Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Would those of you who submitted comments to the School's Out post and do not see them on the page please resend them?
Several comments were abducted by cyber gremlins before I could get them up.
Thanks for your interest and patience!
Sandie Warwick

Monday, June 28, 2010

School's out for the summer

High weird shifts into high gear

Summer is here, the moon is full, and Goochland’s school administration continues to fix things that weren’t broken.

Last Wednesday, Lynne Venter, director of finance for the school system tendered her resignation to take a position with the Fairfax school system.

On Thursday the of student services specialist job was posted on the school website as an open position

Venter’s loss is a serious blow to the dwindling credibility of the school system. Her knowledge and experience made her an integral and valued part of the school administration.

These two job openings seem to indicate that the people responsible for running day-to-day school operations are voting against Goochland with their feet and running for the exit.

At the June 22 school board meeting, the board voted to rotate the principals of Randolph and Goochland Elementary schools. Stacy Austin of RES and Diana Gordon of GES have both worked long and hard to build good teams at their respective schools and must now start over in a year already overflowing with challenge.

Notice of the action was reportedly not included in the school board packet made available before the meeting, so those in attendance had no idea what was going on until it was over.

Sneaking this change in at a meeting when a lot of people are away is reprehensible. The stealth of the act confirms its sleaziness. Adding further tensions to a school system already stressed by the elimination of so many programs and teaching positions is irrational at best.

Reportedly, one school board member impugned Austin’s professional integrity to a parent by way of justifying the switch. That would seem to be a violation of Austin’s privacy and school board confidentiality policy. It’s a wonder that lawsuits have not been filed. School board members seem to believe that they are accountable to no one, except perhaps Dr. Linda Underwood, superintendent of schools.

This is outrageous. Has any member of the school board bothered to personally and independently verify the rationale Underwood used for this switch?

Austin and Gordon are well respected by the teachers in their schools as well as parents, students and the community at large. Is this switch yet another example of Underwood’s need to exert power? She obviously has no idea how to create a collaborative and mutually supportive organization. See Goochlandparents.com for more information about the school board meeting.

The parents of gifted students are frustrated that the school system has given little thought to how the needs of these students will be met. Visit the school website at www.glnd.k12.va.us to view the vapid and information-free slide show of the new “plan” for gifted education.

What is going on here? Is the school administration sabotaging the education process in Goochland? If so, they’re doing a pretty good job.

It almost seems like Underwood is trying to get the county will pay her to go away.

Many parents believe her dismissal is long overdue. What will it take for the school board to send her packing?

How did Underwood get the job in the first place?

Although the school board alleged that it was searching high and low for prior superintendent Frank Morgan’s replacement, in the end, they elevated Underwood who had been assistant superintendent.

After Morgan’s departure was announced, a random, unscientific sampling of teachers from most county schools indicated that they would prefer a new face to succeed Morgan. Underwood, they contended, was doing a good job in the second chair, but was not what they wanted in a superintendent.

Rumor has it that Underwood told the school board that if they did not elevate her to superintendent, she would leave and take all of the best teachers with her.

Many of those same teachers probably received reduction in force notices during teacher appreciation week and are now looking for other jobs.

We are still eighteen months and one budget cycle away from the possibility of a new school board after the 2011 local elections.

In the meantime, Goochland’s kids must put up with a school system lurching into deeper dysfunction. Affluent parents disgusted with the machinations of Underwood and “the boys” will move their children to private schools, or their families to functioning school districts. What of the people with no other option? For a few shining years Goochland’s schools moved ahead of the pack. Now, thanks more to a leadership vacuum than budget shortfalls, that achievement may become history.

Why is the school board permitting this to happen? In times of crisis, like these, administration, teachers, staff and parents must pull together to negotiate the rapids. Instead Underwood, seemingly with the approval of the school board, is rocking the boat, hard.

She needs to go over the side before the whole boat sinks.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Reflections on the audit

Carl Cimino of Manakin-Sabot submitted these comments on the county's CAFR. They are well worth the time to read

My comments re the recent audit report.

The audit of the County’s finances for FY 2009 was completed by KPGM and submitted to the Board of Supervisors.

There are no surprises in it. Anyone in the county that has been around for any length of time surmised that much was left to be desired in the way some county agencies operated.

