Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

Raymond E.  Graham , Cedar Run District Supervisor

November 17, 2003

Staff Lead:


Bryan Tippie , Director

Budget Office


A Resolution to Amend the Debt Referendum Policy for Fauquier County

Topic Description:

Effective July 1, 2002, the Board of  Supervisors adopted a resolution which established a Debt Referendum Policy for Fauquier County. Basically, the policy states that all new construction projects or acquisitions that exceed $10,000,000 require a voter referendum. A referendum is required regardless of how the project is to be funded.  

The policy did not specifically address spending funds on a project prior to a required referendum.  

The School Division is seeking Board of Supervisors' approval to expend School Construction Reserve funding for conceptual and schematic secondary facility designs in preparation for a bond referendum. Expenditures are proposed to be supported from the School Construction Reserve.  

On October 20, 2003, a Board of Supervisors work session was held to discuss this issue.  

 In response to the work session, a draft modification to the current Debt Referendum Policy has been prepared for the Board of Supervisors' consideration.  The modification would specifically allow for reasonable related expenditures of available cash funds prior to a referendum. These expenditures are those considered necessary to ensure that Fauquier County citizens have sufficient information to make an informed decision on a referendum issue.  

This funding would not be available to "promote" the referendum such as for radio air time and newspaper advertisements.  The proposed amended Debt Referendum Policy is attached.

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors: 

Consider adoption of the attached resolution.


Financial Impacts Analysis:

Any funding expended prior to referendum would be supported by existing cash funding. In the specific case of the School Division, any funding/expenditure other than from its operating budget would be in accordance with existing Finance Committee policy.

Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

School Division

Finance Department

General Services

All other departments and County agencies that would be involved in construction projects requiring a referendum.  




WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors, through its Capital Improvements Plan process, has recognized the need for and wishes to encourage enhanced public participation in the decision making process relating to major new construction projects due to potential effects of these projects on the County’s credit rating, debt availability, tax rates and annual operating budget; and  

WHEREAS, on June 11, 2001, the Board of Supervisors adopted a Debt Referendum Policy, effective July 1, 2001, and on October 20, 2003, a work session was held to discuss the need for and specific elements of amending the policy; and  

WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors has determined that it is desirable and necessary to  amend the Debt Referendum Policy relating to major new facility construction projects and establish referendum requirement thresholds and other policies relating thereto; now, therefore, be it  

RESOLVED by the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors this 17th day of November 2003, That the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors does hereby adopt the following amended Debt Referendum Policy:

  1.  All new facility construction projects or acquisitions that exceed $10,000,000 shall be subject to voter referendum, regardless of financing mechanism.

  2. Cash expenditures are authorized for reasonable related expenses in preparation for a referendum.  These expenditures may include preliminary architectural and engineering design work needed to provide the County citizens adequate details on the referendum issue.  Funding will be in accordance with current Finance Committee policies.

  3.  The referendum threshold for new facility construction projects shall be lowered to $2,000,000 in the event that the County has or, through the issuance of the contemplated debt, will exceed 100% of the County’s debt capacity. (Debt capacity shall be defined as 10% of General Fund revenues committed to debt service.)

  4. This amended policy shall take effect on November 18, 2003 .

  5. Voter referendums shall coincide with the General Election.

  6. The Board of Supervisors, by a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors at a regularly scheduled meeting, may waive the referendum requirement, to the extent allowed by law, to meet a critical health and/or public safety need or in conjunction with a court order.