An alternative to the traditional business/professional/occupation license (BPOL) tax, a simple licensing allows tracking of new business starts in the county, Community Development Director Bobby Popowicz told the Board, and allows his office to disseminate information and opportunities to local businesses.

Businesses would be required to register with the county and possibly – though not necessarily – pay a fee.  This would give the county comprehensive listing and tracking possibility, Popowicz said, allowing it to do things like create a local business directory linked to the county website.

The downsides to the proposal include costs, especially personnel costs, associated with implementing the idea.  Even the highest fee Popowicz mentioned – $50 per business – would fall short of paying for a person to administer the business licensing.  Plus, he said, businesses in the community may see a fee as the first step toward implementing the widely unpopular BPOL tax.

“At the business license level we will not make money; we will come out even,” Sheridan predicted.  Supervisors will further examine a business license fee in January and a potential restructuring of the business personal property tax in March.

Supervisors also considered the importance of having development-ready sites for potential businesses.  Joe Hines of the Timmons Group discussed how one Fluvanna site submitted through the Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development fared in an analysis of its development potential.  Due to a lack of public water and sewer, among other concerns, the site received the lowest ranking possible.

Fluvanna’s Zion Crossroads property is in private hands, said County Administrator Steve Nichols, but the county is reaching out to landowners along Rt. 250 to help them understand what they can do to ready their property for development.  Whenever water and sewer arrive, he said, it may just “sit there” if there aren’t any developable properties.

“This is a team effort,” Supervisor Tony O’Brien agreed.  “It’s not just suddenly you have water and [development] magically happens.”

Hines warned supervisors that decisions about development can be unpopular.  Sometimes supervisors have to make a decision between being reelected and making the “best” decision for the county.  “You could be making a decision that costs you your seat,” he said.


In other matters:

Supervisors deferred till Dec. 17 a public hearing on a rezoning application for Lafayette Village, a proposed development of 48 townhomes to be located on Rt. 618 about one and a half miles northwest of Rt. 600.  The sign advertising the public hearing was not placed at the site, causing supervisors concern that the public was not adequately informed of the opportunity to speak for or against the rezoning.

The state’s reduction in funding to Fluvanna County will total about $59,000.  Nichols will present a plan for absorbing this shortfall at the next Board meeting on Dec. 3.

Supervisors voted to approve the purchase of a new pump truck for the Palmyra Volunteer Fire Company in the amount of $531,616.

Dave Hickey of Blue Ridge Mass Appraisal told the Board that the recent reassessment resulted in about a 2 percent increase in value across the board.  He believes the “successful” reassessment prevented the county from seeing wild swings in value – a situation supervisors were eager to avoid.

Louisa County and the Louisa County Water Authority will hold a town hall meeting on the proposed water line at the Kents Store ARC Community Center on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.

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