More pointedly the competence of county administration was often questioned, which questions were regularly ignored or perhaps, in hindsight, stonewalled for reasons only known to the one/s doing the stonewalling.

The essence of the KPMG report is found in the last paragraph on page 1 of the Financial Report letter of the audit.

As discussed in note 17 to the basic financial statements, the net assets of the governmental activities, the business-type activities, School Board component unit, Economic Development Authority component unit, James River Sanitary Distgrict funds, Utilities fund, and Tuckahoe Creek Sanitary District fund and the fund balance of the General fund as of July 1, 2008 have been restated to correct misstatements from the County previously issued financial statements, which were audited by other auditors.

Also as discussed in note 17, the fund balances of the General Fund, Capital Projects fund and the other non-major governmental Revenues fund as of July 1, 2008 have been restated from the County’s previously issued financial statements to reflect a change in fund reporting presentation. As discussed in note 14 to the financial statements the County adopted the provisions of the GASB Statement No. 45, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits other that Pensions, effective July 1, 2008.

The substance of the KPMG report is found at Note 17 - Notes to Financial Statements, Restatement of Beginning Fund Balances and Net Assets (See Page 66). KPMG had to execute thirty-four (34) restatements. The first one is, “In prior years, the County did not record real estate and property taxes in accordance with GAAP” (generally accepted accounting practices).

Since references to GAAP are made throughout the report a quick description of what GAAP is may be in order.
Wikipedia -
“Financial accounting is information that must be assembled and reported objectively. Third-parties who must rely on such information have a right to be assured that the data are free from bias and inconsistency, whether deliberate or not. For this reason, financial accounting relies on certain standards or guides that are called "Generally Accepted Accounting Principles" (GAAP).”
From another Web site , Buzzle. com –
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) is defined as the standard guidelines of accounting rules for financial accounting and to prepare financial statements for private companies and the companies trading publicly in United States. It chalks down the standards, conventions, and rules for accountants to pursue in recording and summarizing transactions, and in the preparation of financial statements. In United States these rules are decided by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) which applies to local and state governments. (Underline added)
Found at Suite101: GAAP and Accounting Standards: An Explanation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) :
Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are varied but based on a few basic principles that must be upheld by all GAAP rules. These principles include consistency, relevance, reliability, and comparability.
And, finally back to Buzzle.com
Again, it has to be remembered that GAAP are not a rigid set of rules. These are flexible guidelines only. Over the years, these groups of conventions and standards have evolved in the specific need of standard common platform for the preparation and presentation of financial statements In United States, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) offer guidance and assistance about standard acceptable practices of accounting.

Probably for professional reasons, KPMG in restating prior audits did not mention the name of the prior auditor, who, no secret to anyone, was and has been for many years, Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates (RBCA). According to the Goochland Gazette, RBCA took issue with the KPMG restatements, “ …and believe such fund balance reflect a change in reporting preference or accounting policy…rather than a correction error.”

Come one!!

Twenty “vehicles owned by the county that were duplicate listings, vehicles transferred to enterprise funds,.. or vehicles which had previously been disposed.” Item F pg. 67

“Deprecation expense on a FY 2006 renovation of the former Goochland High School which had not been recorded…” (Underline added) Item K pg. 68

Costs incurred in 2007 for widening and paving the private road to the Fire Training center “…which had not been recorded.” Item L pg.68
“Neither the contractual liabilities of the County…nor the assets that were received …and accumulated depreciation…were recorded”. Item M pg.68

What accounting policy/reporting preference allows double counting and not recording?

The causes of the errors as stated by KPMG is that the county did not have policies and procedures providing the controls that would prevent the deficiencies found. It further stated the county does not have sufficient personnel to perform required accounting functions; the personnel it does have are not trained to perform the functions needed, and there was inadequate supervision by upper administrative levels.

Much of this is consistent with findings of the recent forensic audit performed when unreasonable accounting lapses were found in the Department of Utilities.

What the KPMG audit did not state, though it is quite apparent when one reads its report, is that there were two long term serious lapses in the administration of the county’s financial affairs.

The first and probably the most egregious is the failure of the prior, and long time, auditor to report the lack of policies and procedures designed to provide the proper controls governing the county’s financial reporting. One of the first steps in any audit is to have the organization being audited produce its written policies and procedures. If there are no written policies and procedures this becomes a finding in the report. There is nothing demonstrating that the prior auditor seemed concerned over the absence of this documentation.

