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|Board Members Present:||
Fitzgerald A. Barnes, Dan W. Byers, Willie L. Gentry, Jr., Willie L. Harper, Richard A. Havasy, P.T. Spencer, Jr. and Jack T. Wright|
|Others Present:||Dale Mullen, County Administrator/County Attorney; Ernie McLeod, Deputy County Administrator; Jeremy Camp, Director of Community Development; Kevin Linhares, Director of Facilities Management; Bob Hardy, Director of Information Technology; Robert Dubé, Fire Chief; Jane Shelhorse, Director of Parks and Recreation; Sherry Vena, Director of Human Resources; April Lowe, Acting Office Manager, Administration; Zuwana Morgan, Deputy Clerk, Administration; and Brittany Shupe, Records Clerk, Administration|
CALL TO ORDER
On motion of Mr. Barnes, seconded by Mr. Havasy, which carried by a vote of 7-0, the Board voted to reconvene the meeting.
Chairman Harper called the March 11, 2009 Budget meeting of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors to order at 6:00 p.m. Mr. Wright led the invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Budget Message Dale Mullen
Mr. Mullen read over the following budget message;
Louisa County is committed to providing financial sustainability for Louisa County. The Board of Supervisors is committed to working to emphasize the importance of fiscal responsibility and sound budget management with County Departments, Constitutional Offices and outside agencies. This Budget Message is abbreviated for ease of understanding and discussion in budget workshops and is limited in scope. It does not discuss in any detail the need for reliable and dependable infrastructure in a growing county. It does not discuss, in any great detail, the enormous opportunities for smart residential, commercial and industrial development that can be achieved while maintaining the precious rural, agricultural and historical resources of our county.
This budget only compromises a thumbnail sketch of the stated needs of the citizens of Louisa County as advanced by the various entities funded by Louisa County tax dollars and the resulting revenue generated to fund these needs. It represents hundreds of people hours of diligent examination and tedious work on the part of county staff and others in the constitutional offices, agencies and departments.
Opportunities can be found in this budget for increases in efficiency, effectiveness and economy. Some opportunities seem more readily apparent than others. Some opportunities have been discussed publicly and privately and raised in conversation forsome time. Many of those are addressed in Section Six of this Budget Message.
On March 6, 2009, the Louisa County Board of Supervisors adopted the laudable goal of balancing the budget of Louisa County in difficult economic times with a minimal impact on core public services, taxes and the general fund balance. This balanced budget is made with the intention of presenting the Louisa County Board of Supervisors with a working document from which they might make responsible and wise decisions both mindful of the present difficulty and cognizant of the need to continue to move forward as a body of government and a community of our friends and neighbors. The future for Louisa County is bright but there are challenges. It is stating the obvious to say that this balanced budget is presented in challenging economic times. County Staff and the Board of Supervisors are aware and are sensitive to the perception created when personnel are added during times when many in the private sector are unsure how long they will be working if they are not already out of work. In fact, it is certain that each person reading this document will know a friend, neighbor or family affected by these challenging economic times. It should be remembered that many hired for positions within the county are coming to county service after losing a job or
suffering reduction in work in the private sector.
Louisa County government represents one of the largest employers in Louisa County. Viewed as a business, the County would certainly be one of the largest businesses. The County provides core public services to every man, woman and child in Louisa County. The Louisa County Board of Supervisors is mindful of its duty and county staff is made aware daily of the need to plan for, budget for and provide for the goals and objectives set by the Louisa County Board of Supervisors.
These include planning, budgeting and executing services for Louisa County in an efficient, effective and economical manner that provide:
1. Financial sustainability for Louisa County;
2. High quality, cost effective, core public services that benefit County residentstoday and in generations to come;
3. Regional cooperation to provide cost-effective public utilities like municipal water and wastewater treatment facilities that provide the necessary elements for positive economic development while preserving and protecting the natural resources of our Commonwealth and our rural character;
4. A Certified Location for Business that provides quality opportunities for recreation and attractive, low cost locations for residential and business investment; and,
5. Quality opportunities for education, housing, employment and recreation in a community committed to public safety and supporting professionalism and responsiveness in law enforcement, firefighting and medic services.
It should be immediately observed that nearly 97% of the Countys increase in operational expenses can be attributed to Public Safety - the Central Virginia Regional Jail, expansion of the Fire/Rescue FTEs, and the Sheriffs Department. It is a particularly unfortunate time for participating counties to be asked to supplement the Central Virginia Regional Jail after a long history of self sufficiency by this important public necessity. The County has approved a portion of the Emergency Services Needs Assessment and made the difficult decision to hire paid full time Firefighter/EMTs to provide 14 hour per day; 5 day per week response services during the most difficult hours to staff with the working men and women so valuable to the volunteer services of Louisa County.
