Supervisors wrestle with budget

By Heather Michon

The Board of Supervisors voted on Wednesday night (March 15) to set the maximum advertised budget for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) at $104,261,993.  

The vote came after a lengthy pre-meeting work session that drilled down on some of the outstanding issues that need to be decided before the finalized budget is approved in mid-April. 

During the two-hour work session, supervisors agreed to a staff pay increase of seven percent. A five-percent increase had already been built into the proposed budget, but the additional two percent will keep county staff increases in line with the school staff increases. 

Capital improvement projects (CIPs) for FY24 total around $5.2 million, with several requests deferred until FY2025 or beyond. However, the supervisors did approve an additional $70,000 to Parks and Recreation to construct a cover to the performance stage at Pleasant Grove Park by a narrow 3-2 vote. They also agreed to add $452,000 to the historic courthouse renovation, which should help push forward critical structural repairs to the 192-year-old building.

The biggest remaining issue is likely to be the school budget. Fluvanna County Public Schools has requested $22.4 million in local funding, approximately $2.7 million above the previous year. Supervisors have not committed to fully funding the request, but the current plan would give the schools at least $2 million.

Based on discussions at their March 8 work session, Tony O’Brien (Rivanna) said he supported giving the schools an additional $325,000, in the hopes it would be targeted toward mental health services. This figure was based on comments made by Children Service’s Act (CSA) Program Director Bryan Moeller that his department had to increase its budget to that amount, in part because the schools do not currently have a robust mental health program.

After some debate, a majority of members reached a consensus to increase the school budget by an additional $200,000 as a placeholder until they could have a more in-depth discussion about the schools at a future work session.

As the name implies, the maximum advertised budget sets the ceiling for the year; supervisors cannot exceed that dollar amount in the final budget. The $104 million is based on a real estate tax of $0.84 per $100 and a personal property tax of $4.15 per $100. This is two cents below the maximum advertised real estate tax rate set earlier this year. 

In other matters, supervisors approved an overhaul of the pay bands and classifications for public utility operators for the county’s water and wastewater facilities. 

Assistant Director of Public Works Robert Popowicz and Utilities Manager Matthew Mitchell gave a detailed presentation on the county’s current water and wastewater facilities and the long-term plans for growth. They believe their proposed job classification structure would help the county meet the increasing needs for trained utilities operators and create a more defined career path for employees by creating salary incentives to pursue higher levels of certification.

Supervisors also approved a second deferral for the Vaughn Property Group of Chantilly. Vaughn has been moving through the zoning process for a 870,000 square foot flexible distribution space that would straddle both sides of Rt. 15, about a mile south of the Zion Crossroads intersection.

At a public hearing in January, supervisors approved a re-zoning for one of two parcels Vaughn hopes to develop, but a hearing on a second parcel was deferred for 60 days to give the company time to analyze new data that had come in on wetlands on the property. 

Developer John Vaughn told the supervisors that further investigation of the parcel had found more extensive wetlands than previously known, and had also found a small cemetery on the property. He asked for an additional 90 days to look into these findings. The public hearing is now scheduled for June 21.

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138