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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|
* Mr. Barnes arrived at 6:23.
|Others Present:||Dale Mullen, County Administrator; Greg Hoffman, County Attorney; Robert Dubé, Fire Chief; Sherry Vena, Director of Human Resources; Pam Vaughan, Human Resources Generalist; Faye Stewart, Procurement Officer; Amanda Reidelbach, Office Manager, Administration; and Alyson Simpson, Deputy Clerk, Administration|
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Harper called the May 6, 2009 meeting of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors to order at 6:00 p.m. Mr. Spencer led the invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
TOPICS OF DISCUSSION
Discussion - County Medical Insurance Committee Findings
Mr. David Blanchard said the Board had asked for one additional option to be examined and that was for the County to cover the entire insurance increase and not split the increase with the employee, which would not cause any increase in the employee payroll deduction. Mr. Blanchard said that would result in an additional $470,000 for the County to pay.
Mr. Havasy asked what members or staff made up the County Medical Insurance Committee. Mr. Mullen said the Committee was formed several years ago and for a while, it was not used. Mr. Mullen said the Board representatives were Mr. Wright and Mr. Byers and the Committee also included ad hoc members from Constitutionals and County staff. Mr. Mullen said he, Mr. Paul Oswell, Mr. Jack Wright, Ms. Sherry Vena, Ms. Nancy Pleasants, Ms. Gloria Layne, Ms. Patty Madison, Ms. Pam Baughman, Dr. Deborah Pettit, Mr. Halsey Greene, Mr. Greg Hoffman and Mr. McLeod were all present at the meeting when the recommendations and alternatives were discussed.
Mr. Mullen said it was very difficult to reach the proposal because Southern Health required a certain amount of money to even provide insurance coverage. Mr. Mullen said the money had to come from somewhere and there were only three things that could change: the benefits plan, the employee contribution, or the employer match rate. Mr. Mullen said the Committee did not feel they could act in a policy way and change the employer match rate. Mr. Mullen said the Committee tried to come up with a way to alter the plan so that it would not be too burdensome on the employee. Mr. Mullen said the Committee reviewed different options and determined that some of them were unreasonable to the employee, some of them were unreasonable to the County and some of the plans had too much lost value for the employee.
Mr. Havasy said he thought the co pays and deductibles were higher when the County had Anthem as their provider. Mr. Havasy said Southern Health cost as low as $10 co pay and $200 deductible and he asked how much that feature cost the County. Mr. Havasy said he felt if the co pays and deductibles are low, it would encourage the employee to misuse the system.
Mr. Blanchard said Anthem did offer a $500 deductible plan as well as a $200 deductible plan, but their $20 co pay was across the board. Mr. Blanchard said the Southern Health plans have a differential in co pay between Primary Care Physicians (PCP) and Specialists. Mr. Blanchard said Anthem had mandated a split co pay on most of their plans now as well. Mr. Blanchard said he felt that having a lower co pay for PCP visits would generate more utilization.
Mr. Hoffman said the Countys contribution to the employee was based on the $500 deductible plan. Mr. Hoffman said if the employee were to opt up to a “richer” plan, the contribution from the County would be slightly lesser and if the employee opted down, the contribution from the County would be greater.
Mr. Blanchard said the intention behind that idea was to have a consistent contribution to every employee regardless of their plan selection. Mr. Blanchard said the baseline was set at the $500 deductible plan and the employee could chose to buy up or buy down.
Mr. Harper said he thought Mr. Mullen said it was a courageous move for the Committee to do what they did because their decisions were not easy. Mr. Harper said he recognized that and fully intended to support the Committee recommendation. Mr. Harper said he did not like the idea of another $1 million for the County, but he felt the Committee had put a lot of thought and effort into their decision.
Mr. Wright said it was difficult to try and balance out what the employee was going to pay. Mr. Wright said the County had been conservative with salary increases over the last several years and the idea was to help the employees through the health insurance with tax free money and try to have very little adverse effect on their paychecks. Mr. Wright said he felt the Committee had done a good job balancing between the employees needs and the Countys needs. Mr. Wright said he would support the Committee recommendation.
Mr. Havasy he was having a hard time with this decision. Mr. Havasy said he read the information that said civil service employees were seen as receiving less salary and one of the things that attracted them was benefits. Mr. Havasy said he did not want to see an increase to the employees and risk the chance of losing qualified people. Mr. Havasy said he would like to see no employee increase in insurance costs and would not be supporting the Committee recommendation.
