County administrator, Steve Nichols, mainly gave an update of the process and recommendations from staff. Linda Lenherr, county treasurer, also provided feedback on the process.
The recommendation to keep the process streamlined is to restrict donations to only six funds: the government general fund, Fluvanna County Public Schools, parks and recreation, the Social Services Special Welfare Fund, sheriff’s office and the library.
Any donation would be used for budget items. It was discussed including in the yet to be adopted policy a restriction on personnel budget items. Through discussion, supervisors felt ‘common sense would rule the day’ because department heads know donations cannot be expected annually.
Implementation the contribution program could begin as early as Sept. 1 if supervisors approve the measure during the Aug. 7 afternoon meeting. The first tax bill to include the option to contribute would be the Dec. 5 bill.
The minimum donation level would be $10. Anything less than $10 would be returned.
People could contribute online any time via credit card or check. There is a third-party convenience fee for any online transaction, including paying taxes. People could also drop off donations at the treasurer’s office or mail donations to the treasurer’s office.
Any voluntary contributions have to be separate from any tax payment. There has to be two or more checks or transactions, it cannot be included with tax payment.
Under the proposed process, twice a year supervisors would be presented with the donated funds then release the funds for each budget line.
The cost to the county making this option available is printing and stuffing the additional form in the tax bill envelope. The cost was estimated to be no more than $5,500 a year. The cheapest part of the equation is allowing the online contributions.
The additional cost does not include staff time to handle and process the donations. The treasurer’s office will need to record and mail receipts. Donations could be considered a tax deduction because it is a voluntary contribution to a public body but residents are urged to follow advice of their tax professionals.
Supervisors will vote on the policy to begin the program at the 2 p.m. Aug. 7 meeting. The meeting will be held at the Fluvanna County High School auditorium.