Superintendent requests almost $1 million for raises, other costs

Superintendent requests almost $1 million for raises, other costs

By Ruthann Carr, correspondent

Fluvanna Superintendent Chuck Winkler asked the Board of Supervisors for just under $1 million more than last year’s school budget to fund staff raises, hire more teachers and cover increased health insurance costs.

Winkler presented his $17,117,498 budget request for fiscal year 2019 (FY29) to the supervisors on Wednesday (Feb. 21).

The salary increases “are the moral and ethical thing to do,” Winkler said.  “It would provide a raise to all staff in an effort to restore the net loss due to our inability to meet cost of living adjustments for the last 10 years. I realize what I’m asking; it’s a million dollars. We need your help. I know the value of a million dollars. If you have alternative solutions, I’ll hear them. The budget is as bare bones as I can make it.”

The supervisors listened to Winkler’s request but took no action.

The supervisors also approved a contract to timber 80 acres of land behind the Fluvanna Community Center. Supervisors have been considering timbering 80 acres behind the center on Rt. 15 near Fork Union. They plan to use part of that land to erect a burn building on the site for firefighter training.

Dowdy’s Forest Land Management proposed paying the county $88,801 for the rights to timber that land. The supervisors passed the measure unanimously.

Several action matters passed unanimously without much discussion, until voting on aid to the Agricultural Recreation Center (ARC) in Kents Store came up.

The county uses the building as the Columbia District voting location and for senior citizen activities.

Director of Public Works Wayne Stephens asked supervisors to allocate $30,000 from the FY18 Board contingency fund to help make repairs to the building.

Although structurally sound, the building is in poor shape and in need of some immediate repairs which Stephens estimated to cost less than $70,000. Repairs need to be done prior to the June primary.

Stephens said local volunteers already fixed a floor issue. If the county allocated $30,000, others who use the building intend to parlay the county commitment into additional private donations.

County Administrator Steve Nichols said, “We’ve not been able to identify another place to vote.”

Stephens added, “I think it’s a worthwhile area of the county to spend money.”

Supervisor Don Weaver disagreed.

“It seems like everything is a worthwhile area of the county to spend money. That’s the problem,” he said.

“It’s either this or tell us what you want us to do,” Nichols said.

Weaver voted no, but the motion to give the $30,000 to the ARC for repairs passed 4 to 1.

Also passing unanimously was a change in rollback taxes language in the Zion Crossroads Community Planning Area (CPA). Rollback taxes on parcels that are taken out of the land use program and zoned commercially will not become due until the actual use of the land changes. This allows rollback taxes to be dealt with as a part of the land sale, which can make them more affordable. Supervisors opted for the change to further economic development in the Zion Crossroads area.

In other matters, the supervisors gave volunteer Fire Chief Mike Brent a Community Service Award for serving 31 years. Gail Parrish, human resources manager, is retiring and Jessica Rice will take her place. The county hired Tim Hodge as a new IT technician.


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