The Louisa County Sheriffs Office has experienced an increase in the consumption of fuel for public safety functions. The Louisa County Sheriffs Office has also grown in size and functions. The budgeted amount for fuel has not grown with the needs of the
office. Additionally, continued reliance on foreign oil and the resulting volatility and unpredictability in the fuel markets of the United States must be considered. These appear as a budget increase in requested amounts for fuel in the budget of the Louisa County Sheriffs Office.
Internal Controls Communication Control of Budget Overruns
Undetected and unreported overruns in the budget are not acceptable and are not in keeping with sound financial accountability and professional leadership practices. Measures are currently being put in place and over the remainder of calendar year 2009 and going into 2010 the Board can expect to see greater awareness and communication in reporting and controlling budget overruns in all departments and constitutional offices. This will be accomplished through rapid but sound development and rigorous implementation of internal audit and inspection functions from the offices of the County Administrator and the County Attorney. The Louisa County Board of Supervisors and the citizens who elected them can expect accountability greater than those mandated as minimum financial accountability standards by the Virginia Code.
Improvement of routine reporting standards for potential budget overruns within constitutional offices and county departments is also expected. This will include, but is not limited to, increased accountability and controls for overtime and accrued leave in Constitutional offices and county departments.
It is also a mandate from the Board of Supervisors to the County Administrator to take those steps necessary and make appropriate recommendations to ensure responsible investment and allocation of the of the general fund balance to provide a true picture of the economic condition of the county and to provide for sustainability for debt service in difficult economic times present and future.
Structuring New Debt
In the past, the County has followed a very conservative methodology for capital projects by paying for them in cash. That methodology is called “pay as you go.” The exception to this practice has been the process of borrowing from VPSA for building schools, such as the Moss-Nuckols Elementary School. The County borrowed VPSA funding in FY 08 and we are in the process of borrowing additional funds in FY 09 for the Moss-Nuckols Elementary School. The proposal is to pay cash for the Regional Waste Water Treatment project, but to borrow funds in FY 09 for the Zion Crossroads Waste Water Treatment
In the proposed FY 10 operational budget, it is recommended to increase the Debt Services Fund for the VPSA bonds for the Moss-Nuckols Elementary School by $381,318. The initial debt payment for Zion Crossroads Waste Water Treatment Project can be carried over from FY 09, but this fund will have a major increase in FY 11.
Overall, revenue is $83,537,991. This represents a decrease of $650,114, which is a 0.774% decrease in funds from FY 09. The Louisa County Public Schools (LCPS) revenue of $24,073,931 is included in the Countys revenue. The Schools revenue comes from the Commonwealth, Federal, and other local funds. This represents a decrease of $1,856,763, which is a 7.16% decrease from FY 09. These revenues are the schools estimate of funds to be received and it does not consider the Federal Stimulus package. It is estimated that the LCPS will receive approximately $1,175,367 in additional funding. It is not known what restrictions the funding will contain.
The landfill enterprise revenue from tipping fees has not increased. The revenue generated is projected to be $465,000 or 32% of the operational cost. As approximately 68% of the revenue from the landfill enterprise fund is coming from the general fund, a committee has been reviewing the tipping fees, recycling initiatives, and how to treat gated communities.
The Social Services Fund has increased revenue $30,404, which is a 1.21% increase. This increase can be attributed to increase funding from the state of $20,431, which is a 2.5% increase. The Federal funds increased $9,973, which is a .06% increase. The local dollars of the budget has increased $99,695, which is a 7.5% increase.
As a new fund, the revenue for the CSA (Comprehensive Services Act) budget has been located within the Countys general fund revenue, but it is recommended to create a separate fund this year so as the local funds required for the program would be available. Because of inclusion last year, the revenue numbers are not necessarily immediately comparable.
Mr. Mullen said the General Fund needed to be addressed and he thought the recommendation of a Finance Committee was a good first step.
Mr. Mullen said the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is $4,848,330 and it showed a decrease of $19,705,955, which is an 80.3 percent decrease in funds from FY 09. The Louisa County Public Schools CIP request is $1,424,000, which was 29.4 percent, of the requested funds.