Mr. Byers said he felt the recommendation from the Committee was fair. Mr. Byers said the increase in cost was generated by the employees through services that were rendered to them. Mr. Byers said the comment had always been that the County had a very “rich” plan for the employees that offered them many of their needs. Mr. Byers said the belt had to be tightened in many areas and one of the questions was how to best use the money that had been allocated. Mr. Byers said this year could be easier than future years. Mr. Byers said it seemed only reasonable to him for the employee to pay a portion of the increase since the County was paying almost $1 million of the increase. Mr. Byers said he felt the Committee recommendation was fair and reasonable.
Mr. Gentry said he would not support anything that was going to take more money out of the employees paychecks. Mr. Gentry said he thought that was the idea when the health insurance increase was first brought up. Mr. Gentry said there may have been some large claims over the last year, but all the employees are absorbing some of that cost. Mr. Gentry said he did not want to see the employees take-home pay decrease at all in a year when the Board was not considering any raises.
Mr. Spencer said the recommendation from the Committee would have the County paying $583 and the employee paying $417. Mr. Spencer said that was only a $44 difference in the amount of pay.
Mr. Blanchard said what Mr. Spencer was reviewing was an employee who was on the current $500 deductible plan with a family and who chose to buy down to the new, third option $500 deductible plan which would leave the employee with a $44 decrease in their pay. Mr. Blanchard said if the employee chose to stay on their same plan, they would have to pay $80 to $90 more a month.
Mr. Spencer said the County would be paying an additional $129 a month for an employee with a family on the new, third option $500 deductible plan and the employee would only be paying an additional $44. Mr. Spencer said the County had wonderful employees, but the bottom line is that the Board had to look out for the taxpayers, too.
Mr. Spencer said he thought Social Services told Mr. Hoffman that they were not County employees. Mr. Spencer asked why the County was paying their insurance and said he thought the State had Anthem. Mr. Hoffman said it was his understanding that the Board would like to see parity across all the organizations. Mr. Spencer said Social Services said they did not work for the County and he asked where the parity was there. Mr. Hoffman said they are County employees. Mr. Spencer said Social Services said they werent.
* Mr. Barnes arrived 6:23 p.m.
Mr. Mullen said one of the important things to remember was the fact that the Board asked him to try and include everyone under the same “umbrella” to the extent that it was possible for FY 2010.
Mr. Spencer asked if the increase in the amount of money for health insurance for the County included the schools. Mr. Blanchard said yes. Mr. Spencer said it would cost the County $1,470,000 and he asked if the County would still have to pay for the shortfall of funds in the school budget for health insurance. Mr. Harper asked for what shortfall. Mr. Spencer said the school only budgeted for a seven percent increase. Mr. Harper said the amount provided was for all insurance. Mr. Harper said the $1,470,000 would be the amount if the County paid all insurance increases, but the Committee recommendation was the $1 million with the County and the employee splitting the increase.
Mr. Mullen said the School Board was requesting an additional $565,204 to cover the current level of insurance. Mr. Mullen said the school budget contained $521,000 in their non-departmental budget to offset the insurance cost request. Mr. Mullen said because of that, the School Board was only requesting an additional $44,204.
Mr. Mullen said the complicated part about this was the fact that the County and the schools both tried to place money in their budget to cover the insurance increase which was unknown at the time. Mr. Mullen said when the schools budgeted the insurance increase, they were short by $44,204. Mr. Mullen said the County budgeted right on track for the insurance increase and therefore does not have to ask for additional money. Mr. Mullen said that was his current understanding and if he found out that was not the case, he would let the Board know.
Mr. Harper asked Mr. Spencer if he supported the Committee recommendation. Mr. Spencer said yes.
Mr. Barnes said he would certainly like to look at absorbing more of the health insurance costs especially in a year when there are no raises. Mr. Barnes said he was going to support the Committee recommendation, but he would like to look into every chance of lowering those costs.
Mr. Byers said one of the things the Committee needed to be commended on was the fact that they looked into every option and recommended the new, third option buy down plan.
Mr. Barnes said he wanted it noted that he would support the Committee recommendation, but at the first chance to lower costs, he wanted the County to look into that.
Mr. Harper said there were five supporting the Committee recommendation and two against and unless there were any objections, he would like to ask Mr. Mullen to move forward because there was a sign up deadline.
Mr. Barnes said he wanted to note that stimulus money could not be used to cover this expense.
Mr. Mullen stated, for the record, that the $521,000 for the schools health insurance was in the General Fund under Contingency for the County budget.
Discussion - Louisa County Visitors Center at Sargeant Museum
Mr. Spencer said the Louisa Arts Center and the Sargeant Museum asked for CIP funds last year and the Board approved giving the Louisa Arts Center $300,000 over a five year period of time. Mr. Spencer said the Museum requested $50,000 which was for the renovations inside the Sargeant Pettit House. Mr. Spencer said all of these funds were capital. Mr. Spencer said the Board was asked then about operational funds and the answer was no. Mr. Spencer said there had been no budget request up to this point and now there has been a request for $50,000 in operational expenses.
