Most tax bills will go up

By Heather Michon

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $110 million county budget for FY22 during their regular meeting on Wednesday night (April 14).

The real estate tax rate was set at $0.884 per $100, with an equalized rate of $0.865. While lower than the FY21 tax rate of $0.952, most homes have increased in value in the most recent assessment, so the average homeowner will see an increase of 2.19 percent in their annual tax bill.

The 110,600,979 budget includes a major investment of $25 million in capital improvement projects covering building projects and equipment and infrastructure repairs and replacement.

“I think we’ve been as good on this one as we’ve ever been,” said Chair Mike Sheridan (Columbia).

When Sheridan asked if anyone wanted to make a motion to approve the budget, Supervisors Tony O’Brien (Rivanna) said “I think this is an excellent budget and I’m happy to make it.”

Supervisor Mozell Booker (Fork Union) seconded the motion, and all members said “aye.”

“That’s a sweet sound,” said Sheridan.

“Board, I’d just really like to thank you,” said County Administrator Eric Dahl. “We had to make some tough decisions, but I think from a community standpoint, a staff standpoint, I think we took some big steps and this is a really great budget for the community as a whole and staff, so thank you.”


The mood changed slightly later in the meeting as the issue of last summer’s resolution condemning the killing of Geroge Floyd came back to the forefront.

The question of whether to term Floyd’s death as “killing” or “murder” sparked contentious debate among members last June, with some members arguing that the courts had not yet weighed in on the manner of death. The final version of the resolution did not include the word “murder.”

At the top of Wednesday’s meeting, Haden Parrish of Palmyra spoke during public comments and asked the members to revise the resolution now that a Minneapolis jury had found former police officer Derrick Chauvin guilty of murder.

Supervisors Booker brought the question up during a discussion of new business.

County Attorney Fred Payne said he did not recommend a change at this time, given that the verdict has not been formally entered by the judge and is likely to face appeal.

“I think it’s very questionable whether an elected official should be speaking out on the matter that’s within the scope or jurisdiction of the judiciary,” he said.

“I’m not trying to prejudice anybody against anything,” said Ms. Booker, arguing that she was talking about changing a single word of the resolution.

O’Brien, who had joined Booker in calling for stronger wording last June, reiterated that position, but said he was fine with tabling the discussion until all the legal issues were resolved if it made other members of the Board more comfortable.

“I commend Mr. Parrish for holding the board kind of accountable to what was the original idea of what we were trying to say, that Fluvanna County is committed to equity and justice and equal treatment of all of its citizens,” he added.

Ms. Booker said she disagreed with the idea of tabling the debate, but would go along with the revisiting it later. “I’ll probably be off the board by then,” she said.

She felt that the resolution had become “just a piece of paper” and that the county hasn’t created many opportunities to build community unity given the restrictions imposed by COVID.

O’Brien believed that the resolution was an important statement of shared values and should be put up as a plaque in the county administration building. This suggestion got support from Sheridan, Booker, and Supervisor Patricia Eager (Palmyra).

When asked if he agreed, Supervisor Don Weaver (Cunningham) said “I don’t know whether I am or not. It seems to me like we keep stoking the flames all the time — “

“Just say no,” Mrs. Booker interjected.

Weaver continued, arguing  “why can’t we just sit back and relax?”

“We can’t sit back and relax,” said Booker.

“Well, you can’t, but I can,” Weaver replied.

“So sit back and relax, Don,” Booker responded. “Just say no.”

“I am,” he said. “I’m tired of this.”

O’Brien argued that the intention wasn’t to stoke the flames, but “as long as we don’t look for good public and civic discourse, and search and fight for what is the truth and state it as the truth — instead of just make it sound politically correct — we do a disservice.”

The conversion went on for several more minutes and didn’t come to any definitive conclusions, but the issue is likely to come back to the agenda at future meetings.


Before the vote on the budget, supervisors held five back-to-back public hearings on planning and zoning applications, all of which received unanimous approval.

Among the applications was a special use permit for Sun Tribe Development for a new five megawatt solar farm near the intersection of Rt. 600 (South Boston Road) and Rt. 53 (Thomas Jefferson Highway).

The solar array will cover about 60 acres right next to CVEC’s Cunningham substation. Sun Tribe’s proposal includes a 25-foot vegetative buffer to hide the facility from the view of surrounding properties.

According to the company’s proposal, the county could see about $300,000 in real estate tax revenue during the life of the facility. Sun Tribe said the construction would take around six months and would likely be online late in 2022.


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