Mr. Mullen said he had seven recommendations for the Board to adopt;
1. Flat Real Estate Taxes, Leave the real estate tax rate flat at 62 pennies per hundred. The operational budget was balanced without any supplemental funding from the General Fund;
2. Prevent, Detect and Correct Budget Overruns: It is recommended that the offices of the County Administrator acting in concert with but reporting separately to the Board of Supervisors institute such policies and procedures as are reasonable and necessary to detect, report and control overruns in the budget of Louisa County;
3. Favorable Contract Terms with Full Performance: Louisa County deserves the best services and most favorable contractual terms that can be negotiated and full performance from all vendors once the contract has been executed. Great care must be taken to avoid unilaterally renewable contracts and no contract for goods and services should be executed that does not make the interest of Louisa County first and foremost;
4. Internal Controls: You cant manage what you cant observe or measure. Wise development and rigorous implementation of internal audit and inspection functions and implementation of objective performance measures is imperative. It should be the policy of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors to direct the County Administrator and the County Attorney to address this policy directive in a comprehensive manner. This should include, but should not be limited to, implementation of control measures and added accountability at every level, implementation of standards and measurable objectives through means already available through the ICMA, VACo or like entities and/or implementation of these at the county level to suit the needs of Louisa County. Monitoring of the goods and services provided under contract for the county should remain a top priority in this measure as in recommendation number 3, supra;
5. A Focus on Creation of CSA Cost Containment Measures: The Louisa County CSA Cost Containment and Efficiency Study Report presented to the Louisa County Board of Supervisors presented a shocking picture of rising CSA costs; expanding CSA and Foster care caseloads and limited attention paid to cost containment, planning and resource development in these important and mandated services. An immediate emphasis must be placed on implementation of reasonable and appropriate cost containment measures;
6. Finance Committee: It is my recommendation the Louisa County Chairman create a Finance Committee to provide oversight for all financial policies, internal controls, procurement policies, financial planning, debt issuance, budget development, investment overview and other fiscal related issues;
7. Development of Programs, Opportunities and Services for the County and County Residents from the County: Louisa County has capable staff and is able to provide some services that may have formerly been handled under private contract. The Louisa County Board of Supervisors should find opportunities to use these resources and study the efficiency, effectiveness and economy of providing services in house with county staff and resources. Making formerly contracted services a public function may not always best serve Louisa County but opportunities should be considered and explored.
Mr. Mullen said none of this would be possible without Mr. McLeod and his leadership in the Finance Department.
Mr. Spencer asked would the Finance Committee consist of two or three Board Members making decisions for the whole Board.
Mr. Mullen said anytime there were more than two Board Members the meeting had to be advertized, so it could not be more than two. Mr. Mullen said Finance Committee would come up with polices and bring them back to the Board. Mr. Mullen said he thought the Finance Committee should talk about the General Fund first, but it was the Boards committee.
Mr. Byers asked was all stimulus monies grants. Mr. Mullen said some would be grants, some forgivable loans, and other low interest financing.
Mr. Gentry said it thought the budget was very well done and he liked the summary statement.
Discussion Budget Message Details Ernie McLeod
Mr. McLeod explained pages 13 - 25 of the Budget Message Book.
Mr. Harper said in the past there was a contingency that was kept for the increases in fuel and Mr. Mullen and Mr. McLeod both spoke of the consumption of fuel in the Sheriffs Office. Mr. Harper said if they had the same number of vehicles how were they coming up short. Mr. Harper asked did the county come up short each year for fuel. Mr. McLeod said gasoline was in the transportation fund.
Mr. Harper said they said consumption not cost and the Board had agreed that those funds would not go into any Departments budget.
Mr. McLeod said the funds could be moved back into the General Fund.
Mr. Barnes said a lot of localities were using GPS which also tracks mileage. Mr. Barnes said he agreed with Mr. Harper that the fund for gasoline should be in the contingency fund.
Mr. Mullen asked what would be a good indicator to project what they thought the fuel cost would be.
Mr. Byers said he thought the county equipped vehicles with more equipment so they would be able to make fewer trips to the office.
Mr. McLeod said in FY 09 there was a wireless project to put hot spots out.
Mr. Havasy said he thought the Board should be cautious by automatically assuming that the county would get a cost savings by the staff being able to file their reports outside because they couldnt sit there and do nothing they had to go about their business so no gas would be saved.
Mr. Spencer said the guidelines he would go by was how much gas was burnt last year, not the cost but the gallons.
Mr. Mullen said he would mark this for a closer look investigation.