The second is the lapse of leadership and oversight by the Board of Supervisors. As one reads the KPMG report it leaps out that the problems in the County’s financial system were errors and omissions in applying basic principles of Management 101. The Board of Supervisors did not use due diligence in carrying out their duties as stewards of tax payer’s funds. In the final analysis the buck stops at the Board of Supervisors - responsibility can be delegated; accountability cannot. Over the years the Board delegated management responsibility to the County Administrator, which is acceptable, but did not exert oversight, which is not. The Board accepted statements from him, and the auditors he selected, that the County’s financial affairs were in order. It appears the Administrator’s choice of the same auditor for at least a decade was never questioned. This, in itself, should have raised red flags. There is nothing to indicate the Board ever inquired or ever expressed any interest in whether county agencies had policies or procedures of any type in place. This is another matter the Board is accountable for. Add to that the fact that the auditor was also used to advice on other financial issues.

Recently a Board member made a statement that he was excited over the changes that are occurring. However that member has never expressed any regrets for being complicit in why the changes became necessary. Another member merely stonewalls the whole issue. Added to that is the fact that some members of the Board seem to feel that those who questioned the performance of the County Administrator should be punished as was exhibited at the first meeting of the Board in 2010. .

There has been and will be much speculation about what the individual and collective motivation of the Board was. It will run the gamut of reasons. The only ones who know the truth are the members themselves. Little can be gained by revisiting the issue. What is to be done is to make sure there is never a repeat. The way for that to happen is for the citizenry to remain involved. The problem is there was a flurry of interest when the problem first surfaced but that has waned and, in all probability, has just about disappeared, with the exception of those who for many years suspected and tried to warn that all was not what it seemed.

In closing it might be appropriate to note that while the audit issue has been identified and is being addressed there is a more dire problem: the issuance of the revenue bonds to finance the water-sewer system and other finance arrangement attached to that undertakingt. Once again the due diligence required of the Board seems to have been missing. It defies comprehension as to what the Board was thinking when it let that matter be foisted on the county. The bond principle and interest is in the magnitude of $168,000,000 in a county with a population of 21,000 and growth rate of 2.3% due in 2036. Some may say that this is not of great concern since it is spread over thirty years. That might “kick the can down the road” but by anyone can do simple arithmetic calculations and get an idea of what the added tax debt load per household or per individual will be, yearly or in the aggregate. It is even worse if you are in the impacted area and have to pay both fees and taxes based on that population.

Into austerity

There is no free lunch

Cuts to services provided by Goochland County for its citizens will impact our daily lives as the new fiscal year begins on July 1. Many were detailed in the county newsletter that arrived in last week’s mail.

The newsletter itself will be a casualty of austerity. Printing and distributing the publication is an expensive and cumbersome process. Although the newsletter is sent to every home in Goochland, it would be interesting to know how many people actually read it and use the information it contains.

Following a budget process that was instructive and painful, the board of supervisors declined to increase the real estate tax rate. This provided most property owners whose real estate assessment decreased — some values actually increased— with lower tax bills.

In turn, the county collected less money and cut its budget accordingly.

Now is a good time to decide which services local government should provide for its citizens. Law enforcement and fire-rescue should come first followed by social services and education.

The school board needs to understand that it must begin to operated in a far more transparent manner to gain citizen support. Funding education is a complicated matter.
Taxpayers want to know how their money is spent and feel confident that it is being used wisely. Lumping salaries and benefits for several hundred employees into one multi-million dollar line item and refusing to justify the existence of positions is no longer acceptable practice.

Revelations of dismal fiscal management practices in county government further complicated matters.

To rectify that problem, our new county administrator Rebecca T. Dickson hired, with the approval of the supervisors, a deputy county administrator to oversee financial matters.

This added more than $100,000 of payroll costs to the county’s budget at a time when jobs were being eliminated. The county must get its financial house in order to go forward. According to the recently completed county audit, there was no one on county staff with the skill set to oversee our finances, a costly error. We cannot afford to continue down this path.

The next few years will be very lean. We simply cannot afford frills like fireworks on the Fourth of July. They will be held in 2010 because the county made a non refundable deposit on the event. Given the lackluster attendance at the Spring Festival in May, perhaps those events should also be eliminated for the time being.

Churches, civic groups and activities like the Farmers Market provide community events without taxpayer support.

