Supervisors approve new social services position

With only four items on the agenda, the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors completed its regular meeting on Wednesday (Oct. 4) in just over an hour.

Kim Mabe, director of social services, won approval to add a new staff member to the department. She said her current staff have “very crisis-driven positions,” and are often out of the office. Their heavy caseloads make it difficult for them to keep up with state-mandated paperwork. An office assistant would make it easier to keep up with paperwork and purchasing orders, she said.

Mabe requested $15,492 to fund the position for the remainder of this fiscal year and said she would need another $19,000 from the county in the coming year. The balance of the position’s salary would come from state and federal matching funds.  

Supervisors Mozell Booker and Patricia Eager both signaled strong support for Mabe’s request. “This may even help us retain some people, because I know what a burden this paperwork is,” said Booker.

“I think $19,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to what we might lose in a [state] audit,” said Supervisor Don Weaver. The motion passed 5-0.

Finance Director Eric Dahl gave members a preview of the final numbers for the end of fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30. The fiscal year takes months to close out. 

Preliminary figures show a surplus of $609,562, “and that number is going to change and it is going to go up,” Dahl said. Most county departments look like they will be coming in under-budget and he said their initial analysis is that “there could be $3 million going back in the fund balance” when all the data is in and the audits are completed.

“Repeat after Mr. Dahl: these numbers are preliminary,” County Administrator Steve Nichols said, noting that a more complete financial picture will be available when the supervisors begin tackling next year’s budget in early December.

The public works department asked for an allocation of $18,675 for the Convenience Center on West River Road. Analyst Mary Anna Twisdale explained to the Board that the costs of processing refrigerant from discarded appliances and unexpected repairs to the facility’s scale had pushed the department over budget for the year. 

The members approved the allocation and quickly fell into a wider discussion of Convenience Center revenue streams. The current rates are $57 per ton for household trash and debris, $10 apiece for appliances, and $5 to $25 for tires.

Wayne Stephens, director of public works, explained that revenues have been drifting lower in recent years as County Waste and other companies expanded their services around Fluvanna. Since the landfill closed in 2007, the county has contracted with haulers to remove the trash collected at the Convenience Center, and those hauling fees have crept up over time.

Stephens said they might want to give some consideration to raising the fees for appliances. Processing refrigerant in accordance with the law is expensive, and increasing the rates might defray some of the cost.

Weeks away from the November election, members approved a temporary amendment to the county code to move the central absentee voting precinct from the Historic Courthouse to the nearby Weaver Building. County Attorney Fred Payne explained that ongoing work at the old courthouse meant the building would not be available during the absentee voting period. 

Gary Ellis received a certificate recognizing his 25 years of service to the county as a member of various boards and committees. Booker was surprised with a certificate from the Virginia Association of Counties celebrating her 10 years of service.