Saturday, March 15, 2014

Good news and bad news

The good news is that the Goochland County real estate tax rate will not be higher than 53 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The bad news is that rate represents a nine tenths of a cent tax increase. Because revenues expected to be generated by a modest rise in  existing property values over last year—one point seven percent--retaining the 53 cent rate that has been in  place for several years is a tax increase.
Goochland County Administrator Rebecca Dickson explained to the supervisors at their March 4 meeting that state law requires public notification of the tax increase. Due to declining real estate values for the past several years, it’s been a good while since the last time this occurred.
Be that as it may, most real estate tax bills will be smaller than they were five years ago. The machinery and tools tax rate is expected to be reduced to $1 per $100 of valuation from the four dollar rate previously levied.
Given the fragile economic times we are in, the county and schools have done a good job with the extra funds. 
A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held on Monday, April 7 at 7 p.m. The supervisors will hold their April meeting on this day instead of the customary first Tuesday of the month. A vote on the budget is expected to take place at a special meeting on April 21. At this time, the tax rate for calendar 2014 will be set. 
The supervisors presented Mike Cade, VDOT's Ashland Residency agent, who is retiring with a plaque of appreciation for helping Goochland navigate state road procedures.
Dr. James Lane,  Superintendent of Goochland Schools, shared continuing good news about our education system with the supervisors. His report is available in the board packet available on the county website Please follow the links for details about the great work that our schools are doing. Lane's boundless good cheer and contagious enthusiasm for the role of education in our community indicates that our schools are on the right track. 
The board held public hearings on routine matters. One zoning ordinance amendment specifically permits data centers in M-1 and M-2 zoning districts, to smooth the way for possible location of a data center on land designated last year by Virginia Dominion  Power as suitable for these facilities in West Creek.
Another ordinance change imposes penalties for obstructing fire hydrants, fire apparatus, and parking in fire zones. The rules are in place to ensure that firefighters can do their job safely and efficiently. Violators should face consequences. Also, if you see an ambulance or fire truck running with lights and sirens, get out of their way if you can. Every second counts in an emergency and you never know when those fine folks might be headed to your house!
Goochland Fire Marshal Doug Davies explained that dry hydrants--there are blue signs announcing their presence all over the county--are devices that permit fire apparatus quick access to water in ponds, tanks, and streams. A dry hydrant is essentially a straw from the bank of a water source to its deepest part with a fire hose coupling to quickly pump large quantities of water into a truck. As most of Goochland does not have access to public utilities, water to fight fires must be transported to the scene of a blaze. 
A proposed biosolids storage ordnance amendment was referred to the planning commission for review at its April 3 meeting. If sludge is on the agenda, and maybe in the air, can spring be far behind? The April 3 agenda also includes an application to store biosolids on a parcel of land on Chapel Hill Road.
A public hearing on proposed local oversight of storm water runoff regulations was set for April 21.
All current planning commissioners: John Meyers, District1; Matt Brewer District 2; Derek Murray District 3; Joe Andrews District 4; and Tom Rockecharlie District 5 were reappointed for another two year term.

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