Lean times make it clear that someone pays for the services we enjoy. Folks in the east end mourn the end of curbside recycling funded by the county. Why should tax dollars collected from everyone fund a service available to only a few residents?

When revenues fall, someone always wants to hit up the rich people in the county to make up the difference. Why should they pay?

The county’s affluent citizens tend to live in highly valued homes, and pay tax on every penny of that value. They tend not to send their children to public schools, saving the county around $10,000 per child.

At the other extreme are farmers and those with large tracts of property taxed at land use rates by the acre. These folks often send their kids to county schools. Are they paying their fair share?

The Fairgrounds Building is a casualty of austerity. It will be torn down later this year because its upkeep costs more than it generates in fees. People like to use the building because it’s centrally located, cheap to rent and is one of the few places in the county where a liquor license may be obtained for events. Is this a valid use of tax dollars?

Some people believe that the county should not be spending money on athletic fields and parks. Does a rural county with lots of open space need public parks and athletic facilities?

Goochland is not a homogenous community. Some of our citizens live in affluent splendor, others in squalor, most of us are somewhere in between.

So what do we really need to provide in the way of government services and who pays?

Shorter library hours will make it harder for people without other internet access to find jobs.

Restrictions in the Sheriff’s budget will complicate the manner in which our outstanding law enforcement officers protect our citizens. Cuts to the fire-rescue budget make our dedicated volunteers more valuable than ever. (Call 556-5304 to sign up.)

Will reductions in Parks and Rec programs result in an increase in juvenile crime? If so, why do we as a society tolerate undisciplined young people? Who pays for that?

We are quick to complain and slow to comprehend the complexities delivery of local government services.

Tax dollars must be spent wisely, but at the end of the day, there is no free lunch. Pay up or do without.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Be on the alert

Suspiscious person reported

Matt Brewer just advised that a “self-proclaimed” college kid who claimed to be from Michigan stopped at their door earlier today soliciting for “early childhood education.”

According to Matt, this person was a tall kid around 20 years of age with spiky black hair somewhat reminiscent of Michael Phelps. He was driving a very small two door newer dark grey Honda. He carried a green backpack and several spiral notebooks. This young man was wearing shorts and an untucked polo shirt.

Matt’s wife reported the incident to the Goochland Sheriff’s office (556-5349 non-emergency or just plain 911) and wonders if anyone else has either seen or been approached by this person.

We all need to keep our eyes open and report anything or anyone out of the ordinary. This young man could be quite legitimately going door-to-door trying to make money for school, or his motives could be darker.

Do not hesitate to contact the sheriff’s office with reports about things that just don’t seem right. Better to respond to a false alarm than fail to prevent a crime!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Smooth Operators

The audit report

The comprehensive annual financial review (CAFR) for fiscal year 2009 of Goochland County presented to the supervisors on June 1 is both troublesome and reassuring. The report, prepared by the auditing firm of KPMG, examined a wide range of documents to reach it conclusions.

Only a handful of people attended the meeting, so please read the report and listen to the recording of the meeting. The full CAFR is posted on the County website, www.co.goochland.va.us, and the recording of the meeting —the CAFR was presented during the evening session — is on the left side of the supervisors’ page.

After going back several years, in some cases to 2001, the auditors have put the county’s books on sound footing. Their recommendations to improve systems and procedures are currently being incorporated into county operations. That process should be complete by the end of October.

In the future the county financial picture will be better organized and more transparent, providing a sound footing for the hard decisions to come.

The audit report painted a picture of, at best, a dismal dysfunctional management style with few internal controls or systems to ensure proper handling of the county’s money.

It’s hard to say whether the lack of comprehensive and cohesive fiscal oversight is the result of incompetence and inattention by the previous regime of county management or a strategy to obfuscate mischief. It is clear that citizen trust placed in those responsible for ensuring good stewardship of county money was misplaced.

People wonder whether the supervisors ever bothered to ask questions about how the county’s financial affairs were managed or were snookered by smooth talkers running the county on their behalf. Did the supervisors enable or encourage the previous regime to create this mess?

Clearly, those elected to office before 2007 are uncomfortable about the results of the audit and it seems as though they want to sweep the dirt under the rug and move forward.

Except for Jim Eads, District 5 and William Quarles, Jr. District 2, who were employed by large companies, all of those who served on the board of supervisors in the past decade had experience in running small businesses.