Mr. Harper said this was for the $15,000.
Mr. Spencer said the issue with the $15,000 was tabled from the last budget worksession because the idea is that the County would provide $15,000 and the Town would provide $5,000. Mr. Spencer said the Louisa Town Council voted against the $5,000 unanimously. Mr. Spencer said he recommended tabling the $15,000 again until the Board could find out if the Town or the IDA were going to provide funds. Mr. Spencer said the Visitors Center was going to be a cooperative effort or it would not exist. Mr. Spencer said the Louisa Town Council was undone because Mr. Bob Gibson never made a presentation to them.
Mr. Harper asked Mr. Spencer if he would be okay moving on with the idea that the Board would be receptive of the Visitors Center contingent upon the Town of Louisa providing their portion of $5,000.
Mr. Gentry said he felt it was wrong to separate the $15,000 from the Museum request because there are two different items and they need to be brought together. Mr. Gentry said he felt the only way to justify giving money to the Museum was to create it as a visitors center. Mr. Gentry said that money could be placed in a line item under Tourism. Mr. Gentry said the 15,000 only covered three days for a part-time employee. Mr. Gentry said if the cost of the visitors center was not added into that, there would be no visitors center and there would be no Museum. Mr. Gentry said he would like to cover the establishing the visitors center and send the money that would be used for the Historical Society to a line item under Tourism. Mr. Gentry said the expense of the Visitors Center could be paid for out of that line item and the cost of the Center would be billed to Louisa County from the Historical Society.
Mr. Harper said the requests were presented separately. Mr. Gentry said his suggestion was to bring the two items together. Mr. Harper asked that the Board not change the request too much. Mr. Harper said Mr. Spencer was supportive of the $15,000 and Mr. Gentry was not unless the two requests were combined.
Mr. Mullen asked if it mattered whether or not the money came from the IDA or the Town of Louisa. Mr. Spencer said he was told by Mr. Brian Marks that the IDA may provide the Town a few hundred dollars, which was a far shot from $5,000. Mr. Spencer said the thing that had the Town concerned was that Mr. Gibson did not give them a presentation on the Visitors Center.
Mr. Byers said he felt there was merit to what Mr. Gentry said. Mr. Byers said he felt the Town should provide their portion of $5,000.
Mr. Havasy said he agreed that there should be combined fundings. Mr. Havasy said he was looking at this from an economic development view and if someone was in the Museum promoting Louisa and businesses and Virginia as a whole, then it would be a step in the right direction that would yield dividends. Mr. Havasy said he felt the money would be recovered two-fold in the next few years just from visitors going to the historic sites and businesses. Mr. Havasy said this was an investment in Louisa County. Mr. Havasy said he was supportive of combining the two requests or coming to some agreement, but he was supportive of the idea as a whole.
Mr. Harper asked Mr. Havasy if he was supportive of the $15,000 being contingent on the Town of Louisa providing $5,000. Mr. Havasy said he did not care about that. Mr. Havasy said he was interested in Louisa County and he was supportive of getting someone in the Museum to work and keeping the Museum open and functioning.
Mr. Harper said he would like to see statistics. Mr. Harper said there should be a list so that it could be reported how many people came in each hour the visitors center was open so the operating hours could be adjusted for the busiest times. Mr. Harper said Saturdays and Sundays are when visitors come. Mr. Harper said unless the visitors center was opened all five weekdays, he did not think it would be that beneficial.
Mr. Barnes said he felt the Board was approaching this request backwards. Mr. Barnes said he felt the money should be all under the Tourism umbrella where the Tourism/Economic Development department was overseeing the whole operation. Mr. Barnes said supporting the $15,000 for the part-time person would do no good if there was no money to operate the Museum. Mr. Barnes said he understood the two requests were presented separate, but because the concept needed to be supported “all or none”. Mr. Barnes said if the money was not supported for the operation of the Museum, the $15,000 was a mute point. Mr. Barnes said he was not going to support the $15,000 alone because he felt it needed to be one whole item.
Mr. Wright said he agreed with the philosophy that both requests tied together. Mr. Wright said he did talk with Mr. Manzari and he asked Mr. Manzari to break down his $50,000 budget request into capital and operating. Mr. Wright said he was told by Mr. Manzari that that request was hard to do. Mr. Wright said he was opposed to just giving the $15,000 for the visitors center. Mr. Wright said he would like to see both requests and if it was split between the $15,000 and the $50,000 he would not support it.
