- Last Updated on 12:11 AM 09/10/10
- BY Paula I. Bryant
Halifax County Supervisors held three public hearings Tuesday evening before agreeing to apply for $200,000 in USDA funding to buy a portable stage and lighting system and adopting two ordinances that allow collection of a $25 recordation fee and a $50 zoning permit fee.
Only one person spoke during the three hearings.
Bernard Mitzler of Nathalie spoke in the first hearing on a notice of intent to apply for $200,000 from USDA to fund a portable stage and lighting system that can be used to support outdoor events throughout the county for both public and private tourism events.
According to the resolution that supervisors approved 6-1 with ED-5 Supervisor K. R. Snead opposing and ED-6 Supervisor E. Wayne Conner being absent, the county plans to seek matching funds from the Virginia Tobacco Commission to support this initiative.
USDA will fund 55 percent of the $200,000, and supervisors said they intend to seek the remaining 45 percent in tobacco commission funding.
However, Mitzler expressed his concern about who will pick up the matching funds should the tobacco commission decide not to provide the 45 percent match.
“I’d like to know if the tobacco commission nixes it, are the taxpayers going to have to pick up the rest?
And how much is this going to cost the taxpayers after you get it to store it, maintain it and whatever you’re going to do with this new toy that you are planning on putting down our throats?
“I’d like to know that and so would a lot of people in the county,” Mitzler told supervisors.
Supervisors did not respond to Mitzler’s questions, and no exact costs were provided for the stage and lighting system.
During previous discussions leading up to the vote, board members expressed support for the stage and lighting system, which can be moved to various locations throughout the county using a pickup truck, saying it will boost tourism and business development.
The second hearing of the evening was on an ordinance that allows the county to assess a $25 recordation fee for the continued maintenance of offices equipped to receive and distribute appropriate probate filings.
Following the hearing, supervisors unanimously adopted the ordinance to impose a $25 fee on every recordation of a list of heirs and on affidavits relating to the real estate of an intestate decedent. It also directs the circuit court clerk to collect the fee and deposit it into the county treasury for the board of supervisors to appropriate.
The third hearing Tuesday evening was on an ordinance that adds a $50 zoning permit fee on every application for a zoning permit to be collected by the treasurer for appropriation by the board of supervisors.
Supervisors also unanimously approved that ordinance.
Also Tuesday evening, supervisors presented a framed resolution honoring Judge Irvin D. Sugg Sr. to his family Tuesday night. Sugg died July 9 at his home in Hampton at the age of 93.
He was the first African-American judge to preside in Halifax County.
The general district court judge retired from the bench on Feb. 28, 1998 serving in the 10th Judicial District for 13 years.
In other county business Tuesday night, supervisors heard an update from General Manager Mickey Sims on the Buggs Island Telephone (BIT) Broadband Initiative.
Sims told supervisors the company plans to extend wireless broadband throughout Halifax County using eight existing towers and three new ones to be constructed by the end of 2011.
As part of the construction and extension of broadband, BIT anticipates creating 62 new jobs with most centered in Mecklenburg.
In addition, BIT plans to open retail stores in South Boston, South Hill, Farmville, Blackstone, Emporia and Smithfield.
In other county business, supervisors took the following actions:
• Approved a Master Agreement to receive a grant to undertake a runway apron rehabilitation project and for upgrading and relocation of a rotating beacon at the William M. Tuck Airport;
• Affirmed its consent to allow two-tenths of a mile of Christy Circle (State Route 862) to be discontinued as requested by the Sappony Indian Tribe along with the addition of a turnaround at its terminus that will remain the responsibility of the applicant;
• Heard a status report from County Administrator George Nester on an energy performance contract since the county has been notified it will be allotted $400,000 in state funding to improve energy efficiency at the Mary Bethune Office Complex involving addition of insulation, insulating windows, and addition of a solar panel to help offset part of peak energy use at the facility;
According to the county administrator, a new state law provides for local governing bodies to improve energy efficiency in county-owned properties over a 20 year period, with energy savings being applied to cover the costs of physical and mechanical improvements.
The county is scheduled to meet with four private energy contractors on Monday to discuss their proposals.
Also to be considered for energy performance contracts are the Farm Service/Library building, County Administration Office and the Courthouse building, all located in Halifax, Nester told supervisors.
Final and formal proposals for the work are due Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. in the county administrator’s office, he said.
• Received an update from the county administrator on extending sanitary sewer from the fairgrounds to the Halifax County solid waste transfer station at a cost of $12,000 because the existing septic tank and drain field is damaged and not functioning properly;
The staff’s goal, according to Nester, is to see if the project can be bid and installed and made operational by Friday, Oct. 1, in time to serve the 100th anniversary of the Halifax County Fair which kicks off Tuesday, Oct. 5.
• Authorized the county administrator to accept $50,000 in grant funding to assist in updating the county’s Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Ordinance;
The grant is available to areas having a population greater than 20,000 residents and to those who have shown a 5 percent growth.
Although Halifax County has not grown, South Boston’s reversion to town status has skewed recent census figures that reflect an increase in population.
The deadline for completing the comprehensive plan update is Nov. 30, 2011, Nester said.
• Accepted conveyance of the surplus school property in Virgilina;
• Adopted a resolution accepting conveyance of 1.50 acres in Staunton River District from A & J Davis LLC, by deed of Melvin S. King and Daphne L. King, members of DEET King Properties, LLC, to be used as the Four Forks recycling collection center in Nathalie;
• Set public hearings for the planning commission and supervisors on a land use application from W. A. Stevens DBA, TA Business Center, for an Internet gaming cafe to be located off Route 129 near its intersection with Dan River Church Road in the office suites located behind Roma Restaurant;
• Authorized the county administrator to write a thank you letter to Sunshine Mills officials for their generous donation of 22,000 pounds of dog food to the local animal shelter which is expected to feed the dogs for over six months;
• Appointed Tom Kluge, chief operating officer of Halifax Regional Health System, to the vacancy on the Southside Community Services Board to fill the unexpired term of Betty Jones, who retired earlier this year;
At the conclusion of Tuesday night’s meeting, supervisors went behind closed doors in an executive session to discuss the acquisition or disposition of property; a prospective business or industry or expansion of an existing business; investment of public funds; consult with legal council; and discuss award of a public contract involving public funds.
After emerging in open session, supervisors took no action.