No one expects supervisors to put on green eyeshades and chat about Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) regulations in detail. They should have enough understanding of basic financial management, however, to ask pertinent questions and insist on rotation of accounting firms used to perform county audits.

The county retained an outside firm, RFCA, to audit its books every year for close to a decade. That same firm failed to notice, for about four years, the stale checks found in the utility department. This firm also neglected to include a $21.3 million item for wastewater treatment on the county’s financial statements since 2002.

A very troubling pattern discussed in the audit report is the failure of the county to update its accounting procedures, such as they were, to reflect the increasing complexity of Goochland’s fiscal affairs as the county grew.

The Capital One campus was lured to West Creek with a goodie bag of incentives, funded in part by the governor’s opportunity fund for about $3 million. This involved credits and rebates among the state, Capital One, the County and the Goochland Economic Development Authority. This activity is legal and above board, but requires far more sophisticated accounting than the county had ever used.

Why didn’t RFCA sit down with whatever part of county management was responsible for monitoring those transactions and explain how they were to be reflected in county accounts?

Okay, so they missed it the first year, things happen. But for the next least six years, they never caught it. That just smells bad.

They missed a lot, including a $21.3 million obligation to the City of Richmond for wastewater treatment. As the TCSD was being explained to landowners, who put up their property as collateral for money borrowed by the county, this $21.3 million item was never mentioned.

Everyone believed that the cost of building the TCSD infrastructure was the $62+ million borrowed from the Virginia Resource Authority. Eight years later, we learn that there is another $21.3 million of debt the county is obligated to pay. How do TCSD property owners, whose land was used as collateral for the debt, reconcile that?

The report includes at least 43 restatements; that means that the KPMG audit team found 43 instances where the figures were either incorrect or had been put in the wrong place. Goochland County paid a professional accounting firm and others that missed or made these errors. According to Churchman, KPMG traced these items back several years to fix the errors.

In previous years, according to Churchman, RFCA in essence closed the county’s books for the year then audited their own work. This may have occurred because no one on the county staff had the technical expertise to close the books.

There was not one county employee with an accounting degree. The previous regime, at best, failed to grasp the importance of this deficiency and was unable to understand the impropriety of the same entity closing the books and then auditing that activity.

Churchman stated several times in different ways that this action makes it impossible for an auditor to have the objectivity necessary to perform a proper audit.

Ned Creasey asked questions, which he said were prepared for him by an accountant, and which seemed to have been approved by Chairman William Quarles, Jr. District 2 before the meeting. What justification is there for the board chairman to interfere with another supervisor’s attempts to inform the citizens of the management of county government? (These questions are included below)

Churchman carefully parsed his replies to Creasey’s questions. His responses nevertheless painted a picture of county management and an auditing firm that betrayed public trust.

Additional recommendations made by the report include hiring employees with the necessary skill set to manage the increasingly complex financial affairs of the county.

The audit places Goochland on a sound footing to go forward, but raises questions about the county’s previous management and auditors that cannot go unanswered.

Quarles, Eads and Andrew Pyror, District 1, sometimes collectively referred to as “the three blind mice” seem eager to move forward and ignore the implications of the audit about activity in the past.

That action would not serve taxpayers well. At the very least, the supervisors must investigate legal remedies to recover the cost of the KPMG audit as well as the $434,000 expended to understand the finances of the TCSD.

At the end of the day, the supervisors are responsible for the operation of county government. Failure to pursue recompense from those whose actions led to the deficiencies outlined in the audit gives credence to the belief that the supervisors enabled or were complicit in those actions. Citizens have little trust in local government. The smooth operators need to foot the bill for their deeds.

Questions asked by Ned Creasey (these are about 33 minutes into the recording of the evening session.)

Preliminary Info/Audit planning:

At what amount(s) did KPMG set materiality for the overall audit? Was the overall materiality amounts altered from initial levels during the audit?

Did KPMG alter the nature, timing, and extent of substantive tests in order to address deficiencies uncovered during tests of controls?

When performing tests of controls, were there any areas where controls were absent or not implemented?

What is the typical period of time for fieldwork related to an entity similar to Goochland County?

Material Weaknesses:

According to your draft report, “The existence, magnitude and causes of prior year restatements and current year adjustments are the basis for material weaknesses.” Were there weaknesses that existed in prior year information that no longer existed in the period currently under audit?

