County Administrator Steve Nichols announces retirement

County applies for broadband grant

By Christina Dimeo, editor

County Administrator Steve Nichols began the Wednesday (Dec. 19) meeting of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors by announcing his retirement.

Nichols will retire July 5, 2019, after serving over seven years as Fluvanna’s county administrator.

“I will always look back with pride at Fluvanna’s path over the last decade, and for my small part in the positive changes that have occurred,” Nichols wrote in his resignation letter. “I also look forward to fewer meetings, more travel, and the time to become a more accomplished goof off, gopher and golfer in my retirement years.”

“The earlier you can do it, the better you are because you never know what the future holds,” said Supervisor Don Weaver.

“You’ve got great staff here already,” said Nichols. He recommended that Eric Dahl, deputy county administrator and finance director, take over as his replacement.

Nichols will turn 65 years old in June.

County applies for broadband grant

The county has applied for a broadband grant from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative grant program for broadband, Dahl told supervisors. The program has $4 million to offer underserved areas.

Fluvanna partnered with Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) to apply for $641,967 to install broadband in the Columbia District.

The grant helps to supplement construction costs by private broadband providers, such as CVEC, who work in partnership with local governments.

“There’s no tail to this one, because CVEC will be paying any matching requirements,” said Nichols, referring to extra costs that sometimes come along with “free” money.

If Fluvanna receives the grant, CVEC will have one year to complete the work. The county expects to find out sometime this spring whether it was selected.

Supervisors voted unanimously to ratify the submitted grant application.

FUSD close to paying off loan

The Fork Union Sanitary District (FUSD) will soon pay off the entirety of its loan from the county.

Currently FUSD owes the county $67,100. The sanitary district pays on this loan every year.

When FUSD hit financial trouble in fiscal year 2010 (FY20), it borrowed $40,000 from the county. It then borrowed $30,000 in FY13, $39,000 in FY14, and $9,000 in FY15.

But thanks to a rate increase and careful cost accounting, FUSD is now on much better financial footing. “I think you’re going to see with the rate increase and with this new method for better, accurate cost accounting for what’s attributed to each system, you’re going to see the cash balance continue to go up,” said Dahl.

“Their finances are stabilized,” said Nichols.

FUSD repaid the county $18,000 in FY16, $17,867 in FY17, and $15,033 in FY18.

Supervisors directed staff to prepare the documentation necessary for FUSD to pay off its $67,100 balance in full.

Annual financial report

Dahl delivered the comprehensive annual financial report, diving into detail regarding the county’s revenue and expenses for FY18, which spanned July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

David Foley of Robinson, Farmer and Cox conducted Fluvanna’s FY18 audit and said he found no issues.

Dahl pointed out that the county brought in almost $200,000 more in sales tax than it budgeted for FY18. “We’ve had a pretty steady incline [since] the recession,” he said.

Sales tax in FY18 was just under $1.8 million, compared to about $1.7 million in FY17 and a little over $1.5 million in FY16.

The total FY18 adopted budget was $75.6 million.

Total expenditures:

  • Schools: $39.6 million (52 percent);
  • County: $32.2 million (43 percent);
  • Other: $2.3 million (3 percent); and
  • Capital improvement plan (CIP): $1.4 million (2 percent).

Total revenue:

  • Local: $42.3 million (56 percent);
  • State: $28.6 million (38 percent);
  • Federal: $2.2 million (3 percent); and
  • Other: $2.6 million (3 percent).

Revenue from local sources:

  • Real property: $22.5 million (53 percent);
  • Personal property: $6.1 million (15 percent);
  • Other local: $5.7 million (13 percent);
  • Public utility: $4.8 million (11 percent); and
  • Fund balance: $3.2 million (8 percent).

General fund revenues:

  • General property tax: $34.8 million (69 percent);
  • State: $8.4 million (17 percent);
  • Other local taxes: $3.4 million (7 percent);
  • Other: $2.1 million (4 percent); and
  • Federal: $1.5 million (3 percent).

General fund expenses:

  • Education: $16.9 million (36 percent);
  • Debt service: $8.9 million (19 percent);
  • Public safety: $7.9 million (17 percent);
  • Health and welfare: $6.1 million (13 percent);
  • General government: $2.6 million (5 percent);
  • Public works: $2.2 million (4 percent);
  • Judicial administration: $1.2 million (2 percent);
  • Community development: $0.8 million (2 percent); and
  • Parks and library: $0.8 million (2 percent).

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