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Even as the economy faltered and home sale prices fell, the high assessments stood where they were for six years.  In fact, in 2012, the average home was assessed for 129 percent of its actual sale price.  The reassessment that took effect in 2013 reflected this drop in the market, though many residents felt the bite of their home values declining by an average of almost 30 percent.


Commissioner of the Revenue Mel Sheridan would like to avoid this scenario in the future.  With this in mind, he proposed to the Board a reassessment schedule that would take place every two years.  In 2014, he proposed, a contractor would conduct an “administrative reassessment,” which requires examining sales data and new construction.  The new assessment would take effect Jan. 1, 2015.  During 2016, a contractor would conduct a full general reassessment, which requires that all new and existing properties be viewed and photographed.  This reassessment would take effect Jan. 1, 2017.  The cost of this four-year plan is estimated to be between $240,000 and $315,000.

Reassessing every two years has the benefit of avoiding the dramatic swings in property value seen in Fluvanna’s most recent reassessment.  Although Sheridan offered the Board several options, supervisors gave him the go-ahead to move forward with his recommended plan by a vote of 4-0. (Supervisor Joe Chesser  was absent).

County Administrator Steve Nichols delivered the welcome news that the University of Virginia Emergency Medical Services (EMS) contract services will begin Sept. 9.  Supplementing Fluvanna Rescue volunteers during the daytime 12-hour shift, these hired EMS personnel will cover seven days a week in Fluvanna Rescue’s first due area.  They will operate out of the Palmyra Rescue building and will provide “precepting” for those volunteers who wish to obtain higher levels of EMT training.  Fluvanna Rescue’s volunteers will continue to provide service on evenings, weekends, and major holidays.

In related matters, Nichols announced that the Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad was the recipient of a $25,000 grant from State Farm Insurance.  The money is intended to help “recruit, train, and retain rescue and fire volunteers county-wide.”

David Blount, acting executive director and legislative liaison for the Thomas Jefferson Planning District (TJPD), updated the Board on gains his organization has accomplished on behalf of localities.  TJPD worked throughout 2012 to gather information on the fiscal impact of state legislation on localities.  In 2013, this process culminated in a successfully adopted budget proposal to establish a task force to “look at ways, moving forward, to enhance the local fiscal review process.”  His hope is that the task force will succeed in identifying onerous legislation that previously would have “slipped through the cracks.”

Shelly Murphy, secretary of Fluvanna’s Economic Development Authority (EDA), gave the Board an overview of how the EDA works in Fluvanna.  Every year the EDA receives a $10 million allocation for loans through which it tries to “foster commerce, employment, and affordable housing.”  Currently in Fluvanna the EDA is facilitating a micro-loan program for small businesses, and Murphy encouraged businesses to apply.  The EDA is eagerly looking ahead to other ways to help Fluvanna; some of its ideas include assisting in financing for infrastructure to Zion Crossroads and creating a formal Fluvanna County Housing Authority.

Rear Admiral Scott Burhoe, President of Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA), updated the Board on news from his school.  Jacobson Hall, the school’s “bright, energy efficient, clean, and technologically savvy” new dormitory boasts 500 beds and no debt to boot.  By the end of October, the now-closed Fork Union Motor Lodge and the Cadet Diner will be pulled down, as will the William Frank Hotel.  When an engineer and architect informed FUMA that the building would cost more to renovate than to completely rebuild, the school decided to have it removed.

In other matters, the Board:

Heard from Wayne Stephens, director of public works, that the renovations to the Pleasant Grove house have gone over budget by $39,000 to $44,000 and will likely continue to do so.  No contingencies were built into any part of the estimate, Stephens said.

Touched base with Joel DeNunzio, residency administrator at VDOT, hearing his report on completed, ongoing, and scheduled road work, and bringing certain dangerous intersections or stretches of road to his attention.

Adopted the FY15 budget calendar.

The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors will be Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.  It includes a public hearing on Aqua Virginia’s proposal to bring water to Zion Crossroads.

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