Supervisors Takes on Tuition, Trash, Rabies and Sewage

By Heather Michon

The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday (Jan 22) was relatively brief, with only two items up for a vote and number of presentations and updates. Supervisor Tony O’Brien (Rivanna) was away for the evening.

Among the highlights of the meeting:

  • Supervisors approved policy manual updates on the County’s tuition reimbursement policy by a vote of 4-0. Human Resources Director Jessica Rice said she had worked with other departments to refine the policy that had existed since 2006 “to make it more equitable.” Funding for tuition reimbursement will be put under her department’s budget, rather than individual departments. The program will be open to any full-time employee with 12 or more months on the job. There will be a cap of $500 per employee, and would have to be reimbursed if the employee leaves in the 12 months after they receive the funds.
  • Supervisors also approved a $50,000 budget transfer from the Board of Supervisors Contingency Fund to the Convenience Center budget by a 4-0 vote. The department is facing a shortfall due to unexpected increases in trash hauling and recycling charges. Management analyst Liz McIver said they had initially anticipated hauling fees for the year would be around $70,000, but it was looking like it was going to “be closer to $160,000.”
  • Assistant County Administrator Kelly Berlanger Harris gave a status update on the 2018-2019 Strategic Initiatives, a master list of projects and priorities designed to improve county services. Harris recommended a new format for categorizing and updating the initiatives that she would like to phase in over the next year or two.
  • Denise Bonds of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) gave a brief update on services provided to the county over the last year, including community health services, immunization clinics, and family planning services. “I think our location can sometimes be a barrier for people coming in because it’s located right here in the courthouse,” she said. With talk of the county potentially building new office space or changing the configuration of services, she said having Health Services and Social Services in the same location is considered best practices in the delivery of public health care. She also noted the recent rabies case within the county and said would be producing an after-action report on the incident and the public health service response.
  • Bonds and County Administrator Eric Dahl also updated supervisors on a sewage issue in the former town of Columbia. An open sewer was discovered along Rt. 6 with no clear evidence of which homes were connected to it, but after substantial testing, the county narrowed it down to just two houses. Dr. Bonds explained that because of the small size and configuration of the two lots, it would be challenging to install holding tanks on those properties, much less a full septic system. Dahl said that the resident of one of the homes had moved out and the county will continue to work with the second property owner to fix the problem.

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