( 3 Votes )

Board of supervisorsAs the five members of the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors consider how to run the county, certain goals take precedence over others. The Fluvanna Review asked supervisors to explain their top two priorities for Fluvanna in 2017. This is how they responded.

Chairman Mike Sheridan (Columbia)
My two biggest things are the E911 radio project and getting the water line at Zion Crossroads done.

I said two years ago when we started talking about the water project that unless we were willing to invest in the Route 15 corridor and Route 250, we were throwing water away with the James River Water Authority line. We have to have pipes in the ground on our side so that when the water gets there, we’re prepared to use it. I think that’s going to allow us to have that corridor grow on our side. The E911 radio project is near and dear to my heart. I watched my dad run fire and rescue squad calls since I was a child and I’ve been running them since I was old enough to do that. We have people who have been in harm’s way because our radio system is insufficient. This new radio project is supposed to give us full coverage in our county. We have to keep those men and women that are volunteering to serve us safe, and those that serve with the police department. We have to take care of them. We have to give them the resources they need.

Vice-chair Mozell Booker (Fork Union)
I am very pleased with where we are right now with infrastructure – the Zion Crossroads water project with the Department of Corrections and our partnership with Louisa. I’m also very pleased with the cost recovery program and the communication that we have pushed through this year. I think we’ve done a lot of things.

Right now I would like for us to stay where we are. No increasing. If the taxes stay where they are now we could do that. If we lower taxes then you’re talking about cutting. I want to stay where we are and, because this is a tough year, not look at anything else right now.

I’ve always wanted to be able to say that, but I couldn’t because we had too many things that we needed to do, and I know that there seems to be a trend that Fluvanna will put things off. So I wanted to push things forward because I knew one day I would be able to say, “Let’s stop right here this year, and then let’s wait and see what’s what.” And I’m hoping that staff, schools, constitutional officers and people will go along with it, support it, and understand, and if they don’t they need to go and talk to the County Administrator and understand the budget.

Other times I don’t think we could tighten our belt and just stand still. But I think now we can, because of the progress we have made.

Supervisor Trish Eager (Palmyra)
I want us to concentrate on our core services – public safety, social services, education – and stop nonessential spending until the county has a more realistic tax rate.
In fiscal year 2016 there was a budget surplus of $1,679,000. The money could have been used to pay down debt or lower taxes, but half a million of it was requested and approved for different things, such as contract and professional services and capital purchases. Don Weaver and I voted against this request.

We’re going to need to be borrowing money to pay for our public safety radio system and probably for the water project from the prison, and that’s why it’s my hope that the county will be more careful managing your money. As we go through the budget process we need to be as careful as we possibly can be because we have a lot of projects coming up.

Supervisor Tony O’Brien (Rivanna)
2017 will continue to present opportunities and challenges for the Board.  The budget cycles at the state and local level will continue to add upward pressures and we will need to work hard to mitigate the impact to homeowners while preserving and strengthening core services. The county’s efforts to provide transparency and longer-term projections during our budgetary process will aid the Board in building consensus during the budget process.

The recent increases in home values and continued strengthening of home sales will bring in additional revenues combined with a stronger overall economy. I want to see continued and dedicated focus to completing the Zion Crossroads water infrastructure projects on a timely and cost effective basis and promoting economic development. While the construction is underway we still need to communicate to business owners, land owners and developers the outstanding growth opportunities Fluvanna has to offer.  While we have competitive land values and favorable tax policies, I hope to see the Board work with the Commissioner of Revenue’s office to reduce the business personal property tax rate in a cost-neutral manner and continue to work with the planning department to fast-track zoning changes for Zion Crossroads.

I am also excited about the steps we are taking to develop broadband options in Fluvanna. There are both local and regional efforts combined with the addition of five new towers for the 911 project that can be leveraged to begin offering choices to Fluvanna residents.

I want to see continued support and recognition of the value of our schools. We need to make sure students have the tools to succeed and see Fluvanna as a place they can get a job, raise a family and contribute to their community.

Fluvanna has endured some very difficult years, and we have made a great deal of progress towards policies that will ultimately allow us to stay competitive with the surrounding counties by offering quality schools, jobs, attractive home and land values, safe neighborhoods and responsive emergency service.  The Board over the last several years has shown its commitment to quality core services for all residents, young and old. I believe we all recognize the importance of maintaining this path while promoting smart economic development.

Supervisor Don Weaver (Cunningham)
My priority is to keep the real estate tax stable and to live within our means.