Sheriff’s office to receive desperately needed upgrade

The server upgrade and the information technology (IT) services that come with it will keep “critical applications running through a disaster scenario,” said Toler – a peace of mind the sheriff’s office currently lacks.

The upgrades come at a one-time cost of $62,500 plus about $13,000 annually for ongoing expenses. The money for the upgrade will come from the fiscal year 2016 capital improvements plan, which contained almost $83,000 for this purpose.

The Board approved the request 4-0 (Chairman Mike Sheridan absent).

VDOT road projects

Supervisors also learned that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will turn its attention to several roads in Fluvanna. Joel DeNunzio and Greg Banks from VDOT presented VDOT’s six-year plan for the county’s secondary roads, or those that have route numbers of 600 and above.

A project to widen the narrow North Boston Rd. (Rt. 600) in Troy is fully funded at a cost of almost $2.4 million, said Banks, but a companion project to widen a different section of North Boston Rd. (Rt. 633) will likely not receive the $2.8 million it needs to move forward. “We’re going to work with the county to try to find a project that fits the money available,” said Banks.

VDOT also intends to hard-surface several gravel roads in Columbia, including Tammany, Rivanna, Andrew, Fayette, and St. Patrick Streets, at a cost of about $214,000. It will also replace the bridge over Kents Branch on Deep Creek Rd. near Kents Store at a cost of about $2.5 million.

When Supervisor Trish Eager asked how to get particular county roads into VDOT’s plan, DeNunzio explained that VDOT representatives periodically sit down with county staff to discuss potential road projects. Those meetings are the time to identify roads that need attention, he said. He also offered to meet at a Board work session.

Counties are responsible for prioritizing projects they wish to have done, DeNunzio said. VDOT is then responsible for putting funding in place, designing, and constructing the projects.

No one spoke during the secondary six-year plan’s public hearing. Supervisors approved the plan 4-0.

Deputy county administrator

After six years without an assistant county administrator, the county has finally filled the gap with Finance Director Eric Dahl. Dahl will retain his role as finance director while taking on additional duties as deputy county administrator in a hybrid role that will pay $82,500 after the expected pay raise for county staff in December.

“Workload has continued to increase over the years while staffing levels in all departments have remained flat,” said County Administrator Steve Nichols as he advocated for the change.

Supervisor Mozell Booker asked Nichols if having a deputy county administrator would take some of the pressure off his work load. “It’s already happening,” said Nichols, pointing to some of Dahl’s recent efforts in his new role.

Supervisor Don Weaver took issue with “jumping” Dahl’s salary $12,000 in one year. “It should have been in this year’s budget,” he said.

Booker disagreed, saying she read Dahl’s new job description and thought his increased duties warranted an even more substantial raise.

Supervisors approved the change 3-1 (Weaver dissenting).

Business property tax

At the end of the meeting, Eager suggested a plan that could help Fluvanna compete with surrounding counties for business.

Some county officials have long lamented that Louisa County’s personal property tax has been $1.90 while Fluvanna’s is $4.35. A business deciding where to locate might not consider Fluvanna when faced with this tax disparity, Eager has said.

Other officials have countered that the personal property tax rate is merely one piece of the puzzle and doesn’t take into account, for example, Fluvanna’s lack of a business, professional, and occupational license tax (BPOL).

Eager suggested that Fluvanna consider moving business property into its own tax, separate from personal property, and setting the rate significantly lower.

Nichols agreed the idea had merit, pointing out that Louisa recently raised its personal property tax to $2.43 but kept its business property tax at $1.90.

Supervisors will discuss this and other revenue ideas at a work session on June 15 at 4 p.m. in the Morris Room of the County Administration Building. Nichols said that he, Dahl, and Commissioner of the Revenue Mel Sheridan have several revenue enhancement ideas for supervisors to

consider. “We’ve got some great alternatives and avenues, but they require Board direction,” said Nichols.


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