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Business, industry prospects increase in Halifax County

Activity for prospects is increasing in the county, according to Halifax County Industrial Development Authority Executive Director Matt Leonard.

Leonard shared the good news with authority board members Friday morning during their monthly meeting at Riverstone.

“I think Halifax has done a great job of preparing itself for the recovering economy,” he said, adding the board would discuss the prospects activity in more detail behind closed doors. “But things are improving in that regard.”

Board Chairman John Cannon commended Leonard and members serving on the authority’s three committees for offering their input which he credits for the increase in prospect activity.

“It all seems to be working very well,” Cannon added.

After approving the March financial report and accepting the annual audit for the year ending June 30, 2012, members were briefed on the $2.5 million proposed budget that includes more than $1.9 million in properties debt service and operations and maintenance.

The authority estimates the proposed operational budget will be approximately the same as the current fiscal year budget. 

Of the $2.5 million budget, some 22 percent or $550,000 will be used to pay staff costs, overhead, legal and professional and business development expenses, Leonard explained.

Authority members expect to approve their final budget at their June board meeting.

The employee handbook draft revision should be ready for review of the full board at next month’s meeting, and staff continues working to review decades of hard files currently taking up space, the executive director also said.

The authority plans to contract with an outside provider to digitize and archive these years of records into searchable storage.

Also Friday, authority members approved the authority contracting with B & B Consultants for a $105,000 design contract for the $1.49 million Phase II renovations at Green View (former Daystrom building).

Construction on the Green View project could be complete as early as December, Leonard said.

Also approved was a $20,000 contract with Crutchfield and Associates of Halifax to conduct a topographical survey and wetlands delineation for the Burlington property in Halifax that will help market the site as a buildable site now that the building has been demolished.

“The Town of Halifax has done a great job of moving this forward,” the director added.

In other authority business Friday morning, board members took the following actions:

Were informed the authority is working with the county, South Boston and Halifax town councils on an amendment to expand one satellite enterprise zone to include the Burlington property in Halifax;

 Received an update on two tobacco commission research and development grant submissions that have been vetted by staff and now will move to the July round of grants;

 Asked the authority executive director to discuss with South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel the possibility of having a timber appraisal conducted on the thickly wooded land located at the Crossing of the Dan site the town is seeking to thin out for a picnicking area and for the reenactment to take place;

 Were informed the executive director has made 20 current client visits and contacts as well as making a presentation on what Riverstone Technology Park has to offer the community during the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s recent open house; and

 Learned an emergency plan for Riverstone Building I and II tenants is almost complete with emergency responders visiting the facilities to become more familiar in the event of an emergency situation.