2009 Legislative Priorities Report

This report summarizes action taken regarding Albemarle’s 2009 Legislative Priorities.  This report will often cite information from the final legislative reports of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC), Virginia Municipal League (VML), and Virginia Association of Counties (VACo).  For these organizations’ complete reports that provide a thorough overview of local government impacts beyond Albemarle’s priorities, please use the links below.

 

TJPDC:  http://www.tjpdc.org/pdf/Liaison/09ReportFINAL.pdf

VACo:  http://www.vaco.org/LegislativeNews/LegPubs/LegSummary09(3).pdf

VML:  http://www.vml.org/LEG/09LegRpt/09LegislativeReport.pdf

 

Growth Management, Land Use and Transportation

 

Priority:            Local Authority--Request that the legislature 1) strengthen localities’ authority by enabling them to utilize adequate public facilities ordinances; and 2) not pass legislation that preempts or circumvents existing local authority to regulate land use.

Summary:        There were numerous bills introduced and passed by the 2009 General Assembly which impacted local government land use authority.  The following is a brief summary of such bills: 

 

                        -HB 1788 and SB 1276 will bar localities from prohibiting installation of alternative systems (where no sewers or sewerage disposal systems are available) and it will limit local regulation of maintenance requirements for such systems.

 

                        -HB 2029 amended Virginia Code § 15.2-2241 to reduce the maximum permissible overhead percentage on developer performance bonds for public improvements from 25 percent to 10 percent, until July 1, 2014.

 

                        -HB 2034 amended Virginia Code §§ 15.2-2241 and 15.2-2260 to clarify the starting point for time limits on recorded plats for phased subdivision, and extended the time period in which the underlying preliminary plat remains valid to be five years from the date of the last recorded plat.

 

                        -HB 2077 extended the expiration date for: (i) any subdivision plat, recorded plat, or final site plan; (ii) certain special exceptions, special use permits, or conditional use permits; and (iii) certain proffers that were valid and outstanding as of January 1, 2009, to July 1, 2014.  

                       

                        -SB 1533 extended the expiration date for certain special use permits which are outstanding on January 1, 2009 to July 1, 2011.

 

                        -HB 2165 exempted certain small scale biofules production in agriculture zoning districts from a locality’s special use permit requirements. 

                        (Source: TJPDC)

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities.

                        -----------------------------------------------------------

 

Priority:            Impact Fee Authority--Request that the legislature support impact fee legislation that allows for 1) a fair allocation of costs representing a “pro-rata” off-set of new growth on public facilities; 2) impact fees for facility costs related to transportation, schools, fire, police, emergency medical services, libraries, stormwater management, open space and parks/recreation lands; 3) effective implementation through simple locally-based formulae and reasonable administrative requirements; 4) does not cap or limit localities’ impact fee updates; and 5) does not diminish the existing proffer system.

Summary:        There was no legislation introduced in the 2009 General Assembly regarding the use or support of impact fees.  The 2008 General Assembly had numerous bills introduced related to this group, and continued SB 768 to the 2009 General Assembly, but it was not addressed this year.  (Source: TJPDC)

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities.

                        -----------------------------------------------------------

 

Priority:            Conservation Easements--Request the legislature support and augment local efforts in natural resource protection through 1) Continuing to fund the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (VLCF) for locally established and funded Purchase of Development Rights programs (e.g. ACE Program in Albemarle County); 2) Retaining provisions in transient occupancy tax legislation so that funds can continue to be used to protect open-space and resources of historical, cultural, ecological and scenic value that attract tourism; and 3) Increase incentives for citizens to create conservation easements.

Summary:        The budget captures $2 million in general fund support from the VLCF and the governor is authorized to substitute $2 million from the American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for land conservation.  The Purchase of Development Rights grant funding was reduced by $500,000 in the FY2010 budget. (Source:  TJPDC)  Albemarle’s ability to utilize the transient occupancy tax to support the ACE program was not affected by the 2009 General Assembly. (Source:  VACo).

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities.

                        ------------------------------------------------------------

 

Priority:            Scenic Protection and Tourist Enhancement--Request enabling legislation for Albemarle County to provide for a scenic protection and tourist enhancement overlay district. As the County pursues options to protect the visual quality of land as an aesthetic and economic resource, this legislation would provide a method to ensure full consideration of visual resources and scenic areas when the County or state makes land use decisions in designated areas.

