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The Board of Supervisors met all day Saturday (Jan. 20) to hash out Fluvanna County’s direction moving forward into 2018.

Sitting in the new Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire Department building, supervisors pored over two lengthy lists: their strategic initiatives and their goals from the 2015 iteration of the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
Rather than taking concrete actions reserved for regular Wednesday meetings, supervisors spent their time reworking the lists: removing items deemed to be complete, adding tasks that have arisen over the past year, and tweaking plans that need further attention.

Master water and sewer plan
Developing a master water and sewer plan for Fluvanna County needs to be the Board’s top utilities goal for the year, said Wayne Stephens, director of public works.

Supervisor goals called for providing water and sewer to the county’s community planning areas (CPAs), but Stephens said the language was too vague. Instead, supervisors need to come up with an actual plan as to how to accomplish that task, he said – an undertaking that will require significant study.

“Until we have some serious looking into the topography and the geographic layout of our CPAs, and have somebody looking at how you would provide water and sewer on such and such a road… Until you start generally mapping some of that stuff out, you’re not really going to know how much it’s going to cost to provide water and sewer to a certain area,” Stephens said.

The county has undertaken two major water projects: the James River Water Authority, which will pipe water from the James River through Louisa to Zion Crossroads, and the Zion Crossroads water system, which will take water from the women’s prison on Route 250 and route it to the Zion Crossroads area.

The prison can process between 100,000 and 125,000 gallons per day of sewage from Zion Crossroads system usage, but, as Supervisor Tony O’Brien said, the county needs a long-term sewage plan.
Stephens said completing phase one of a master water and sewer plan would constitute “a doable goal for this year.” He anticipates a phase two and phase three.

What worked, what didn’t
County Administrator Steve Nichols urged supervisors to consider what worked and what didn’t in 2017.

The county moved forward in tough economic times in as conservative a manner as possible, said O’Brien. He also said that the communication gap between old members and new members of Fluvanna has improved.
“If you were doing badly, you’d have a heck of a lot more citizens at your meetings,” said Nichols. “We have almost no public attendance at most of the meetings.”

Supervisor Mozell Booker said that relations with the School Board could improve. “I like our conferences, our relationship with the School Board, but I’m also kind of disappointed at how some things have fallen out with them,” she said. “It just [seems] that we get a good relationship, a good click, and then something happens that kind of backs us up.”

O’Brien referenced what he called a “communications breakdown” between some residents and their leaders. Some residents raise issues but aren’t aware of the steps the county is already taking to address those issues, he said, due to a breakdown in communication. “Parts of it [communications] we do a good job, but there’s also a big gap that still lies there,” he said.

Credit card payment issues
The attempt to allow residents to pay county bills with credit cards didn’t work, supervisors learned.

Software between the county and PayGOV, the company the county selected, did not integrate well. “We’re going to have to issue a new request for proposals and be very specific in the requirements that the software seamlessly implement with the [county’s] financial software system,” said Eric Dahl, finance director and deputy county administrator.

Palmyra streetscape

The village of Palymra is due for a facelift, Stephens said.

The county hopes to implement a streetscape program for Palmyra similar to the one completed in Fork Union. It could include new streetlights, sidewalk improvements, drainage improvements, and plans to “make the whole village a little more pedestrian-friendly,” Stephens said.

A concept plan could cost $8,000 to $10,000, and money for implementation may come from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), he said.

The county is working with VDOT on a traffic plan for the village. Also, a group within the Fluvanna Leadership Development Program wants to create a master plan for Civil War Park, to include landscaping and mapping locations for additional monuments.

Monthly treasurer reports missing
“We’re still looking for monthly treasurer’s reports,” said Nichols. “It’s kind of a state code requirement.”

Sample reports have been provided to Treasurer Linda Lenherr, Nichols said. Monthly reports would give the public, as well as supervisors, a better understanding of the county’s financials.

“How do we require it?” asked Booker.

“You made a pretty strong requirement here two years ago and it hasn’t worked out well yet,” Nichols said.

Supervisors have no authority over Lenherr, an elected constitutional officer.

“I think it’s important with regard to our efforts in promoting transparency that we have strong treasurer reports,” said O’Brien.

Road improvements
Supervisors discussed asking VDOT to consider installing a stoplight at the intersection of Route 53 and Turkeysag Trail by Lake Monticello.

They also considered requesting either a stoplight or hill leveling at the intersection of Route 53 and Route 619 (Ruritan Lake Road).

Supervisors again mentioned the danger inherent to the roads around Lake Monticello’s Monish Gate on Route 53 and Riverside Gate on Route 600 (South Boston Road). Improvements at these locations are complicated because Lake Monticello is a private entity.

The passing zone on Route 616 (Union Mills Road) may also receive scrutiny.