Mr. Byers said he felt the Board should pass on this for now and let Economic Development develop a plan of what the Board wanted to accomplish, how this visitors center would tie in and what the impact would be. Mr. Byers said the Board had the ability to come back after the budget was approved and address items that did not provide enough time or information before hand. Mr. Byers said he would like to see a plan that addresses the total needs of the County.
Mr. Gentry said when Mr. Gibson approached the Board and asked for $15,000 to cover a part-time position for three days, he also said that the Museum would pick up the balance. Mr. Gentry said he felt Mr. Gibson thought the Historical Society was going to receive the same money they had always received. Mr. Gentry said, until the Board approved it, the Historical Society was currently getting no money for FY 2010. Mr. Gentry said the two items had to be combined.
Mr. Gentry said he looked at the Historical Societys budget from last year and he subtracted items that the Board could not justify paying for and that total was only $37,000. Mr. Gentry said he felt the Board could justify paying the Historical Society the $37,000 plus the $15,000 for three additional days to provide a total of six days coverage. Mr. Gentry said the crucial thing was to make sure this was justified through Economic Development and Tourism.
Mr. Harper said he was going to support the $15,000 contingent on the Town of Louisa funding their portion of $5,000. Mr. Harper said he would be willing to look at another proposal if it came back to the Board.
With four Board members voting against, the Board did not approve supporting the $15,000 with contingency upon the Town of Louisa providing their $5,000.
Discussion - Louisa County Historical Society budget request
Mr. Barnes said he would like to see Economic Development develop a plan and do this operation right the first time. Mr. Barnes said Mr. Gibson may even be able to come up with a way that would not cost $50,000.
Mr. Harper said Mr. Gibson did not operate the Museum. Mr. Barnes said the only way he could support this was if it came through Economic Development. Mr. Harper said he may pass the funds through, but he would not operate it.
Mr. Harper said Mr. Barnes had asked the Board to hold off on the $50,000 until the Board received a recommendation from Economic Development.
Mr. Havasy said that was a great idea because he agreed that the $50,000 and $15,000 were combined. Mr. Wright said he would support that as long as the Historical Society was included in on the discussion. Mr. Wright said the property belonged to the Historical Society and they had to be a part of whatever the Board decided to do. Mr. Byers said he would support Economic Development developing a plan to present to the Board. Mr. Gentry said he was in support. Mr. Spencer said he supported letting Economic Development review this. Mr. Harper said he was not in support.
Discussion - Crime Control Funds to Reduce CSA
Mr. Mullen said he felt $50,000 spent on trying to keep juveniles from being incarcerated could save the County money on CSA costs. Mr. Mullen said keeping one juvenile out of detention could save the County $50,000 to $100,000. Mr. Mullen said his preference would be for the Board to appropriate $50,000 to be used for juvenile justice that would be passed through CSA. Mr. Mullen said if the money was passed through CSA, the County would receive a State match versus just giving Mr. Jim Brown the $50,000.
Mr. Harper asked if there was a way to note whether or not one person was kept out of CSA. Mr. Mullen said he believed there was a way to report that. Mr. Mullen said the Board would need to put some metrics in place to gauge results. Mr. Mullen said Mr. Brown could provide anecdotal examples, but he wanted to see more specific examples. Mr. Mullen said Mr. Brown worked hard to keep juveniles out of attention. Mr. Mullen said that may be able to be done through monitoring or through a truant officer.
Mr. Harper asked if a truant officer could be down through the school system using stimulus funds. Mr. Hoffman said possibly. Mr. Mullen said it may be able to meet some of the guidelines. Mr. Barnes said it could be done using stimulus funds. Mr. Hoffman said one of the stimulus packages focused on at-risk children and a truant officer could probably fall under that.
Mr. Barnes said it was not uncommon for a school system to have a truant officer. Mr. Barnes said the truant officer would be responsible for preventative measures to catch juveniles before they get in trouble. Mr. Barnes said the truant officer would build a different type of relationship with the students because the students learn to trust the officer and would sometimes call before doing something that they could get in trouble for. Mr. Barnes said a candidate for a truant officer would have to be someone who understood that the position would be a seven day a week job and would have to be dedicated.
Mr. Gentry said he asked for additional information and success stories because there were positive things taking place in other localities that Louisa needed to join in on. Mr. Mullen said he could not wait until the day when the budget was finalized because Mr. Hoffman was already gathering data that was needed and Mr. Mullen wanted Louisa County to be the place where people could come and learn how to handle CSA costs cheaper and better.
Mr. Barnes said there were certain functions that were school functions and he felt the only way he could support this money was if the school seriously looked into hiring a truant officer.
Mr. Gentry said the first recommendation from the CSA Study Committee was hiring a Family Services Coordinator.
