10 days after the event.

Also, in seemingly direct violation of the Reed decision,  the state passed a law requiring the localities to issue permits for ‘going out of business sales.’ The reasoning was the permitting eliminated businesses to have ‘going out of business sales’ repetitively. The state wants only businesses really closing to have such sales.

The county has to issue permits for these sales now and never previously had an ordinance addressing it. The fee for permit is $50. It was proposed at $65.

Supervisors also received the FY2015 comprehensive annual financial report. The audit gave the highest marks possible.

Ullenbruch was honored for his service on the board the past four years. His familiar line of ‘do your job’ was listed on his going away cake. At the start of the meeting he received a plaque. He said it would be hard to walk away.

“I say a lot of stuff and you know I don’t mean 97 percent of it. I love you all,” Ullenbruch said directly to county staff. He said over the last four years the staff has made the county better.

The next supervisor meeting is January 6 at 4 p.m. It will be the first meeting for supervisor-elect Patricia Eager. She fills Ullenbruch’s Palmyra seat. At the first meeting of the year, supervisors will elect a chairperson, vice chairperson and set meeting dates and times.

2016 will mark the first time in four years Ullenbruch will not be the vice chairman.

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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 Split on Future Community Water Supply

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors ended two water related votes in a tie on Dec. 2.

The supervisors had only four members because Mike Sheridan (Columbia District) is taking a leave of absence at the direction of his doctor due to a medical condition. He hopes to return by March 2016, if not sooner.

The first measure was for the James River Water Authority (JRWA) to construct a water intake facility on the Point of Fork, near Columbia. The Point of Fork is where the Rivanna River connects into the James River. The JRWA is a joint endeavor with Louisa County.

Fluvanna entered into an inter-jurisdictional agreement with Louisa in 2013. A condition of that agreement was Fluvanna would pass the necessary zoning requirements to see the intake was able to be constructed. The cost of the intake to the county is estimated at the high end to be $5 million, $10 million total between the counties.

Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) moved to approve the special use permit to allow construction of the intake facility. Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) seconded. The vote was tied 2-2 with chairperson Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) joining O’Brien to approve the permit, and Don Weaver (Cunningham District) dissenting with Ullenbruch.

A motion to deny was never offered.

The public hearing for the JRWA permit was at times heated. In total, 21 people spoke with 11 urging the board to deny it. Seven people spoke for approval and three offered no position either way.

Bobbi Seay, an resident who’s property will house the facility, gave a passionate speech on the history of the Point of Fork. She ended, “You’ll never put it back to the way it was [once construction starts].”

Katy Clossin said in favor of the permit, “We are so close [to passing it]. I’d hate to see it fail at this point.”

The supervisors also had heated discussion, especially from O’Brien who asked many questions to the county’s staff to help his cause for the permit passing.

“If you want to condemn this county to no growth, to less services, let’s vote no on this,” said O’Brien.

The county’s economic director, Bobby Popowicz, told the board the county could have applied for 14 projects over the past two years. One included a brewery that was looking for raw land. He said even the 75,000 gallon treated water from the Department of Corrections would have allowed him to seek that project.

Weaver was not sold on more debt that the county would be on the hook for after approving the facility. “It’s not my money. I should be frugal with it,” said Weaver.

Booker looked at the project as a step towards greater economic development of the county. “Now we have an opportunity to move forward,” said the chairperson.

O’Brien asked county attorney Fred Payne if the inter-jurisdictional agreement the county approved in 2013 left Louisa with any legal remedies if Fluvanna did not approve the permit.

“Do we have an obligation? In my opinion, we do have an obligation,” said Payne.

He later continued, “When you entered into this contract, that ship left the harbor.”

The second permit, one for Louisa County Water Authority to build a raw water line from the JRWA facility to Ferncliff suffered the same fate as the first SUP. However, that vote came after a motion failed to get a second. O’Brien called for a vote without a second because Ullenbruch and Weaver wouldn’t second his motion to approve.

The board had little discussion after 10 residents spoke at the public hearing, six in favor, three against and one took no position.

O’Brien did say before his motion, “We have no grounds to deny this motion.”