Summary:        No bills were introduced to the 2009 General Assembly on this matter.

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities.

                        ---------------------------------------------------

 

Priority:            Transportation Funding--Request the legislature 1) Establish stable and consistent state revenues for Virginia’s long-term transportation infrastructure needs; 2) Direct funding efforts at all transportation modes; 3) Coordinate planning for transportation and land use, being mindful of local Comprehensive and regional Transportation Plans when planning transportation systems within a locality; and 4) Not shift transportation responsibilities, including maintenance, to localities.

Summary:        In the current economic climate, the 2009 General Assembly was not able to establish stable and consistent state revenues for Virginia’s long-term transportation infrastructure needs.  Virginia expects to receive federal stimulus funds for transportation projects, and the Secretary of Transportation is required to compile a prioritized statewide list of transportation projects ready to be advertised for bid when funding becomes available from the ARRA.  Virginia expects to receive at least $800 million for roads and transit capital from the federal stimulus funds and approximately $400 million is targeted for roads. (Source: VACo).

 

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities.

                        ---------------------------------------------------

 

Public Safety

Priority:            Nonsurface Treated Highway (Dirt and Gravel) Speed Limits—Request the legislature amend Virginia Code § 46.2-873.1 by adding Albemarle to the list of counties for which the provisions of the section apply.  This section establishes a maximum speed limit of 35 miles per hour for nonsurface treated highways (dirt and gravel), unless determined otherwise by the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner or other authority having jurisdiction over highways and indicated by sign.  The current maximum speed limit for these roads is 55 miles per hour.

Summary:        HB 1837 was introduced by Delegate Toscano, and passed.  Unposted maximum speed limits on nonsurface treated highways (dirt and gravel) in Albemarle County are now 35 miles per hour.

                        ----------------------------------------------------------

 

Health and Human Services

 

Priority:            Comprehensive Services Act (CSA)--Request the legislature assist localities’ implementation of CSA in a consistent, financially stable manner by: 1) Fully funding the state pool for CSA with allocations based on realistic anticipated levels of need and a cap on local expenditures for serving a child through CSA; 2) Enhancing state funding for grants to localities to create community-based alternatives for children served in CSA; 3) Establishing state contracts with CSA providers to provide for a uniform contract management process, improve vendor accountability and control costs; and 4) Encouraging the state to be proactive in making service providers available and to support local and regional efforts to address areas of cost sharing among localities by procuring services through group negotiation.

Summary:        No additional funds were included in the approved budget to provide additional state funding to localities for CSA administrative cost.  Rather, the approved budget included an additional $3 million reduction in funding for CSA.  No changes were made in local match rates for Medicaid-funded services provided through CSA.  The budget eliminated $500,000 in grants each year to help localities with start-up costs in developing community-based services for children who may otherwise be placed in residential care.  No legislation was introduced concerning state contracting with residential providers.  (Source: TJPDC)

                        Two CSA-related bills were passed, SB 1180 and SB 1181, and they require local Community Policy and Management Teams (CPMT) and Community Services Boards (CSB) to collaborate on local plans for intensive care coordination.  It also requires the Office of Comprehensive Services (OCS) to develop a plan for conducting training sessions for CPMT and FAPT members, and local fiscal agents and chief administrative officers.  Additionally, OCS is required to report to the State Executive Council all expenditures associated with serving children who receive CSA-funded services.  This reporting requirement may help the State more accurately allocate future funds of CSA to realistic anticipated levels of need.  (Source: TJPDC, VACo and VML)

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities.

                        ---------------------------------------------------

 

Priority:            Child Care for Low Income Working Families--Request the legislature provide additional funds to local governments to assist low-income working families with childcare costs.  This funding helps working-class parents pay for supervised day care facilities and supports efforts for families to become self-sufficient.

Summary:        The budget reduced funding in FY2010 from the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant program.  The governor is authorized to substitute no less than $3.2 million from the ARRA to provide funding for community action agencies.  (Source: VACo)

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities.

                        -------------------------------------------------------------

 

Local Government Administration and Finance

 

Priority:            Full Funding of State Mandates--Request the state provide full funding for its mandates in all areas of local government including the Standards of Quality (SOQs), positions approved by the Compensation Board, costs related to jails and juvenile detention centers and human services positions.