Regarding a “Lack of segregation of duties” – does the county have the personnel necessary to properly segregate duties in the departments identified within the report? In KPMG’s experience, would the benefits of increased personnel outweigh the costs?

Was KPMG able to discover the existence of liabilities related to the TCSD by reviewing the minutes of past Board of Supervisors meetings and workshops? A review of all board minutes is a core activity in the planning stage of ANY audit, isn’t it?

Would subsequent debt service payments be an obvious indication of the existence of a liability?

Has KPMG been given a copy of the previous audit firm’s response to proposed restatements of previously reported amounts?

The previous accountant has addressed the proposed restatements in a letter to the county administrator, stating that many of the items noted by KPMG are immaterial in nature. How can we (the B.O.S.) reconcile the difference between what KPMG and RFCA finds to be material?

Further, the previous accountant repeatedly noted that “Management failed to communicate the changes to or monitor the controls over the capital asset listing.” How long would KPMG allow reportable conditions to exist without being addressed by management before qualifying its opinion about fair presentation?

If the county disclosed the discovery of a group of stale checks (on the scale that was discovered in the utilities department) after KPMG issued its report, would KPMG feel compelled to restate or disclose this discovery?

Was there any evidence of collusion on behalf of the former county administrator or other county employees? Is it possible that collusion existed but was not discovered?

Does KPMG plan on obtaining a representation letter from the county administrator at the conclusion of its field work? Does this representation letter typically include a statement regarding the completeness and accuracy of the information provided by the county?

Is it appropriate to rely on external auditors to manage year end closing procedures?

Does the county now have appropriate documented procedures to ensure complete and accurate accrual accounting? Are the personnel in place to achieve this goal?

Did KPMG find evidence of misappropriated assets?

How often, in your experiences as an auditor, has KPMG (or you personally) come across a previously unqualified report for a period requiring so many restatements of year end amounts and balances?

Thursday, June 3, 2010


The proposed charge for the curbside recycling program in eastern Goochland is $25 per year, not per month. Thanks to Bill Cleveland for catching that error.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June supervisors' meeting

Taking care of business

At their June 1 meeting, the Goochland board of Supervisors dealt with the usual laundry list of government business.

The most important item on the agenda was the final audit report from KPMG, which has been looking at county finances for almost a year. The comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for 2009 is on the county website. Earlier this year, county administrator Rebecca T. Dickson promised that the report, in its entirety, would be posted on the county website. Before the report began, Dickson announced that the report had already been posted.

There will be a separate post devoted to the audit in the near future. In the meantime, go to the county website www.co.goochland.va.us and take a look for yourself. There is a lot to digest.

The board started its day at 1 p.m. with a brief workshop.

Leigh Dunn, county environmental planner, explained the concept of green infrastructure. By identifying environmentally sensitive areas, the county can establish guidelines to encourage their protection and use of conservation easements, which prohibit development in perpetuity.

This would create a template connecting these areas creating natural corridors for wildlife movement and passive recreation. If developers are aware that the county favors this strategy, Dunn contended, they are more likely to include connectivity of green areas in their initial development designs. A green infrastructure strategy would be a guide, not a mandate, Dunn explained.

This would be an improvement over existing zoning ordinances that simply require that a portion of a parcel be dedicated as open space with little regard for how that open space relates to open space on adjoining parcels. It will be interesting to see this discussion unfold.

Rudy Butler District 4, raised concerns about loss of tax revenue when putting the easements in place. Dunn explained that, so far, land placed under these protective easements has been mostly taxed at land use rates, which remains unchanged after the easement is in force.

He also asked if areas required for riparian buffers and other open space could be placed in land use taxation, which would further reduce revenue from real estate tax.

The board asked county staff to further study the details, including taxation, of the concept. One collateral benefit from green infrastructure that Dunn did not mention, is that the value of property adjoining protected areas tends to increase in value because it is free of the specter of unknown future development.

Curbside recycling, enjoyed by many residents of eastern Goochland for 20 years, was a casualty of budget cuts. Dickson reported that the county is investigating retention of the recycling by charging participating households $25 per month. To make the proposed system viable, 750 households must commit to the service and be willing to pay a year of costs upfront. Dickson said that the county has received indication of interest in continuing the service from about 600 household represented by homeowners’ associations. The $25 fee includes an administrative fee, which would make the service self-supporting.