Mr. Byers said everyone needed to be coordinated in order to move forward and make the program grow together. Mr. Byers said the County should have the Family Services Coordinator so that person could also grow with the program. Mr. Byers said if the Board approved the funds, it should be contingent upon hiring the Family Services Coordinator. Mr. Byers said the Board should request specific measurable results if they approve the crime control funds. Mr. Byers said truancy appeared to be an area where early intervention really paid off. Mr. Byers said there was no reason why the Board could not ask for data because it would be nice to be able to review all the numbers over a five-year period to see what was happening with the money.
Mr. Hoffman said there are several places throughout the stimulus packages that would give localities the opportunity to implement programs that would be very helpful towards CSA. Mr. Hoffman said it may not be too late to work with the schools on the truant officer or other ideas.
Mr. Wright said the Board would not be able to get names of juveniles because the confidentiality still existed. Mr. Barnes said the Board could still get the statistics.
Mr. Havasy motioned to follow Mr. Mullens recommendation with regard to the truant officer and the recommended form of payment. Mr. Barnes seconded the motion.
Mr. Gentry asked if the Board was going to include the Family Services Coordinator because this position was designed to hold everything together relating to CSA. Mr. Gentry said truancy was one of many issues and he did not think the Board could follow the recommendation without the Family Services Coordinator. Mr. Mullen said he was hoping those issues could be addressed separately. Mr. Mullen said Mr. Brown told him that if the Board approved the $50,000 for him, there would be positive results. Mr. Mullen said Mr. Brown just wanted to show that he could get positive results that are good for CSA costs with just a small amount of money. Mr. Mullen said he did not want to commit to a truant officer or a Family Services Coordinator. Mr. Mullen said he wanted to treat this crime control money as “seed” money to run some tests and see if Mr. Brown can really get the results he said he could.
Mr. Barnes said a truant officer would have to work with the schools. Mr. Mullen said he thought stimulus money could be received for that.
On the motion of Mr. Havasy, seconded by Mr. Barnes, which carried by a vote of 7-0, the Board voted to follow the recommendation of Mr. Mullen in regard to the truant office and the recommended form of payment.
Discussion - CSA Cost Containment Study Recommendations
Mr. Harper said he felt the Board was pleased with the presentation from Mr. Gallagher and he said he felt the Board should come up with a plan to implement some of the recommendations.
Mr. Mullen said he would like to get support for two discreet ideas. Mr. Mullen said some of the recommendations that came out of the CSA Study were going to require additional funding and he did not know the precise cost of them. Mr. Mullen said he thought the County should create a “Cost Center” called CSA Cost Containment, which would be segregated funds used for CSA and would help track actual, capital and operating costs against money potentially saved. Mr. Mullen said he would like to take the $100,000 set aside under non-departmental for the FSC position and the $50,000 that the Board just endorsed and place that money in this new “Cost Center” for Mr. Brown as the beginning of the Countys effort to contain CSA costs.
Mr. Harper asked if the Board was in agreement with Mr. Mullens recommendation. There was no objection from the Board.
CIP - Bowlers Mill Dam
Mr. Harper said these were items that were being required of the County and the expenses were not anticipated in enough time to be requested earlier. Mr. Harper said the cost was estimated to be $25,000 in engineering and $100,000 for the actual improvements.
Mr. Gentry asked if this was something the County was committed to work with Dewberry and Davis on or would it go out to bid. Mr. Harper said he suspected the Water Authority was using Dewberry because they were already on board and familiar with it.
Mr. Havasy said if that was the case, he would like to provide the $100,000 in work to local County contractors.
Mr. Harper said the engineering was probably under an existing agreement, but the contracts to do the work may not be.
Mr. Mullen said the County needed to get the work out to bid.
Mr. Gentry asked how this fell under an existing contract. Mr. Gentry said if there was already a contract, why was it being talked about now. Mr. Mullen said there had been no money set aside. Mr. Gentry said if the County was not tied to a particular firm, then it needed to be sent out to bid.
Mr. Hoffman said he thought the engineering contract was like a servicing contract. Mr. Mullen said he thought the $25,000 was just a flat estimated cost. Mr. Harper asked Mr. Hoffman to check on the contract to see if it was a continuing agreement as opposed to this specific job.
Mr. Harper said the Board understood that it was a $125,000 add-on estimate either way the contract went. Mr. Mullen asked if it could be placed in the CIP. The Board agreed to place the $125,000 in the budget under CIP.
Mr. Gentry said the only reason he brought up the contract issue was because he had been questioned by another engineering firm.
O&M - Drug-Free Workplace
There were no comments or questions and the Board agreed to place the money in the budget.
CIP - Burn Building
Mr. Harper said the Board had already acted on that by resolution.
O&M - Health Insurance (LCPS)
Mr. Harper said the Board had already addressed that.
