Supervisors Approve Ordinance Waiving Fees on Late Tax Payments

By Heather Michon

The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 Wednesday night (May 6) to approve a temporary ordinance waiving interest and penalties on late tax payments, provided they are paid before June 30.

Taxes for the first half of the year will still be due on June 5. The ordinance is designed to “ease the financial burden on residents and businesses” impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak by giving them a little extra time to pay without penalty, County Administrator Eric Dahl told supervisors.

The county has $5.5 million in debt service payments due during the first week of July, “so we want to make sure those individuals who can pay them get them in by the end of this fiscal year and prior to those payments needing to be made,” said Dahl.

Chair Mike Sheridan (Columbia) added that, if residents “are still having a hardship come June 30, they can contact the treasurer’s office and possibly work out installment arrangements or figure out what needs to be done.”

Business Assistance

Economic Development Coordinator Bryan Rothamel briefed supervisors on efforts to help local businesses cope with the disruption caused by the virus. 

About 40 business owners replied to a survey conducted between March 26 and April 6. A total of 29 said they had lost sales revenue, 20 had received cancellations; 14 had supply chain issues; and 11 had revenue collection problems. When asked what the county could do to support them, several respondents said they would like to see a local funding program to help with critical expenses. Rothamel recommended the county re-designate the existing Fluvanna Loan Fund, a microloan program under the regional Community Investment Collaborative, which currently has $34,000 in unexpended funds, as the Fluvanna Business Recovery Fund. This would allow the county to disburse loans of up to $5,000 to around seven local businesses. 

He recommended focusing on businesses with high overhead costs. Loans would be given at a one percent interest rate for a period of two years, with no payments due for the first six months.

Rothamel said this would give some businesses a little breathing room, especially in rent payments. “I wish we could do more. I’m just trying to find a solution with money that we already have appropriated.”

Supervisors added $1,000 to the funding for a total of $35,000 in available funds. The motion passed 5-0.  

In other matters, supervisors:

  • Deferred a decision on returning $658,100 in capital improvement project (CIP) funds to the unassigned fund balance. The funds in question were allocated in previous fiscal years for projects that had not yet been started. After some discussion, several supervisors wanted more information on some of the projects. They expect to revisit the issue in June.
  • Approved a $767,569 emergency contract with Fire & Safety Equipment Co. to make initial purchases for self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for first responders. The current supply of SCBAs have exceeded their useful life and the consensus is that they cannot wait to begin purchasing parts of the new system. The county has applied for a grant to cover the equipment, which is expected to cost a total of around $939,000.   
  • Approved a supplemental appropriation of $284,000 to Fluvanna County Public Schools. This is an appropriation from the state, not local funds.

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