The equalized rate is based on the property reassessment which showed most Fluvanna properties going down in value. When property values decrease, Virginia law states tax rates must increase to ensure governments have enough revenue to maintain their budgets. The current tax rate is 59.81 cents per $100 of assessed value.

“If the budget is adopted, it would result in a tax decrease for the average homeowner,” Nichols wrote in his letter introducing the budget.
The funding proposed for the schools is a bit convoluted, but it starts with the agreement made between the schools and the Board of Supervisors in December 2012 that the FY14 operating budget will start at $12.2 million. This is because throughout FY13, the schools requested more money from the Board. The original FY13 school operating budget was $12.5 million. Throughout FY13, the Board voted to give the schools $650,000, $66,000 and $300,000. When the Board gave the last amount, it was with the agreement that the FY14 school operating budget would be reduced by that amount – thus starting FY14’s budget baseline negotiations at $12.2 million, Nichols said.
In his proposal, Nichols suggested a school operating budget of $13.2 million, in affect increasing the school’s piece of the pie $1 million over the agreed upon starting point.
Board Chairman Shaun Kenney (Columbia) said supervisors are working hard on this year’s budget and it started with reissuing debt service bonds.
“A budget where everyone wins is a commonsense start,” Kenney said. “Meeting a $5 million debt service for the high school was a Herculean task that wasn’t going to be met unless everyone collectively pulled together and sacrificed.  Now that the economy is incrementally improving, we have a responsibility to incrementally put back.”
Nichols budget includes pay raises for county employees to bring them up pay comparable to other counties.  His pay adjustment proposal includes $335,000 in cost-of-living raises. He proposed a 5-percent raise for those making 20 percent below comparable salaries down to 2-percent raises for those at or above comps. Nichols budget also pays special focus on county staff earning less than $12 an hour.
Kenney said he wants to look out for taxpayers during budget negotiations.
“Taxpayers deserve just as much relief as teachers, deputies, and county services, Kenney said.  “Hopefully that’s something commonsense observers respect.  Recovering from the double whammy of a recession plus massive debt spending is just going to take time and attention.”
The budget calendar calls for several reviews and work sessions to be conducted throughout February and March. The Board is scheduled to advertise its tax rate on April 4 and formally adopt a budget, therefore setting the tax rate on April 17.
Nichols asked each department director, agency head and Constitutional Officer to review 42 Fluvanna County departments. His proposed budget reflects decreased funds in 22 of them.
The entire budget, along with the calendar of work sessions and meetings can be found on the county website www.fluvannacounty.org.
(Editor’s note: This story replaces and corrects the earlier online story.)




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