CIP - Funds for EMSAL Equipment and CIP - Funds for Fire Association
Mr. Harper said the Board was in agreement to place those funds back in the CIP.
Field Lighting at Moss-Nuckols Elementary
Mr. Mullen asked if the Board needed to take any action on the field lighting. Mr. Barnes said the Board had decided to move it out one year.
James River Water Authority
Mr. Mullen said he needed some commitment from the Board in regards to the James River Water Authority (JRWA). Mr. Mullen said the JRWA had a law suit filed against it and had 21 days to file a response minus the days that had already passed. Mr. Mullen said the first meeting of the JRWA would take place on May 7, 2009 in Fluvanna and he needed to know going forward that the JRWA could have some money on loan from Louisa County. Mr. Mullen said he had asked Fluvanna County to come up with $50,000.
Mr. Hoffman said he thought this was taken care of in Closed Session at the May 4, 2009 Board meeting. Mr. Mullen said there was discussion, but asked if the issue was resolved. Mr. Harper said the Board could confirm.
Mr. Spencer motioned to confirm that the Louisa County Board of Supervisors would be contributing $50,000 to the James River Water Authority for start-up costs which included money for hiring council for pending litigation with the idea that Fluvanna County would be matching the $50,000 and the $50,000 would eventually be paid back to the County by the James River Water Authority. Mr. Barnes seconded the motion.
On the motion of Mr. Spencer, seconded by Mr. Barnes, which carried by a vote of 7-0, the Board voted to confirm that the Louisa County Board of Supervisors would be contributing $50,000 to the James River Water Authority for start-up costs which included money for hiring council for pending litigation with the idea that Fluvanna County would be matching the $50,000 and the $50,000 would eventually be paid back to the County by the James River Water Authority.
Mr. Hoffman said there may be recommendations from Fluvanna and Louisa County for Council, but the decision would ultimately be made by the JRWA.
FY 2010 Contingency Budget
Mr. Mullen said the County had set the contingency budget at one half of one percent of the entire budget. Mr. Mullen said the County was allowed a one percent movement in either direction without re-advertising. Mr. Mullen said the one half of one percent was an unreasonable small contingency budget and he felt there should be no less than a one percent contingency budget. Mr. Mullen said when there were not enough funds in the past, the County went into the General Fund.
Mr. Gentry motioned to approve the increase in the contingency budget from one half of one percent to one percent of the entire budget. Mr. Spencer seconded the motion.
Mr. Byers asked if decisions made on money being spent out of the contingency budget would be reviewed by the Board regardless of the amount. Mr. Mullen said money could be transferred within his authority up to $20,000, but that could certainly be changed by the Board. Mr. Byers said he felt it was important for the Board to know when money was being taken out of contingency. Mr. Byers said the all the money could be taken out of contingency in $20,000 increments.
Mr. Barnes said he understood the point Mr. Byers was making, but he felt the County Administrator still needed to have some leeway. Mr. Barnes said the Board could not micromanage everything and the $20,000 rule was made up as a very manageable item. Mr. Barnes said he had never seen that privilege abused and he did not suspect it would.
Mr. Byers said he did not feel that way, but he would like to know when money was taken out of contingency. Mr. Harper said it could be reported the same way the transfers and journal entries are.
Mr. Harper asked what the difference was between taking money out of the General Fund and taking it out of contingency. Mr. Mullen said it looked better in the audit process and it looked better from a planning perspective. Mr. Mullen said the next part of this was figuring out how to structure the General Fund so it did not look like a $52 million overage. Mr. Mullen said the General Fund was there for a reason, but it needed to be structured that way.
Mr. Mullen said the $15,000 for the Visitor Center was well within his authority and he could have taken the money out of this years budget. Mr. Mullen said he realized this was a regional thing that required cooperation and commitment and he wanted the Board to know about it and be involved in it.
On the motion of Mr. Gentry, seconded by Mr. Spencer, which carried by a vote of 5-2, with Mr. Harper and Mr. Byers voting against, the Board voted to increase the contingency fund from one half of one percent of the entire budget to one percent of the entire budget or $1 million.
Mr. Gentry asked if $20,000 was a reasonable amount to be set for the County Administrator to be able to approve. Mr. Wright said it had been set at that level for probably ten years. Mr. Gentry said $20,000 did not go as far today as it did ten years ago. Mr. Wright said it should probably be up around $25,000. Mr. Harper asked for examples of something over $20,000 that the Board would not be involved in. Mr. Mullen said if he had to make a decision to fund the defense attorney for the JRWA and it fell in an off cycle for the Board meetings, that could be an example.
