Supervisors hear about opioids, illegal road signs, pay raises

By Heather Michon

With budget season behind them, the Board of Supervisors met for a fairly laid-back session on Wednesday (May 3).

The only issues up for a vote were recognizing Older Americans Month, Public Service Awareness Week, and a letter of support for a Region Ten grant application. All three passed on votes of 5-0.

Region Ten is applying for a $1.7 million grant from the state’s Opioid Abatement Authority (OAA), funding they could use to support their opioid recovery programs across the district.

“Having all six [Region Ten] jurisdictions support this would help,” said Assistant County Administrator Kelly Belanger Harris. 

The grant is separate from funds Fluvanna can receive directly from the OAA. Virginia is slated to receive $610 million over the next decade or more as part of the nationwide class action lawsuit brought against pharmaceutical manufacturers for sparking the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Illegal road signs

County Administrator Eric Dahl gave a presentation on a potential partnership with VDOT that could help cut down on signs being placed in VDOT’s right-of-way.

The state code prohibits the placing of any sort of signs, including political signs, in the VDOT right-of-way. Although it can vary based on the type of road, County Attorney Fred Payne said the right-of-way generally extends 15 feet on each side from the center line of a roadway, for a total of 30 feet. 

Under another statute, Fluvanna could enter into an agreement with VDOT that would allow the agency to levy a civil penalty of $100 per sign placed in a right-of-way.

For political signs, VDOT would notify campaigns about sign placement before any sign was removed. If illegally placed political signs were to be removed, VDOT would have to remove all non-political signs from the same stretch of roadway.

If Fluvanna were to make an agreement with VDOT, a county staffer would likely have to be designated to keep track of reports, photos, and paperwork on potential violations.

While the agreement would reduce visual clutter along Fluvanna’s roads, the county wouldn’t see a financial benefit from the program. Money collected through fines would go into VDOT’s maintenance funds.

Supervisors raised several issues around the idea, which Dahl said he would pass on to VDOT officials. 

Supervisors salary

Another issue that will return to the agenda in the coming weeks is a potential salary increase for supervisors. 

Under state law, a Board of Supervisors can change salaries in an election year where two or more seats are up for election. Changes have to be made before June 30 of the election year and go into effect in January of the following year.

Supervisors currently receive approximately $750-850 per month. They last voted on salary in 2019, when they approved a $100-per-month increase, the first raise since around 2008. Per their bylaws, they are also allowed some travel and mileage reimbursements. Salaries and reimbursements are paid out their contingency funds.

Dahl said he would bring some data on what comparable counties pay their supervisors within the next month.

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