Warren County Supervisors Hear Health District Process, Benefits | Every day

Warren County supervisors received an introduction to health districts this week.

Deputy County Administrator and former Planning Director Taryn Logan and Director of Public Works Mike Berry presented information about the health districts to the Board of Overseers during a business session Tuesday.

President Cheryl L. Cullers, Vice President Delores R. Oates, and Supervisors Vicky L. Cook and Walter J. “Walt” Mabe attended the working session. Supervisor Jerome K. “Jay” Butler did not attend the business meeting.

The county’s 14 health districts range in size from 12 lots at Osprey Lane to 2,788 at Shenandoah Farms. Warren County maintains six districts – Shenandoah Farms, Lake Front Royal, Linden Heights, Osprey Lane, Shannon Woods and Wildcat Drive. The county performs road maintenance and grading, snow removal and brush clearing, Berry said.

All but four districts charge a fee to any builder planning to build a home, before the county issues a building permit, to cover the cost of repairing roads used by construction machinery.

“So you bring in heavy equipment and they destroy the place and, you know, so there’s an impact fee for any new construction impact,” Berry said.

Many requests from neighborhood associations asking for health district status came about 10 years ago, when property owners sought help to repair poor roads.

Virginia allows counties to create special tax districts. Homeowners must submit a petition with at least 50 qualified voters in the subdivision who want the county to create the health district, Logan explained. If the proposed district contains fewer than 100 qualified voters, the county requires a petition signed by 50% of the qualified voters in the proposed district. The petition is submitted to the Supervisory Board, which then holds a public hearing on the proposal three consecutive weeks later.

Before approving the district, the board must find that the creation of the district, or the expansion of an existing district, is necessary, practical, financially responsible, and supported by at least 50% of the people who own property in the district. or the expansion zone. . The board must also survey all landowners. Supervisors create an ordinance setting the boundaries and powers of the district board. Supervisors may construct, maintain and operate district water supply, sewer and drainage, garbage removal, electrical, heating, lighting, firefighting equipment, dams , gas, roads and street name signs, parking lots, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, community buildings and recreational facilities used by the public, among other duties and powers.

Supervisors can also acquire existing systems and installations; rights, titles, interests or easements; buy, sell, lease or alienate property acquired following a public hearing; use eminent domain to condemn the property to build water systems, water and sewer lines and treatment plants and improvements.

The council may require landlords or tenants in the district to connect to all systems such as water supply or garbage removal and set the taxes levied on all properties in the district to pay for those systems.

Supervisors may appoint advisory councils for health districts.

A neighborhood does not affect the privacy of roads and other neighborhood facilities. District fees apply to all lots. The county treasurer’s office collects the fees, relieving pressure on homeowners associations. Taxpayers can deduct district fees on their federal tax returns.

District and county taxes are collected on a homeowner’s mortgage escrow throughout the year. A tiered system taxes unimproved lots at a lower rate than improved properties. Some districts charge builders a fee for building new roads before the county issues building permits. Health district status makes a subdivision eligible for state and federal disaster relief funds. A district can generate additional revenue to make improvements in the community.

Once supervisors create a district, its owners’ subdivision board or real estate association no longer needs to put liens on overdue properties on charges. A homeowner must pay district taxes in order to sell a property. A neighborhood provides stability to the subdivision, increases property values, and improves the credit status of the community.

The board of supervisors manages the district but can contract with landlords or the owners’ association to manage the district, Logan explained. The association annually submits a budget and proposed tax rates to the supervisors. The county collects district taxes and remits the funds, less a $350 processing fee and 5% of collection, to the homeowner group. Supervisors must approve the budget, tax rates, and building impact fees. The county can take over district operations if the district is not run properly. Owners must audit annually and the district must follow state procurement guidelines.

The Board of Supervisors may abolish a health district at any time by ordinance.

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