Now the special use permits sit in limbo. One explanation of the state of the SUPs was the Board of Supervisors, and only the board, could bring the motions up for reconsideration if it chooses.

That would then be similar to how the Aqua deal was passed in 2013. That item was never denied and later was approved when it was brought back up for a vote during unfinished business at a subsequent meeting. The Aqua deal later never materialized as Aqua and Fluvanna could never agree on a final deal.

The supervisors last scheduled meeting of the year is Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. It will be Ullenbruch’s last meeting. In 2016 he will be replaced by Patricia Eager.

Eager currently serves on the Planning Commission, representing the Palmyra District. She was the only commissioner to recommend denial of both permits. They both were recommended on a 4-1 vote.

Sheridan could return from his leave and vote for the JRWA SUP but he has recused himself from the LCWA discussion. The LCWA pipeline runs through his land and he would financially gain from its approval. After counsel with the county attorney, he recused.

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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 Supervisors Advance ZXR Water Design

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

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Fluvanna Supervisor Mike Sheridan

Before the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors could even get into the heart of its three and a half hour meeting, Mike Sheridan recused himself from any discussion on the Louisa County Water Authority (LCWA) special use permit request.

Sheridan (Columbia District), along with consultation of the county attorney, found he has a conflict of interest because the SUP requests would affect his own land. He would get a financial gain from approving the permit.

Sheridan read a prepared statement, addressed to the chairperson Mozell Booker (Fork Union District). The statement says the raw water line to be constructed between Columbia and Ferncliff by LCWA would be partially located on property he owns. The county attorney advised Sheridan this ‘probably gives’ him a personal interest in the board’s consideration of the permit.

“He further advised me, that while my interest may fall within one of the exemptions provided by law, the better practice would be for me to disqualify myself from participating in the board’s consideration of the special use permit,” Sheridan’s statement reads.

From now on, he will not vote or act in any manner on behalf of the board. He will also not attend any portion of a closed meeting authorized by the Virginia Freedom of Information Act when the permit is discussed. Finally, he will not discuss the permit application with any other government officers or employees at any time.

He requested his statement be recorded in the county’s public records.

The LCWA special use permit is scheduled to be heard in public hearing on Dec. 2 in a special session. Also expected to be heard that day is the James River Water Authority (JRWA) intake request.

The two are separate projects but linked together. Without the JRWA intake, the LCWA pipeline would be a pipe from nowhere.

The Board of Supervisors also approved the design of a Zion Crossroads water and sewer system in their November 4th meeting.  This action starts the clock on moving to the final step of constructing such a system but  it didn’t come without controversy.

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Fluvanna Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch

Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) raised concern the system is expected to cost over $7 million while the ROI that was commissioned a few years ago was based on a $5 million system.  It also concerned Don Weaver (Cunningham District) the system would be built at once, weighing on tax payers while waiting for a return.  “We have limited our ability [before] by the debt we have taken on [in the past],” said Weaver.

Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) countered that without spending the money on the system, the county will never get a chance to lower real estate tax rates; no businesses are coming without a water system.
“There is only one location we can maximize our economic engine,” said O’Brien.

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Fluvanna Board of Supervisors Chairperson Mozell Booker

Chairperson Booker agreed with O’Brien.  “We have an example right across from us,” said Booker about Louisa’s economic development.

Ullenbruch said if the county spends about $500,000 designing the water system, there is no turning back. Booker said she hopes there is not turning back.
The supervisors approved a contract with Dewberry Engineering to design the water and sewer system on a 3-2 vote (Weaver and Ullenbruch). The contract costs $430,000 and will be paid for by CIP funds approved two years ago.

Supervisors also approved $35,000 to purchase a new vehicle for the crime scene investigator. He currently uses a seven year old sedan. The supervisors voted to buy a F150 pick up truck. “If you don’t have the tools, you don’t have the equipment, you can’t do a professional job,” said Ullenbruch.

Weaver raised concern this was being done out of the budget calendar, something he and Ullenbruch often complain against. He said it was not fair to items other departments might need but wait for budget season to present.

“If it comes through the budget, I might be able to approve it but not under these circumstances,” said Weaver.

