Eyebrows raised as clerk to the circuit court, B. E. Peterson, described increases in demand for several county services, such as concealed handgun permits, restitution payments, and passport applications.  Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch commented drily that it was “good to see marriage licences increasing – and with it, concealed handgun permits!”

“And passports!” Supervisor Mozell Booker chimed in.

Peterson praised his staff as one of the finest, “if the not finest” staff in Virginia, but maintained that “they are one of the lowest paid in Fluvanna County government.”  Peterson described a “critical need” for salary increases in order to retain staff, and predicted that if he loses workers he will be forced to cut services, such as providing passports.

Commissioner of the Revenue Mel Sheridan celebrated that his staff successfully transitioned to electronic records from outdated card stock.  “That’s a pretty significant accomplishment,” he stated.  He also informed the Board that Fluvanna houses, on average, are selling slightly over their newly assessed value.  In summarizing his budget request, he declared, “I don’t think we can get any tighter.”

Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeff Haislip asked for a baseline budget with a special allocation for a “desperately needed” software system to replace the current “dinosaur” his staff uses.  Though his staff has been “holding the [former software] program together with duct tape” for some time now, its makers are no longer even providing IT support, and Haislip wants to complete his transition to a new system before the old one completely breaks down.  “The program we’ve picked out is the most cost-effective and efficient one out there,” he claimed, noting that there are several fancier systems that he did not request.  Software allows the commonwealth’s attorney’s office to perform more quickly and efficiently.

Sheriff Ryant Washington described the need for additional personnel.  “Most folks don’t realize that three officers isn’t enough to cover the county,” he stated, explaining that a simple DUI arrest can tie up two officers for two hours, leaving one lone officer to tend to the needs of the entire county.  When he finds himself needing to call off-duty deputies in to work, the overtime he must pay them cuts into savings gained by not hiring more personnel.

Treasurer Linda Lenherr won points for shortest budget presentation.  “The figures that you have are the figures that I need to run my office,” she stated.  Supervisors glanced up, waiting for her to continue.  Trickles of laughter began as spectators realized she was finished.  “Approved!” Chairman Shaun Kenney jokingly announced, and with that, the lengthy budget presentations were at an end.

Also, Jason Smith, director of Parks and Recreation, proposed a revised fee structure for events, activities, and equipment.  If approved, this money would “offset some of the expenses required for the maintenance and upkeep of some of our parks and facilities,” such as Pleasant Grove.  This new fee structure simplifies certain charges, while reducing or increasing others.  Of special interest was a proposed $3 per participant fee for Fluvanna youth sports.  Specifically, this money would go towards re-seeding and mowing the fields, a job currently done largely by volunteers.

“Why would we want to discourage volunteerism?” Kenney asked.

Smith and County Administrator Steve Nichols explained that an unstandardized approach leads to haphazard field maintenance, such as different kinds of grass in different sections of the field.  They are of the opinion that county property ought to be maintained by the county.  Kenney countered that dismissing volunteers and placing another responsibility on the back of government was not his method of choice.


Ultimately, the Board decided to postpone voting on the fee structure and requested it be advertised to the public for input before deciding the issue on Apr. 3.


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