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Economic development topped the list of concerns among Fluvanna County residents who participated in the 2017 Residents Survey, County Administrator Steve Nichols told the Board of Supervisors at its meeting April 5.

The survey, which ran from Jan. 26 to March 31, received 325 individual responses. Of those who responded, 67 percent were age 50 or older, 64 percent have lived in Fluvanna for more than 10 years, and 61 percent live outside Lake Monticello.

Participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with living in Fluvanna and the quality of the county’s services. They were also asked what they thought should be prioritized by the Board of Supervisors in the coming year.

The lowest-ranking topic, with just 15 percent rating it as “excellent” or “good,” was economic development. Just 20 percent of respondents said it was a good place to run a business. Forty-eight percent felt the county was “at a standstill,” with another 19 percent saying it is going in the wrong direction.

“The whole survey screamed ‘economic development,’ as you’ll see,” Nichols said in his presentation to the supervisors.

“I almost feel like there’s a communications gap,” said Supervisor Tony O’Brien, noting that many of the issues mentioned in the survey, including government transparency and investment in development at Zion Crossroads, have been priorities for supervisors in recent years.

“That’s not to say we don’t deserve fair criticism,” he added, “and [we] need to look at each one of these items, not in a defensive tone, but are we communicating effectively.”

Supervisor Don Weaver pointed out that over 80 percent of respondents said they were satisfied living in Fluvanna. “What’s wrong, sometimes, with the status quo?” he asked. “It looks to me like people are pretty happy. That’s a positive.”

The survey found most residents believe Fluvanna offers a good quality of life, with 84 percent defining it as a good place to live, 76 percent agreeing it was a good place to raise children, and 73 percent saying it was a good place to retire.

Top-rated county services were the library (with 89 percent saying it was “excellent” or “good”), fire services (88 percent favorable), the sheriff’s office (85 percent favorable), ambulance and emergency services (82 percent favorable) and parks and recreation (77 percent favorable).

More poorly-rated items were ease of paying county bills online (47 percent favorable), senior services (46 percent favorable), and land use, planning and zoning (40 percent favorable).
A full report on the survey is available at www.fluvannacounty.org.