The current service will end on June 17. Implementing the alternative service could take a few months. Dickson said that some people have indicated a willingness to take their recycling to the central convenience center on Fairground Road in the meantime.

One of the further cuts that Dickson recommended for the county budget is closure of the central convenience center for one day per week.

County attorney Norman Sales presented a detailed report on local effects of legislation handed down by the Virginia General Assembly. To ensure that county laws mirror state code, changes in zoning laws will be referred to the planning commission and the supervisors will hold public hearings before changing other laws.

The afternoon session began on a bittersweet note as the board bid farewell to Doris Elderman executive director of the Goochland Chamber of Commerce for the past five years. Family concerns forced Elderman to change the focus of her energy. During her tenure, the Chamber took a giant leap forward in encouraging business in the county. She will be sorely missed, but she pointed the Chamber in the right direction.

Members of GEPA (goochlandparents.com) commented about the additional $317,099 of cuts to the school budget proposed by school superintendent Dr. Linda Underwood. Jane Christie contended that Underwood manufactured the appalling situation that has pitted parents against school administration. The supervisors voted unanimously to approve the cuts as proposed.

Paul Costello of Centerville contended that county’s upcoming work with a VDOT consultant to craft plans for an urban development area (UDA) in the Centerville area are contradictory to a proposed expansion of the 623 Landfill just north of Interstate 64 on Ashland Road. Costello urged the board to postpone any discussion on the landfill expansion until the UDA work has been completed. (Later in the meeting, the board voted to refer the 623 Landfill requests to the planning commission for review.)

While this does not mean that the requests will be approved, it will provide ample opportunity for public comment on the matter before both the planning commission and supervisors.

Maj. Don Bewkes, speaking on behalf of the sheriff’s department told the supervisors that county law enforcement activity was up in May. Goochland deputies responded to 2,350 calls up from the 2,200 of a “normal” month.

The calls included a motor vehicle fatality in which the deceased was not wearing a seatbelt; 11 DUI arrests; mutual aid response by the county’s tactical team; three burglaries on Riddles Bridge and Chapel Hill Roads and a car left on railroad tracks that was hit by a train. Bewkes said that the track incident resulted in neither injuries nor derailment, which could have escalated into a significant incident.

Bewkes also reported that the Goochland tactical team recently completed DEA training on clandestine drug labs. In addition to learning new skills, the DEA provided, at no cost to Goochland, $2,800 worth of equipment for each team member. Goochland fire-rescue also provided self contained breathing apparatus and related training to the tac team.

The board voted 4-1 to pay the five percent portion of employee contribution to the Virginia Retirement System for those hired after July 1. Jim Eads, District 5, cast the dissenting vote and cautioned the board that this practice would soon be too expensive for Goochland to continue.

Butler contended that surrounding jurisdictions pay the five percent and if Goochland does not follow suit, we will be unable to hire the best people.

The board also approved a proposal for the Economic Development Authority to contribute up to $250,000 for extension of TCSD water lines to the Alligator Fuels convenience store and car wash planned for a parcel of land on Pouncey Tract Road. It also approved rebating up to nine sewer connection fees, not to exceed $510,000, in return for Alligator Fuels funding the extension of the sewer line to its property. This includes no guarantees to Alligator Fuels that there will be additional sewer connections made. This is a very good deal for the county and a most economical way to extend these utility lines, which should act as a catalyst for future TCSD development.

Referral of zoning change from A-2 and B-1 to B-3 for land on the east side of Oilville Road was finally referred to the planning commission as the first step in preparing this area for some economic development. This zoning should have been in place at least 10 years ago.

In the evening session Jonathan Leon Sadler and Larry James Leabough were inducted into the Goochland County Parks and Recreation Wall of Fame in recognition for their years of serving as role models and mentors for the youth of Goochland. Both men have given countless hours of their time to recreational programs and are to be commended for living good citizenship.

Dennis Simms, Sr. was given a three-year extension to a conditional use permit to operate an automobile graveyard at 3505 Appaloosa Lane in western Goochland. Simms promised to have all vehicles removed from the property within three years.

The board adjourned until July 6 at 8:30 a.m. at which time it will meet at the Courthouse Company 5 fire-rescue station for a strategic planning session, which is expected to focus on economic development issues.