Ms. Faye Stewart said the Procurement Ordinance stated that anything $30,000 and over would have to be put out to bid. Ms. Stewart said there was the difference between $20,000 and $30,000 that the County Administrator could not act on and from a procurement standpoint, almost everything over $20,000 should go to the Board and almost out to bid.
Mr. Byers said he appreciated the information that was provided to him because he could not make it to the County Building as much as other Board members could. Mr. Harper said being informed was not micromanaging.
Mr. Barnes said he felt the Board of Supervisors should have a joint budget meeting with the School Board on August 1, 2009 to sit down and discuss priorities, goals and objectives. Mr. Barnes said it should be a time when the Board of Supervisors could discuss operational and look at enrollment. Mr. Barnes said if the County had a good year in revenue, the schools could share in that and if the County had a bad year in revenue, the schools would have to share some of that as well. Mr. Barnes said some localities use a percentage when revenues go down or up. Mr. Barnes said the Board of Supervisors had to take in to consideration the fact that if enrollment increase, the School Board budget would also increase.
Mr. Gentry said the problem he had with that was most localities it worked in had revenues that went up and down, but for years now Louisa has had revenues keep rising. Mr. Gentry said he was not sure that the school budget should be increased just because of an increase in revenue.
Mr. Byers said the Board was micromanaging the School Board when the Moss-Nuckols principal was talked about being funded outside of the regular School Board budget. Mr. Byers said when the money was held outside of the regular School Board budget it put the Board of Supervisors in a position of telling the School Board how to spend their money. Mr. Byers said he felt it was important for Mr. Mullen and Ms. Deborah Pettit to work together.
Mr. Spencer said the Board asked for enrollment figures from the School Board last year and the Board had yet to receive those figures. Mr. Spencer said he felt Louisa had one of the finest high schools in the state of Virginia and had wonderful teachers, but the Board did not deal with the teachers. Mr. Spencer said he had received an email from Mr. Hal Shaffer about “the money falling off the truck.” Mr. Spencer said the April 3, 2009 email read, “If you do a little work, you can keep the local big boys honest. If they dont do the right thing, be armed to make them pay the political price next election.” Mr. Spencer said the email showed the attitude of the School Board.
Mr. Mullen said he and Mr. Hoffman had been working on researching the stimulus money for the last several weeks and addressing some of the questions the Board had.
· Do the stimulus funds come through the County Board of Supervisors or directly through the schools?
Mr. Mullen said the stimulus funds would likely be paid through the County. Mr. Harper asked if that was a yes or a maybe. Mr. Mullen said he was unaware, but he had examined 30 years of funding and he had never seen an example of where money passed through to an agency that did not have taxing authority such as the School Board.
Mr. Gentry asked why there could not be a straight answer to the question. Mr. Gentry said the stimulus funds have been known about for months and he wondered what the secrecy to this question was. Mr. Mullen said the Department of Education was being very obtuse whether that was intentional or not.
· Are the stimulus funds a one-time allocation?
Mr. Mullen said the stimulus funds were a one-time allocation and it was unlikely that anything funded using stimulus money this year could be funded with stimulus money next year.
· Are the stimulus funds earmarked for a mandated use?
Mr. Mullen said the stimulus funds were already earmarked for mandated uses, but there were three different fund sources with three different sets of guidelines.
· How long does the County have to spend the stimulus funds?
Mr. Mullen said the stimulus funds had to be obligated by either September 30, 2010 or September 30, 2011 depending on which fund the money came from. Mr. Mullen said the County had to have the funds obligated, under contract or appropriated and encumbered by September 30, 2010 or September 30, 2011 depending on which fund source they came from.
· Could the County offset or reduce the School Board budget by the amount of the stimulus money?
Mr. Mullen said no because the stimulus money was non-supplanting funds. Mr. Mullen said one of the funds could be used to cover true budget shortfalls.
· Are there any estimated amounts for education stimulus for Louisa County?
Mr. Mullen said yes, but the estimated amounts vary by as much as $1 million. Mr. Mullen said the estimated amount that the schools received was different from the amount available on the Governors website by about $1 million.
Mr. Mullen said for Title I, Part A money, he estimated about $464,328, which was what the schools had estimated as well. Mr. Mullen said for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B money, he estimated $1,076,987, which was a number the schools believed to be true as well. Mr. Mullen said for the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, he estimated $1,175,000. Mr. Mullen asked Mr. Hoffman if Mr. Halsey Green had verified the numbers. Mr. Hoffman said yes. Mr. Hoffman said the numbers provided were also off some State material and they matched up within a few thousand or a few hundred dollars. Mr. Hoffman emphasized that every number was an estimate at this time. Mr. Hoffman said it was his understanding that the State had not even made application to the Federal Government to receive the funds.