Summary:        The FY2010 budget restored dollars which had previously been reduced in the proposed budget.  The restoration of dollars is between seven to ten percent and includes the following: commissioners of revenue/directors of finance ($1.7 million), court clerks ($2.7 million), commonwealth’s attorneys ($3.5 million), treasurers ($1.1 million) and sheriffs ($5.3 million).  The FY2010 budget also restored $6.6 million for state aid to localities with police departments (HB 599), which kept the funding level with the previously-reduced FY2009 amount.  The budget also added $2 million to the Compensation Board budget to reimburse two-thirds of the fringe benefit costs for court clerks.  (Source:  TJPDC).  Since the adoption of the FY2010 budget significant revenue shortfalls have caused additional budget cuts and the impacts of such cuts are still being analyzed.  Unfunded mandates and under-funded mandates are an ongoing issue and given the State’s past actions and historical trends, it is unlikely existing unfunded and under-funded mandates will be funded by the State.

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities.

                        -------------------------------------------------

 

Priority:            Local Control of Local Revenues--Request the legislature take no action to restrict or limit the existing local control of local revenues so that local government leaders can take appropriate measures to generate sufficient revenues to sustain and improve services.

Summary:        No bills were approved in the 2009 session that restrict or limit existing local control of local revenues. 

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities.

                        -----------------------------------------------------------

 

Priority:            Drug Court Funding--Request the legislature fully fund the Drug Court Program, which provides effective treatment and intensive supervision to drug offenders through the Circuit Courts of several Virginia localities.

Summary:        The approved budget continues to fully fund the Drug Court Program.

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities.

                            -----------------------------------------------------------

 

Priority:            Cost to Compete Pay Differential--Due to the documented high cost of living in Albemarle County, request the legislature include Albemarle County Schools in the “Cost to Compete Pay Differential” so that the County may reach and maintain competitive compensation to help recruit, develop and retain a highly qualified and diverse teacher workforce.

Summary:        No budget language or amendments were introduced for this priority.

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities.

                        ------------------------------------------------------------

 

Priority:            Land Use Taxation—Request the legislature to amend Virginia Code § 58.1-3237 to increase the roll-back taxes assessed against property under land use taxation that changes to a non-qualifying use to an amount equal to the sum of the deferred tax for each of the ten most recent complete tax years.  Currently the roll-back tax applies only to the deferred taxes relating to the five most recent tax years.

Summary:        This initiative was supported by VACo but no bill was introduced to the 2009 General Assembly.

Proposal:         Staff recommends this remain a County priority and has included it in the proposed 2010 priorities

                        -----------------------------------------------------------

 

Other initiatives supported by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

 

Priority:            Regional Transit Authority—Request the legislature amend Title 15.2 of the Virginia Code to enable Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville to create a regional transit authority for the purposes of coordinating regional transit planning and operations and extend transit service to developing areas while providing faster and more frequent service to the existing system.  

Summary:        Delegate Toscano introduced HB 2158, which enables Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville to establish a transit authority.  HB 2158 passed and became law effective July 1, 2009.  (Source: TJPDC)

                        ----------------------------------------------------------

Priority:            Transit and Transportation Funding—Request the legislature to enable Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville to impose an additional sales and use tax for the purpose of creating revenue to be used solely for transit and transportation initiatives in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville.

Summary:        Delegate Toscano introduced HB 2161, which would have enabled Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville to impose an additional sales and use tax for the purpose of creating revenue to be used solely for transit and transportation issues.  HB 2161 failed in the Finance Committee. (Source:  TJPDC).

Proposal:         Staff has no recommendations for action.

                        ----------------------------------------------------------

 

Priority:            Scenic River Designation—Request the legislature to expand the Rivanna Scenic River, a component of the Virginia Scenic Rivers System, to almost 10 miles to include the length of the waterway from the South Fork Rivanna River reservoir to the junction of the Rivanna with the James River.

Summary:        SB 957 was introduced by Senator Deeds to expand the scenic river designation for the Rivanna River to include the portion from the South Fork Rivanna reservoir to the Woolen Mills dam.  SB 957 passed and became law effective July 1, 2009.  (Source: TJPDC)

 

 

 

Go to next attachment
Return to exec summary