Fluvanna Review

Mozell Booker and Bob Ullenbruch at a Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors meeting. Photo by Tricia JohnsonMozell Booker, chair of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors, confirmed to the Fluvanna Review this morning (April 20) that she will run for re-election in her Fork Union district this November.
Current Palmyra Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch confirmed that he is not running for re-election so the running field is wide open.
“My main reason is preparation for the future,” Booker said of her re-election plans.  “I got on the Board eight years ago to prepare for infrastructure, and I think we are at the point now where it is pretty evident we are going in that direction.
“In order to finance our core services for our community we must get some economic development up there at Zion Crossroads,” she continued.“And not only there – we need to have a plan for water in all of the growth areas.  Once we can see that we’re on our way with water from the James River, and when we decide on the Department of Corrections, whether we’re going to do water or just do sewer, then we need to start planning for how we’re going to get that water from Columbia up Rt. 6 to Dixie so that we can start moving the water into other areas.  We need to have a plan, and we are working on one.”
Ultimately Booker wants to lower taxes for Fluvanna homeowners.  “I can’t promise that because before we get there [with businesses shouldering more of the burden] we may have to go up a little bit.  But that is the long-term objective, to try to get a sustained tax rate for people so we aren’t jerking them around every time we turn around.”
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Rascal was reunited with Jacob Collier.  Photo by www.jaltieriphotography.comA group of local animal advocates are using the extended reach of social media to help reunite lost pets with their families.
According to a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association, 63 percent of Americans consider their pets to be family members. One Palmyra woman, Debbie Kavanaugh, who has volunteered with many animal rescues in Fluvanna, has set up the Facebook Page “Lost and Found Pets Fluvanna Virginia” to help families of lost pets recover their dogs and cats.
“I started the page a little under two years ago after scrolling around the Lost and Found Dogs Virginia page,” said Kavanaugh. “I felt if I refined it to just my own county the success rate for reunions would be higher.”
Kavanaugh is motivated by her compassion for people and animals. “My heart goes out to families that are sick with worry over their missing pets,” she explained.
“The page has surpassed any expectation…it now has over 850 avid and fierce animal lovers, who seem ready and willing to help,” said Kavanaugh. When asked if she had a favorite reunion story, her answer was swift, “No - any day a pet is reunited with its family is a memorable and great day!” she said. “The page has had dogs, cats, parakeets, horses and even a chicken lost or found,” Kavanaugh said.
Nicole Crandall of Palmyra and her sixth grade son Jacob Collier know all too well the fear and anxiety experienced when a beloved pet is missing. They adopted “Rascal,” a black Labrador retriever mix, from local animal rescue Green Dogs Unleashed. Crandall and Collier were dog sitting for friends; the visiting dog, along with Rascal, figured out how to open the sliding screen door and went off on an adventure. The visiting dog was recovered right away, but Rascal proved more elusive. Although she was, thankfully, safely recovered, Rascal was missing for five days.
Word that Rascal was missing spread through social media, including the Lost and Found Pets Fluvanna page as well as the Lake Monticello Facebook page, and the community mobilized to help.
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Illustration by Lynn Stayton-EurellIn 2014 Fluvanna County’s real estate tax rate climbed to second-highest in the area. This dubious fact has caused no small amount of consternation among Fluvanna residents who decry having a tax rate second only to Charlottesville’s.

But the tax rate is only one piece of the puzzle. The other piece is property values. After all, real estate tax is calculated by multiplying the tax rate by the value of a piece of property. So how does a Fluvanna resident’s overall real estate tax burden compare to those of people in surrounding counties?

Tax rates
Fluvanna, eight surrounding counties, and the City of Charlottesville are all finishing up budget season. Local governments are adopting budgets for fiscal year 2016 plus corresponding tax rates. Those tax rates become effective for calendar year 2015, said Fluvanna County Finance Director Eric Dahl. So the latest year for which concrete figures are available is calendar year 2014.

The 2014 real estate tax rates per $100 valuation in the surrounding areas were:
• Charlottesville: 95 cents
• Fluvanna: 88 cents
• Orange: 80.4 cents
• Albemarle: 79.9 cents
• Cumberland: 74 cents
• Greene: 72 cents
• Nelson: 72 cents
• Louisa: 68 cents
• Goochland: 53 cents
• Buckingham: 50 cents

Many Fluvanna residents worry that these statistics damage growth by placing Fluvanna County in an unfavorable light when compared to its neighbors.

Property values
Of course there are many reasons why Fluvannians choose to live in this county, such as family history, natural beauty, and location. Another reason is affordability. A house in Fluvanna goes for a fraction of what it would cost in Albemarle, for example.

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Senior Alexis Scott at third base. Photo by Deborah NixonThe powerful Flying Fluco softball team came into its game with the Warriors from Western Albemarle, on April 16, with an impressive 7-1 record. The Flucos made it clear from the start that an eighth win was in the cards.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Flucos put up four runs, and they followed with five runs in the bottom of the second. Senior Tiffani Shaheen led off the first with a solid single, sophomore Victoria Belew reached on an error. The two leadoff runners then executed a double steal. Senior Alexis Scott recorded her first RBI with a dribbler ground out. First baseman Sasha Morgan rifled a single to center to put the Flucos up 2-0. Junior pitcher Annaliese Kennedy singled, senior outfielder Kierstan Allen brought home Morgan and Kennedy with line drive down the left field line that went for a triple. The Flucos had a commanding 4-0 lead after one.
Sophomore Cassie Kingsley opened the bottom of the second with a perfect bunt hit. Shaheen followed with another nicely executed bunt that she beat out for a hit. Belew singled to bring in the Flucos’ fifth run. Scott then launched a ball to deep left that cleared the fence by just a little. Her three run home run made the score 8-0. First baseman Sasha Morgan followed Scott with an enormous blast to left that was gone from the minute it left the bat. With back to back home runs and a 9-0 lead it was clear that the game was likely not going to go the distance. Three more runs in the third and a final run in the fourth, led to the final 13-0 count.
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One week away from a final vote, the fiscal year 2016 (FY16) Fluvanna County budget and tax rate emerged from Wednesday night’s (April 8) public hearing unscathed, without a single citizen comment.
Finance Director Eric Dahl told the Board of Supervisors he recommended cutting $605,000 from the FY16 capital improvements plan (CIP). In February supervisors had defunded $100,000 for an outdated ambulance rechassis request. But Dahl suggested cutting $505,000 more.
Dahl recommended pushing $405,000 worth of CIP projects into FY17 by delaying the funding of a $150,000 restroom at Pleasant Grove, a $35,000 Pleasant Grove picnic shelter, a new $175,000 ambulance for Fluvanna County, and a $45,000 system to provide drinkable water to the library and sheriff’s office.
Dahl suggested entirely defunding a $100,000 FY16 wedge for county vehicle replacement because the FY17 CIP already contains funds for that purpose.
The county will probably take over operation of the school system’s two wastewater treatment plants at the high school and at Carysbrook Elementary, Dahl said, because the county is better equipped to handle such maintenance. This switchover will result in a decrease of $40,000 to the school system’s appropriation. The funds will instead go to the county’s facilities budget. “The schools are fully aware of this $40,000 figure,” Dahl said of the budget adjustment.

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