Ullenbruch, who champions public safety, said, “It is a small price to pay to get the job done right.”  Weaver dissented in the 4-1 vote.

The board ratified a previous vote to give raises for employees who earned licensures, degrees or certifications after hire. There were some minor changes and discussion about requiring the degree to be in a related field.

Steve Nichols, county administrator, said it made the program much too complicated to include a requirement to be in a related field.  He said the core requirements of any additional education will help employees be better workers. Requiring related field put undue burdens on department heads and him to make a decision to grant the raise or not.  “The amount of appreciation we will see from our employees…we can’t replace that,” said Sheridan.

The ratification of the pay raise program was unanimous. Originally, Weaver and Ullenbruch voted it down.

Supervisors ended the meeting with seven presentations. A highlight of the seven was a Fork Union Sanitary District (FUSD) rate structure.  FUSD will need rate increases and might even need a district wide tax to stay in the black.

With modest rate increases and a few capital improvement projects, the system could pay the county back all of its owed $118,000 by the end of FY26. It is currently FY16.  By end FY28, the system could pay off its other debt.

The Fluvanna Historical Society is raising money to build a farm heritage museum at Pleasant Grove. The museum is mostly being built from non-county money but would be operated by the county once complete.  The historical society asked the county to give $15,000 this year to help complete fundraising. The supervisors originally planned to give $10,000 next year.

Of note from Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Route 53 has been given grant money to improve the roadway. The department will start advertising to expand the right of way along the entire road to put in rumble strips on the sides. It will be a multiyear project.

The supervisors next meeting  is on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.

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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 Credits: Fluvanna County

Fluvanna BOS Approves Colonial Circle and Bails Out FUSD, Again

By Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

What was once thought to be a long meeting went rather quickly as the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors deferred two public hearings on Oct. 21.

Supervisors did approved a 21-acre commercial development at the corner of Route 53 and Lake Monticello Road.

The property is across Lake Monticello Road from Effort Baptist Church. The intersection had planned Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) improvements of putting a turn lane on Route 53, however recently the focus has shifted to putting in a roundabout to further improve safety issues.

The development, called Colonial Circle, will help make the roundabout happen. The owner proffered the right away for the road improvement. The county can then donate the land to VDOT and it would be considered a county match to VDOT funds.

Colonial Circle map

The owner further proffered commercial space would be limited to 20,000 square feet until the roundabout was built.

Bob Ullenburch (Palmyra District) asked if the intersection is bad now, would a new development make it worse. Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) calmed his concerns saying he felt the commercial spaces wouldn’t attract destination shoppers but residents who already use the roadways.

“I think it is a tremendous project here,” said Don Weaver (Cunningham District).

The supervisors also voted unanimously to loan another $9,000 to the Fork Union Sanitary District (FUSD). It wasn’t without concern from Weaver.

FUSD has continually borrowed money from the county and continually not repaid the debt. FUSD loans over the year are: $40,000 in 2010, $30,000 in 2013, $39,000 in 2014 and now $9,000 in 2015. In total, FUSD owes $118,000 to the county.

“When will we (FUSD) get on our feet? I don’t know, but we will in the future,” said chairwoman Mozell Booker (Fork Union District).

Last year, the supervisors raised the rates of FUSD to help repay the money. This past year the water system had increased revenues but unexpected capital expenses have sunk profits.

“It is going to take time. That’s reality,” said Booker.

Weaver responded, “That’s what bothers me; that is the reality.”

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Fluvanna Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch

Ullenbruch countered that staff warned the first year projected revenues would be lower because higher rates lower customer usage early on. Then over time, customers will start using at previous levels.

“If we expected to break even [this year], this is on us,” said Ullenbruch. He also noted the supervisors didn’t pick the highest rate increase that would’ve recouped the funds quicker.

The expected James River Water Authority (JRWA)  public hearings were deferred, without consideration. Those deferments turned the expected marathon meeting into what felt like just a short jog.

The JRWA opposition is mounting, especially in the eastern part of the county. The intake facility is proposed near Columbia. From there Louisa County Water Authority would construct a pipeline along the eastern border to bring water to the Ferncliff area in Louisa County.

The public hearings are expected to be held on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. during a special meeting.