Mr. Byers said on page 16 Mr. McLeod spoke about collections being up and asked did Mr. McLeod mean the collection of funds that were currently owed.
Mr. McLeod said it was the Treasurers ratio of what she had done in the past.
Mr. Byers said were we able to determine after the collection process the net gain. Mr. McLeod said the county received all the taxes collected.
Mr. Byers said but there should be a fee to collect. Mr. McLeod said the citizen who owed the taxes has to pay a fee on top of their owed taxes.
Mr. Byers said on the last line on page 24 where it showed $4.3 million did that mean the county spent more than it budgeted for. Mr. McLeod said the county didnt have enough revenue to pay for all its capital. Mr. McLeod said the $4.3 would be transferred to cover the capital and that was how he knows he was in balance.
Revenue Ernie McLeod
Mr. McLeod said $945,101.39 was collected in real estate tax and $136,417.49 in personal property tax which equaled $1,081,518.88.
Mr. Harper asked if the collection rates were tracked through the years would they be the same now that they were then. Mr. McLeod said the Treasurer would have to go back and put the tax year into the tax program then it would tell the ratio.
Capital Improvement Plan Ernie McLeod
Mr. McLeod said the Planning Commission recommended $6,003.330 for the CIP and the County Administrator recommended $4,848,330.
Mr. McLeod said the Planning Commission added funds to the James River Water Project and the County Administrator did not. Mr. McLeod said if the Regional Water Authority borrows the money then it should not be in the countys CIP. Mr. McLeod said he would recommend it be moved to the general fund. Mr. McLeod said the fund could be dedicated to pay the debt service or the funds could be used to pay down principle.
Mr. Byers asked what was the project “Public Access to Lake Anna.” Mr. McLeod said the Planning Commission thought there should access for the public to the lake. Mr. McLeod said the $417,770 was Mr. Linhares estimate.
Mr. Harper asked what year was that going to be in. Mr. McLeod said it was placed in FY 10 but the Board could put where they saw fit.
Mr. Spencer said the Game Commission were the ones who were supposed to put the ramps in to give access.
Mr. Mullen said it was a Planning Commission recommendation. Mr. Mullen said there was support from the public and some Board Members to focus on some of the other lakes that were available for public access.
Mr. Gentry said it was old business that the Planning Commission had been talking about for years and they were just basically trying to get it on the wish list.
Mr. Harper said the marina was there but the citizens had to pay each time they launched their boat.
Mr. Gentry said the Planning Commission thought the School projects didnt have accurate estimates and the numbers were broad.
Mr. Havasy said when the county took proffer money they needed to make sure it was put towards a project that it could be used in a certain amount of time so it wasnt lost.
Mr. Gentry said when the county figured out what the proffer amount would be a formula should be put together with items and that would reflect back to those items that determine the proffer to begin with.
Discussion Operation and Maintenance Summary Ernie McLeod
Mr. McLeod explained the summary to the Board.
*Mr. Spencer left the meeting at 7:03 p.m.
Mr. McLeod explained the budget overview on page 37. Mr. McLeod said every Department with health insurance has gone up 60 percent, which was the worst case scenario.
Mr. McLeod said VRS should be flat, he did put in a salary increase because of the health insurance increase and CPI was 5 ˝ for calendar year 08.
Mr. Byers asked was the water project on page 40 the one with Fluvanna County. Mr. McLeod answered no that was the one with the Town of Louisa.
Mr. McLeod said the county would be paying for the flow. Mr. McLeod said if it went from 100 to 700 the cost would go up because there would be more flow.
Mr. Harper asked was it based on usage. Mr. McLeod said yes.
Mr. Wright said when Dr. Morgan was on the Board he asked for updates on the COTT system and the Board was promised updates and they had not been getting them.
Mr. McLeod said he thought there was something in the Board Packet last year and he would go back and look.
Mr. McLeod said there was an issue coming up about staying with the COTT system or moving to the Supreme Court system.
Mr. Wright said how would they know what needed to done because they had not been getting updates.
Mr. Mullen said he didnt know if the Board received updates or not because this was the first he heard about it. Mr. Mullen said he did speak with the Clerk during the budget process and she was convinced that the county should not switch to the Supreme Courts system so he asked her to put together information and after he had an opportunity to look at he would set up a presentation for the Board.
Mr. Wright asked was the Supreme Court system a new system because when the court got the COTT system the Board was told it was the best system out there.
Mr. Byers said it was very important when new programs were put in place they were able to be monitored to know the impact, revenue and expenditures.
* Mr. Barnes left at 7:13 p.m.
