Supervisors handle taxes, meeting space and sheriff’s needs

By Heather Michon

The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors held a relatively brief regular meeting on Wednesday (Oct. 7) at the Fluvanna County Public Library.

Supervisors approved:

  • An advertisement for a public hearing on a temporary ordinance change that would suspend penalties and interest for late payment of property taxes through Dec. 31. This would not change the Dec. 5 due date but give some space for struggling taxpayers to come up with payment or work out arrangements with the county treasurer. The Board approved a similar temporary ordinance in June.
  • Recommendations for four members to the Board of Equalization, which hears appeals on from citizens regarding their property tax assessments. The four members have all previously served on the board
  • A budget transfer of $130,219 from the CARES Act Fund to the Sheriff’s Office for the purchase of new vehicles and equipment to assist them in safely transporting arrestees during the pandemic.

No new meeting space

However, the supervisors pulled back on another CARES Fund project: a new meeting space in the county administration building.

With the county courthouse now closed to meetings, the Board of Supervisors and other county boards have been struggling to find a space where residents can attend meetings under social distancing guidelines. The creation of a new meeting space in the basement of the county administration building was proposed as a solution, allowing the Board and about 40 members of the public to gather safely. The renovation of the space falls under the federal guidelines for use of the CARES Act, which was designed to help localities pay for projects, equipment, and services related to the ongoing pandemic.

In September, supervisors approved an initial allocation of around $660,000 for the project, and at a more recent meeting, the estimated cost was set at $731,800.

But as County Administrator Eric Dahl explained, the only qualifying bid on the project, by Jamerson-Lewis Construction, came back at $1,374,900.


Dahl and Josh Bower of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates explained that the unexpectedly high bid was due to a “perfect storm” of circumstances. Because the project would be paid out of federal funds, workers would have to be paid at a higher prevailing wage and overtime. Additionally, due to hurricanes and other natural disasters, the price of construction materials is skyrocketing, and the overheated local real estate market leaves few construction workers who are not already booked for other building projects.

In their discussion after the presentation, supervisors agreed that they couldn’t support the $1.3 million bid. Because Congress has set a hard deadline for completion of CARES Act projects of Dec. 30, there will not be time to conduct another round of bids, and the 5-0 vote to deny the allocation effectively killed the project.

Economic development

Economic Development Coordinator Bryan Rothamel reported on the second and final round of grants under the FROM: Fluvanna Small Business Grant program.

Earlier this year, the Board allocated $700,000 from the CARES Act to the grant program. The first round of funding allocated just over $286,000 to local businesses. With considerable funds left over, they opened a second round of applications in August.

Rothamel reported that this round ended up with 144 requests for application, and 92 businesses qualified to submit applications. Because not every business ended up following through, the program received 30 completed applications, which received a total of $172,500 in grants. Another 13 applications were incomplete and may end up receiving funding before the program ends.

Local nonprofits, including The Bridge Ministry, Child Health Partnership, Green Dogs Unleashed, and the Rotary Foundation of Fluvanna County, received $65,000 in grants.


This was the final round of application. Any funds not dispersed by Oct. 30 will be returned to the county.

Rothamel also gave an overview of his 2020 Annual Report on the Economic Development Office. Among the highlights of the year were the grant program, the successful opening of Wahoo BBQ, and the approval of Tractor Supply, which should open sometime next year.


Fluvanna’s plans for Halloween

COVID-19 will not put a damper on Fluvanna County’s Halloween spirt this year.


Lake Monticello is still on for Halloween and two Lake Monticello residents, Ashely Lucas and Gabe Anderson, are coordinating a “treat map” where other residents can add their location for trick-or-treaters to know where to grab candy on Halloween night.


To add your address to the map, visit the “Lake Monticello Ripple” Facebook page for the active link. For those who do not have access to Facebook, remember to turn on your front light to let trick-or-treaters know you are participating in handing out treats and candy.

“We are urging families to make the best decisions for their families,” said Communications and Member Services Manger Gwen Antesberger. “We recently shared the Virginia Department of Health Guidelines for Halloween.”

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) released a statement on Sept.  22 and acknowledged that this year’s Halloween will be different than years prior due to the pandemic. It also states, “the best way to avoid becoming infected is to avoid being exposed to the virus altogether. This is particularly important for people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This may mean choosing not to participate in Halloween activities during the pandemic.”

For those still wanting to celebrate Halloween, but do not want to take risks going out, VDH suggests some low risk activities such as carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household, a virtual Halloween costume contest, having a Halloween movie night with the people in your household, and even having a Halloween scavenger hunt with your household to enjoy in the safety of your home.

Moderate risk activities include participating in trick-or-treating with distancing strategies in place. For example, if households provide individually wrapped goodie bags, the bags could be linked up for trick-or-treaters to grab either at the end of a driveway or edge of a yard. If households decided to hand out individual bags, the VDH strongly suggests washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags. Other moderate risk activities are stopping at houses where individuals are wearing masks and maintaining a minimum of six feet, attending a small, outside event such as trunk-or-treat, where social distancing can be maintained and everyone is wearing a mask, and finally, visiting a pumpkin patch or orchard while wearing a mask and maintaining at least a six foot distance apart.

As for the highest risk activity, the VHD says, “events that involve large gatherings of individuals (e.g. large Halloween parties, haunted houses, etc.) can increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and are not recommended.”

High risk activities include trick-or-treating to a large number of houses or visiting multiple neighborhoods where participants go door to door; trick-or-treating at houses where individuals are not wearing a mask and/or not maintaining six feet distance; attending crowded parties or events; going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household, and going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming.

Fluvanna County Parks and Recreation (FCPR) will also be hosting its annual Halloween event on Sunday, Oct.  25, from 3 to 5 p.m.  Instead of the large festival event, FCPR is taking the event down a notch and hosting a Trunk or Treat drive thru. Attendees will drive thru the parking lot and have the option to pick up a bag of goodies for their child at a non-contact pickup station.

While COVID-19 is changing traditions this year, there are plenty of ways to still celebrate Halloween while maintaining safety guidelines.

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