The next scheduled meeting is Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. At that meeting there may be a water infrastructure work session. While the Zion Crossroads water project was originally projected to be formally presented in October, that clearly has been delayed.

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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 Sets Comprehensive Plan

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

Fluvanna County has finished its five year update to its Comprehensive Plan.  Notable changes include goals and possible future implementations. It all circles around where the county wants development.

The major focus for the next five years is development of Zion Crossroads and keeping rural areas outside of that area undeveloped.
The Palmyra Community Planning Area (CPA) shrunk with a focus to keep Palmyra village-like. The Zion Crossroads CPA expanded to include all of Route 250 from the Albemarle border and less east of the Route 250 and Route 15 intersection.

Previously Fluvanna implemented a newer zoning type, planned unit development (PUD), but still does not have an approved PUD. A PUD is mixed use and is its own zoning for the land in question. The land could have commercial next to residential with varying densities.

The 2015 update to the Comprenhensive Plan tasks the planning department to eliminate PUDs outside of the newly expanded Zion Crossroads CPA by 2016.

In 2014, Walker’s Ridge was a proposed PUD that was defeated. Two reasons it faced heavy opposition was because its location, just north of Palmyra village, and it lacked water infrastructure. It was to use community wells and mass drain fields. Its second iteration, Poplar Ridge, was approved as a zoning amendment to its R-3 zoning.
Water is on its way to Zion Crossroads, at least plans for it are on their way. County Administration staff is currently negotiating a final design and construction contract to build a water and sewer system for the CPA.  It is expected that contract will be presented to the Board of Supervisors in closed session in early October with a recommendation in public session on October 21. That would be the earliest for the supervisors to vote on it. Funding will have to be discussed.

Iif final design and approval are completed by spring 2016, construction all 2017, a functioning water system could be ready by mid-2018. That is a best case, fast tracked scenario. There are a lot of dominoes that would have to fall perfectly in place, on time for that to occur.

Once water is in, the county anticipates development to come next. With that, the county might implement more zoning options including floating zoning and hybrid zoning.

Floating zoning is overlaid on current zoning but is not attached to the land. If an applicant wants that zoning, an application and approval then brings that zoning ‘down to earth’. It still sets standards for the land but needs to be still be approved before the land is officially zoned.

Hybrid zoning allows land to be zoned two types, simultaneously. Something zoned C/I (commercial and industrial) has all the rights of B-1 and I-1 — any of those uses are permitted.  This is helpful in area with high traffic and needing to be very flexible. A warehouse could have its industrial uses but also set up a showroom for customers without needing more permits.

Also at the September 16 meeting the supervisors authorized purchased of a new ladder truck. It replaces a truck Lake Monticello Fire Department uses that was aged before the county started using it. The cost the county is covering, up to $50,000, is the same estimated amount the old truck needed in repairs to be better functioning and safe.

Supervisors also approved another landscaping business in the Zion Crossroads CPA. This type of business is low water usage and the supervisors have now approved a few in the past 18 months.

The county will pay two employees who provide surveying during regular business hours. Using the employees and paying them above their regular pay is much cheaper than contracting an outside surveying company.

Fluvanna Supervisors next meet on October 7 at 4 p.m.

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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

Greene Supervisors Discuss Revisiting EDU Decisions

By. Brent Wilson Field Officer

Greene County received a request to be able to transfer an EDU that has already been purchased to another piece of property. This request lead to an agenda item at their August 25th meeting to discuss the EDU Purchase Policy for water and sewer systems.

Chairman David Cox, Monroe District, asked County Administrator John Barkley to outline the evolution of the current policy.

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Greene County Administrator John Barkley

Per Barkley, last year Supervisor Davis Lamb, Ruckersville District, and a small group surveyed other localities fee structures vs. Greene County’s current fee of $10,000 per EDU (Equivalent Dwelling Unit). The current policy prohibits EDU’s to be transferred from one property to another. Policies can be changed – it is up to the Board to determine if it is fair or not and is it fair to treat large and small accounts the same?

2008 was the last increase up to $10,000 per EDU – one for water and another for sewer. The original cost in 2005 was $4,200 per 200 gallons/minute and it has increased 3 more times up to the $10,000 level in 2008.