Mr. Harper said one of the things they wanted to look at was the timeline between a transaction and when it hit the books.
Mr. Gentry asked why was the Resource Council and Volunteer of Louisa budget combined.
Mr. McLeod said they were collapsed on the summary but separate on page 40. Mr. McLeod said Social Services Agencies and Aging were done the same way.
Mr. Gentry said he just thought the budgets were big enough to be separated. Mr. McLeod said they were different line items.
Mr. Gentry said he was on the Board of Directors for VOL and the Boards Liaison for VOL and it was important to him it be shown differently.
Mr. Harper asked would the Board be talking about the initiative to re-excavate and re-intern waste to gain space. Mr. McLeod said yes the committee should go through that.
Mr. Havasy said on page 85 under Personal Services he asked was there any follow up on how donations were spent or how many people were provided the service.
Mr. McLeod said they normally put it in their budget request.
Mr. McLeod said he cut the Ag Fairs budget because of what he felt that the Board was saying about giving to groups. Mr. McLeod said he also cut the Transportation Safety Commissions budget because they hadnt been using all their funds.
Mr. Gentry said the Transportation Safety Commission hadnt been doing a lot in the past couple of years but they had picked up and he hoped the $1,200 would be enough.
Mr. Byers asked what was the money for Mineral DMV for. Mr. McLeod said there was $150,000 that was accumulated and the $100,000 gives them what they asked for. Mr. McLeod said this had been going on for four or five years.
Mr. Wright asked wasnt the money for a new building. Mr. McLeod said that was correct.
Mr. Harper said the Board would be coming up with more question once they had more time to look through everything.
Mr. McLeod said it was good to have a quick overview and then they would have time look through everything.
Mr. Gentry said this was a really hard job this year and this showed a lot of effort was made.
Mr. Mullen said what the Board was seeing was a finishing project not a finished project. Mr. Mullen said he and Mr. McLeod had to send people back to the drawing board with their original budgets. Mr. Mullen said they came a point where they had to make a decision to get funds out of the general fund or make cuts and Mr. McLeod was able to make cuts to come up with $500,000. Mr. Mullen said this was a unique and hard budget.
Mr. McLeod said hoped health insurance would come down.
Mr. Havasy asked what the $50,000 for the Historical Society and the $369,281 for community organization was for. Mr. McLeod said the Historical Society didnt ask for anything that amount was for FY 09. Mr. McLeod said it looked like a grant that came in but he would have to look into that because it was the actual amount for FY 08.
Mr. Byers said he would like everyone who dealt with the public to be consistent and he would like to find ways to do that.
Mr. Mullen said he thought it was a good idea for some of the joint meetings and he would come back with ideas as well.
Mr. Gentry asked would the Board have another opportunity to ask more questions. Mr. McLeod said yes.
Mr. Mullen said a budget was just a guide. Mr. Mullen said he was most proud that no one had to be laid off, the rainy day fund hasnt been touched and there still was a general fund balance.
Mr. Gentry said he was exposed to a lot of other counties and their Boards and he has heard a lot of doom and gloom. Mr. Gentry said the county had done an exceptional job and it took everyone to do it.
Mr. Gentry said the Transportation Safety Commission took the time to make a resolution in support of leaving the Louisa County VDOT Residency open. Mr. Gentry said the Commission would like the Board to give their support and forward to Senator Houck, Delegate Janis and Butch Davis.
On motion of Mr. Havasy, seconded by Mr. Wright, which carried by a vote of 5-0, with Messers Barnes and Spencer being absent, the Board voted to notify their representatives of their support of the Transportation Safety Commissions resolution that was adopted on March 9, 2009.
Mr. Wright said the Thomas Jefferson Planning District also discussed the closing the Louisa Residency and their concern was the retention of their Resident Administrator. Mr. Wright said they said Louisa and Culpeper Administrators had more experience. Mr. Wright said he was asked to support a resolution to keep Resident Administrator in Charlottesville. Mr. Wright said he sent a letter back saying the top priority was to keep Louisas Resident Administrator.
Mr. Gentry said they know the senior person may be able to bump the others and they were afraid of that happening.
On motion of Mr. Wright, seconded by Mr. Byers, which carried by a vote of 5-0, with Messers Barnes and Spencer being absent, the Board voted to adjourn the March 11, 2009 meeting at 7:41 p.m.
BY ORDER OF
WILLIE L. HARPER, CHAIRMAN
LOUISA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
LOUISA COUNTY, LOUISA, VIRGINIA