Fluvanna homes increase in value by 4.7 percent

By Christina Dimeo, editor

Fluvanna residents should expect to see the value of their homes increase in reassessment notices arriving in mailboxes early next week.

Real estate and personal property tax bills will show up too, but the amounts will reflect current home values. The reassessment will take effect Jan. 1.

Randy Willis, assessor for Pearson’s Appraisal Service, told the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 3) that county property increased in value by 4.7 percent.

Excluding Lake Monticello, county properties increased by 5.4 percent. Lake Monticello saw a 3.4 percent increase.

This assessment was administrative, meaning that assessors only visited properties that underwent some kind of change, such an addition or a new finished basement. The next assessment in 2021 will be a general reassessment, in which every property is examined.

“It seems redundant to visit every property every two years if there were no changes,” said Commissioner of Revenue Mel Sheridan. The streamlined process saved the county about $100,000 in reassessment costs.

Willis noted that residents’ feelings about their reassessment values align closely with their purposes for their property. If homeowners want to sell, they are typically pleased with increased value. If they plan to stay put, however, they may be unhappy because they will pay more in taxes.

Residents have the option of appealing their reassessments.

County ups FSPCA funding

Supervisors voted unanimously to increase their fiscal year 2019 contribution to the Fluvanna SPCA by $35,346. The FSPCA serves as Fluvanna’s pound.

“We pay less than 50 percent of their operational costs but we take up 75 percent or more of their actual service needs,” said County Administrator Steve Nichols. “This allows us to bring funding up to a more reasonable level to cover operations for the remainder of this year.”

In 2017 the FSPCA sheltered 669 animals: 392, or 59 percent, were county strays; 198, or 30 percent, were animal control drop-offs; and 79, or 12 percent, were surrenders.

The county’s current agreement with the FSPCA was signed in 2017 and mandates an annual payment of $154,146 for public animal shelter services. The agreement lasts up to five years.

But Nichols suggested a significant change to the way the county and the FSPCA relate to each other. Rather than signing an agreement with a fixed price for several years, Nichols recommended that the county treat the FSPCA the way it treats other agencies.

“I’d rather have them come in with a formal budget request [each year] so that you can vet them, ask questions and know what the dollars are going for,” he said. “We can have a little bit closer scrutiny of those dollars, but also get more correct on the numbers so that we don’t have to adjust it through the year.”

The FSCPA is on board with the change, Nichols said.

“You don’t have an option – you have to provide public animal shelter services,” said Nichols. “This is by far our best alternative as far as cost, and we want to continue to make that program viable.”

Supervisors unanimously agreed.

In other matters:

  • Aaron Spitzer, director of parks and recreation, said that 5,500 to 7,000 people attended the county fair in August. The fair generated $23,114 from vendors, carnival ride sales and gate sales, and cost $14,141 for advertising, general supplies and contract services. Altogether the fair netted $8,972.
  • Delta Response Team (DRT), a paid contract crew providing rescue services for the county, started work Oct. 1. They operate out of the Palmyra Rescue Station. Half of those hired by DRT already volunteer or work in Fluvanna, Nichols said.
  • Nichols recognized county employees who received $250 awards for outstanding service: Paul Lowe of public works, Victoria Melton of finance, and Sandra Parrish of the circuit court clerk’s office. The overall county award of $500 went to Sergeant Aaron Hurd of the sheriff’s office.
  • Nichols recognized that October is domestic violence awareness month by calling attention to the services Fluvanna provides those in need. In the past 12 years, every homicide that has occurred in Fluvanna has been related to domestic violence.

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