Spring is just around the corner and with it, April adoption of the Goochland County budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins on July 1. The budget process, is an ongoing, never ending activity.
The Board of Supervisors received a report from County Assessor Mary Ann Davis at its February 6 meeting. The total value of property in Goochland County as of January 1, 2018 was $4.85 billion. This represents a 4.4 percent increase over last year, and finally exceeded the all-time high 2009 assessment of $4.72 billion, the last before property values took a nosedive during the recession.
Of the increase, three percent represents increased valuations over last year, the remaining 1.4 percent new construction. Fair market value for the TCSD rose 4.4 percent to $1 billion. Land use assessments rose 1.4 percent to $579 million. The supervisors support retention of land use taxation, computed per acre using a state supplied rate, to preserve the rural character of the county. Deferred revenue attributable to land use taxation is $3 million. The breakdown between residential and commercial use is 80.4 percent to 19.6 percent.
Goochland County Administrator John Budesky will present his recommend budget for FY 2019 to the supervisors in a public 3 p.m. meeting on February 20.
Spring Town Hall meetings by District are scheduled for March. ( Districts 4 and 5 March 7 at Hermitage Country Club. District 1 at the Fife Fire-Rescue Station on March 20. Districts 2 and 3 March 28 at Central High School. All sessions begin at 7 p.m.)
At these meetings, the proposed budget will be discussed along with items of interest both county and district-wide. Budesky said that he and the supervisors welcome feedback on the budget and any subject. Letters, calls, and other citizen input about the budget are welcome and have an impact on final decisions, he said.
Citizen engagement is a vital part of good government. The county does a good job of making information available for citizen inspection on the county website, http://goochlandva.us/. Without citizen input, this effort at transparency is like the sound of one hand clapping. They’re spending your money on your community, pay attention.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the renovations at Central High School and Cultural Center on Dogtown Road will be held on March 6 at 1:30, all are welcome to attend.
Fire-Rescue Chief Bill MacKay reported that calls for service continue to rise. Cost recovery revenue—fees collected from insurance for emergency hospital transport—tended to increase between 15 and 20 percent per month in FY 2018 adjustments.
MacKay said that Goochland Fire-Rescue now has specialized training devices to address the issue of massive hemorrhaging in Active Shooter scenarios. May God grant that our first responders never need to use this skill.
In April, Goochland Fire-Rescue will again host a “Survivor Day” event at Manakin Company 1. This event makes citizens more resilient in the face of emergency. A citizens’ fire-rescue academy is also in the works with the hopes of attracting new volunteers.
MacKay said that, of the new career positions accelerated to January 1 from July 1, one remains unfilled.
A report of planning activity for 2017 revealed that an application to increase the number of homes in the Hunt Club Hill subdivision on Three Chopt Road was withdrawn.
An item to set a public hearing for the purpose of the proposed sale of 3.61 acres of the Fairgrounds Property at the corner of Fairground and Sandy Hook Roads to Chase Development Corp, which owns the Courthouse Commons Shopping Center, was withdrawn from the agenda without explanation. The price mentioned was $850,000, the fair market value of the entire parcel as of January 1, 2017. Chase Development, according to the agenda item, planned retail uses for the parcel, which has been declared surplus by the county. (See pages 66 through 68 of the February 6 packet.)
Director of Economic Development Matt Ryan reported that capital investment in Goochland reached $120 million in 2017. New projects included The Bristol Apartments in West Creek; expansion of the Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery; new Hardywood Park Brewery in West Creek; Drive Shack, expected to open in 2018; and Richmond Audi nearing completion on Broad Street Road. There were 131 commercial permits issued in 2017, an all-time high.
Budesky presented an overview of activity in the current General Assembly session, which concludes on March 10. He reported that Del. John McGuire brokered a non-legislative resolution to place The Goochland Drive-In on attraction signs on Interstate 64.
Susan Lascolette, District 1, commended Administrative Services Manager Paul Drumwright, who keeps a close eye on the GA, for his “super job” following legislation. Drumwright was unable to attend the Broad meeting because he and Assistant County Attorney Whitney Marshall were in Richmond at the General Assembly keeping an even closer eye on the county’s delegation.
Carter Duke will replace Derek Murray as the District 3 planning commissioner. All other planning commissioners were reappointed. Murray served the county well for the maximum number of terms permitted.
There will be a number of Board meetings in the next two months. These will address budget issues and are expected to include final disposition of several residential rezoning applications that were deferred until the capital impact model and revised 2035 comprehensive land use plan were adopted.