Vote O’Brien

Miller claims O’Brien wants to raise taxes up to eight cents. That is absolutely not true. What Mr. O’Brien has said is that he is doing his homework and speaking with county officials and other leaders to understand the reality of Fluvanna’s challenges before making empty promises of not raising taxes while promising funding to schools and safety. For next year’s budget, the county may need to find an additional ~$1.25m revenue (or expenditure cuts) just to fund the same level of services as this year due to the ~$500k state funding reduction for schools and the ~$750k one-time benefit the county received for refinancing the bonds. Just those two figures could represent either ~6 cent increase or a cut in county expenditures which Mr. Kelly has yet to identify how he will address.
Miller also mentioned Fluvanna as the highest tax rate in Central Virginia. Focusing only on the tax rate misrepresents the actual tax burden. This year, our tax rate increased from $0.59 to $0.79 and resulted in the average homeowner having their taxes paid reduced despite our tax rate increasing nearly 35%! Fluvanna’s median taxes paid are still the lowest in the area ($1,193) versus Charlottesville, $2,486, Albemarle, $2,219, Goochland, $1,708, Orange, $1,340, Louisa, $1,270, and Greene, $1,261 despite having to pay for a $70 million school and despite having high debt service.
Miller’s statement that Fluvanna has the lowest per capita income in the area is also false. Fluvanna has the highest ($29.4 thousand) second only to Albemarle, $36.7 thousand. All other counties are lower (e.g., Louisa $27.5 thousand, Orange $26.4 thousand, Greene $25 thousand, Buckingham $16.8 thousand).
Miller referenced Kelly wants to fund education, protect teachers’ benefits and salaries by reducing administrative costs if possible and keep taxes the lowest possible rate, which happens to be the same empty promise platform Mr. Ullenbruch (who is now actively campaigning for Kelly) ran on three years ago. However, to restore school staff health benefits to the same level as other Fluvanna county employees would cost about $750 thousand (or about three cents tax). Mr. Rittenhouse ran for School Board last November on a platform of reducing administration costs, but in the first year on the School Board, has found no opportunity to further reduce administrative costs. How does Mr. Kelly plan to pay for healthcare benefits, as well as essential school programs such as STEM?
Finally, Miller mentions attracting business to Fluvanna. However, water will require investments ranging anywhere from two to four cents (depending on option chosen) in the short-term before Fluvanna starts profiting from economic development, which eventually will reduce tax burden on homeowners and increase funding available for critical services.
It is that fourth set of individuals who are the most dangerous to Fluvanna’s future. There are two types of candidates running this year – those who love Fluvanna, want to promote the positives, and find responsible solutions vs. those who highlight and exaggerate the negatives and problems of Fluvanna without recommended solutions, share misleading data, and make empty promises with no plans to fund them. Your choice in November couldn’t be clearer.

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