Committee votes to reduce cash proffers by $7,000

A five-member citizens committee last week met for their fourth and final meeting concerning the fate of cash proffers. After a committee dust-up the recommendation was settled. On a 3-2 vote the committee has recommended a reduction in the cash proffer of about 40 percent to $11,873. The current cash proffer is $18,966.

The cash proffer helps offset the impact of a new home or dwelling unit on schools, libraries, parks, fire stations and local road improvements.

During the committee’s March 21 meeting the group voted 3-2 to eliminate the current proffer in total, leaving a gap in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) revenue for the Board of Supervisors (BOS) to fill if they approved the recommendation.

While the meeting was meant to offer alternative revenue sources to cover the potentially lost CIP income, Michael Jackson of the Dale District offered a compromise. Mr. Jackson said he looked to the comprehensive plan in which the transportation department projects funding needs out 42 years to 2055 while other infrastructure needs are projected only 20 years.

“I’m wondering where is the consensus that we had last meeting,” said Teri Coffer Beirne, who represents the Midlothian District. “I’m still in favor of eliminating cash proffers.”

Jackson, who is an accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner, wrote in his compromise proposal that the schools portion of the cash proffer should also be reduced for one- and two-bedroom apartments and condominiums to $8,302. “Last year, at the Board’s request, the Budget Dept. worked with School Board staff to calculate that one- or two-bedroom apartments/condos average half the number of school children as three bedroom apartments.” He said his calculation was based on that assumption.

Jackson also proposed that the BOS make his proposal permanent; adjusting each year for inflation only.

“The reality is that it will be permanent until it changes,” said David Anderson, Executive Vice President - Development & Construction at W.J. Vakos & Company. Anderson added that they would be changing the amount of the proffer but not the philosophy of it.

“What this would do is offer predictability for the development community for long-term growth,” Jackson said. “I think that is something they can look at and say we understand what that cost is going forward. They will not have to worry about how the calculation continuing to increase and the BOS doing something different.”

The two dissenting votes asked that they be permitted to offer an alternative opinion to Jackson’s compromise.

Senior Assistant County Attorney David “Rob” Robinson, offered one caveat. He said that the committee’s policy, if adopted by the BOS, would allow a previously negotiated cash proffer to be brought back through the rezoning process and potentially renegotiated to the lower amount.

Ms. Coffer Beirne said she thought the committee was meeting to discuss revenue to replace the loss of cash proffers that they had voted on at the previous meeting.

“I’m really upset about this. I walked in this room 55 minutes ago and this is the first time I laid my eyes on this document,” Beirne said. “I spent no less than 12 hours in this room and countless hours outside this room discussing all the implications of the cash proffer and when I came in here, I was under the impression that we were starting what we ended at the last meeting. I feel completely undermined.”  

The Jackson compromise  agreed to by Jackson, Paul Grasewicz and Bill Woodfin, and the dissenting opinion of Coffer Beirne and David Anderson is expected to be considered at the BOS meeting on April 10.

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