Get moving

The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors needs to follow UVA BOV’s example in admitting wrong and move forward. We made a mistake in our tax rate, and because of it we have put our school system in a situation where our people are gravely affected and the quality of our public education is jeopardized. We did not level fund some of the non-profit programs that help us meet the needs of some of our most needy citizens. Hundreds of citizens came out to protest the tax rate and programs cuts. Whatever we have planned for the future will not be successful until we come to an understanding, that our people always come first.

Instead of addressing the problem before us now, there is continued talk about ways to raise money in the next fiscal year. The problem we face is urgent right now. The adopted FY13 budget was a proposal made at the last minute shared with some members of the board. We voted to advertise a tax rate of 68 cents, and what we got in the end was a half-baked budget cooked up behind closed doors. Also this budget supported by three of my colleagues attempted for the first time to eliminate specific positions on the county payroll and on the school staff. This type of micro-managing had never before been seen in Fluvanna’s budget discussions.

Our new high school is a beacon to bring economic development to our community. Just imagine if we still had the 29 old, rusting, smelly trailers housing our most precious resource, our children. Our new Community Planning and Development Director makes it clear that education and economic development go hand in hand. This week Albemarle County has announced consideration of building a fourth high school. They realize that now is the time to purchase land, and they are studying what technology demands and jobs students will need to be prepared for the future. We are fortunate that we have a head start with our new high school. There are citizens who do not want water/sewage and economic development and will always deny the need for any school building improvements. Without the new high school and a long term, permanent solution to serving economic development at Zion Crossroads, we will continue to rely on our homeowners for most of our tax revenue. Time for us to get moving.

(Ms. Booker is a member of the Board of Supervisors.)

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