Lamb said that he has received a request to transfer an already purchased EDUs to another property.

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Supervisor Davis Lamb

He mentioned one of the committee members last year stated that allowing EDUs to be transferred would allow more flexibility. Economic times are hard and he supports allowing EDUs to be transferred to help stimulate growth in the county.

Supervisor Eddie Deane, At Large, remembered that the Board had allowed the transfer of three EDUs in the past. Supervisor Jim Frydl, Midway District, explained that RSA had allowed the transfer in error and the Board of Supervisors agreed to honor the transfer – one time only. Deane stated that he felt allowing the transfer of EDUs would be very business friendly for Greene County. He further stated that we are in a recession and struggling to attract business. Allowing the transfer would be beneficial to attracting businesses to Greene County.

Lamb indicated that developers pay $20,000 per home for EDU’s in Greene County. Supervisor Bill Martin, Stanardsville District asked Lamb if he is asking for a one time exception or a change to the policy? Lamb indicated that he proposes changing the policy due to the slowdown in the economy. Martin also brought up the fact that the county has sold far fewer EDUs than hoped and Greene is incurring a deficit each year of nearly $2 million due to this.

Cox proposed a workshop to review the current policy. Frydl clarified that the workshop would review the total financial impact of changing the EDU policy. Deane agreed that it is time to revisit the EDU policy to see what makes sense.

After the meeting Alan Yost, Director of the EDA, was asked his opinion and he felt that the EDU policy needs to be looked at to see what supports business.

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

Is Fluvanna Ready To Turn On The ZXR Spigot?

By Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

After debating the issue for decades, Fluvanna County is onewater bib step closer to providing water in the Zion Crossroads area.

The Board of Supervisors previously put aside $575,000 in a Capital Improvement Plan to develop a water system for Zion Crossroads (ZXR) planning area. The county spent about $45,000 for the water infrastructure report from RK&K.

On March 4 the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to pursue two ZXR water related items, Don Weaver (Cunningham District) and Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) dissented.

From the RK&K report, the supervisors voted to implement short-term recommendations. The recommendations are designing a water and sewer system starting from the Department of Corrections facility on Route 250, going east to the Route 15 intersection, then back towards Palmyra for a mile. The design should include phasing to show possible cost-benefits.

Supervisors also directed staff to develop how the public works system would operate.

“We need to move forward,” said chairwoman Mozell Booker (Fork Union District).

The vote was in doubt for much of the debate. Ullenbruch, who vocally supported the system during the last two work sessions where RK&K presented. During the debate he advocated waiting until the budget and tax rate was more predictable than what was advertised.

His issue resided over how the system will be paid for. Supervisors later will have to formally decide how to pay for a water system.

It is estimated the system will cost $8 million. With it being financed, it will increase debt service by $655,000 a year, on a 10-year average.

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Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch

“I want to see where we are at in FY16 budget before I can move [over two cents for FY17’s budget],” said Ullenbruch. “The probability of me being here (next year) is 50/50, in my mind. I don’t want to do that [to someone else].”

Weaver also raised issue with the county’s debt load and corresponding tax rate.

“We are at 93.5 cents (advertised real estate tax rate) now? We are going to add to that [for next year]? Is that what that this board wants to do?” said Weaver.

“If we want to get out of increasing tax rates, then we need to invest,” said Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District).

When the debate prolonged into potentially delaying a vote on it, O’Brien questioned if shaving the advertised tax rate this year or not really matters.

“If three of us believe this is a losing proposition, let’s just stop right now,” said O’Brien.

Weaver again invoked the debt the county currently burdens, all of which has happened with him on the board but most, especially the high school debt, did not involve his voting support.

O’Brien questioned when supervisors, including Weaver, ever put aside money to plan for the construction that occurred. He asked how the board planned to replace an aging high school without financing it. He concluded the only plan was to finance.

“When did you vote to put aside money for the new high school?” said O’Brien.

Booker, fearing the board would again not vote on ZXR water, said, “You all are backing up again.”

O’Brien made the motion and Mike Sheridan (Columbia District) seconded it. The design should be completed within the next three to four months.

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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 Credit(s): Fluvanna County