Mr. Mullen said he was not sure how other school systems could say they had the money and had already acted on the money. Mr. Mullen said it had to be strictly for planning purposes only because everything was an estimate only at this point. Mr. Mullen said this was the best he could do as far as numbers right now and as soon as he received new information, he would keep the Board posted.
Mr. Harper asked what the IDEA funds could be used for because he heard they could be used to purchase buses. Mr. Hoffman said, in general terms, the IDEA funds could be used for just about anything that benefitted the Special Education program. Mr. Hoffman said it could be instructional people, additional services, early intervention services, or construction of a building or equipment purposes if it improved a facility that was used for children with a disability. Mr. Hoffman said some of the uses, particularly construction and equipment, required prior State approval.
Mr. Havasy asked where the oversight was on this money being given out Statewide to see that it was being spent properly. Mr. Hoffman said there were quite a bit of reporting guidelines back to the Federal Government. Mr. Hoffman said a proposal had to be submitted explaining what the funds would be used for and a tracking record had to be turned in. Mr. Barnes said the program was supposed to be set up online where anyone could look to see where the funds had been spent. Mr. Hoffman said the intention was for this process to be “transparent.”
Mr. Harper asked if the stabilization funds could be used for maintaining personnel. Mr. Hoffman said yes. Mr. Havasy asked if the stabilization funds could offset what was done with the health insurance increase. Mr. Barnes said no. Mr. Hoffman said he could not find anything in his material that said no, so he was not sure of the exact authority. Mr. Barnes said the stabilization funds could not be used directly for health insurance. Mr. Barnes said if a locality was going to lose personnel, the stabilization funds could be used to restore those staff members and health insurance may be included in the benefits package for those staff members. Mr. Barnes said the stabilization funds could not directly be used for health insurance, though.
Mr. Byers said most localities were spelling out in their contracts that this was a one-time deal. Mr. Havasy asked if the Board would receive a list of all the one-time employees that were hired using stimulus money so the Board could make sure those positions were not in the next budget as regular staff. Mr. Hoffman said he thought the Board could do that, but the proposed uses of all the stimulus money was provided to the Board by the schools on May 4, 2009.
Mr. Mullen said the School Board was currently meeting as this budget worksession took place. Mr. Harper said the Board did not have a specific recommendation at this time and it would be addressed at a later point.
Mr. Byers asked if there was a date in which some of the estimated numbers and things would be finalized. Mr. Hoffman said the only date provided for anything so far was the date provided in which the funds had to be obligated.
Mr. Barnes said he felt the Board should meet with the School Board to have open dialogue about the stimulus funds because Moss-Nuckols Elementary would be opening next Fall and there were capital items that the Board could probably take advantage of with the funds. Mr. Barnes said the discussion could take place anytime, but there were savings that could be taken advantage of when it came to Moss-Nuckols Elementary.
Mr. Havasy said he asked Mr. Hoffman how much of the estimated stimulus funds could be used towards Moss-Nuckols Elementary. Mr. Hoffman said probably most of the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds could be used which was over $1 million.
Mr. Barnes said the Board did not have to approve the budget at the May 18, 2009 Board meeting and he advised having one more joint meeting with the School Board before approving the budget. Mr. Barnes said another meeting would give both Boards an opportunity to openly talk about Moss-Nuckols Elementary and the stimulus funds.
Mr. Spencer said Staunton City Council and Staunton City School Board put their entire stimulus funds off until next year.
Mr. Hoffman said one of the items under the Title I, Part A was day school programs for neglected or delinquent children. Mr. Hoffman said the number one highest CSA cost was day school programs for neglected or delinquent children. Mr. Hoffman said $483,000 was spent in one year on fifteen children for day school programs. Mr. Mullen said if this type of service were taken in-house, it could not be done at the Ogg Building or the Bunting House. Mr. Mullen said the facility would have to adjunct to the school and would have to be part of the school campus. Mr. Mullen said transportation costs would be saved and man-power costs would be saved. Mr. Mullen said fifteen kids were costing the County a half a million dollars and those children belonged in school.
Mr. Hoffman said the day school program could be started with stimulus money and should be continued in the regular budget next year because he knew it would save the County money.
The Board requested a joint meeting be set with the School Board on May 27, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.
Mr. Barnes said he would like Mr. Mullen and Mr. Hoffman to come up with some items dealing with Moss-Nuckols Elementary that the Board could discuss with the School Board.
On the motion of Mr. Barnes, seconded by Mr. Spencer, which carried by a vote of 7-0, the Board voted to adjourn the May 6, 2009 meeting at 8:56 p.m.
BY ORDER OF
WILLIE L. HARPER, CHAIRMAN
LOUISA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
LOUISA COUNTY, LOUISA, VIRGINIA