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SoBo Council considers financial support of coalition

South Boston Town Council, which had previously discussed financial support for an anti-uranium mining group, again broached the subject Monday evening during its monthly work session.

South Boston business owner and former Councilman Tom Raab had urged council at an earlier meeting to consider financial support The Virginia Coalition of which he is a member.

That organization’s efforts are aimed at keeping Virginia’s current moratorium on uranium mining in place and prevent proposed uranium mining at the Coles Hill site in Pittsylvania County.

The Virginia Coalition is comprised of business and civic leaders throughout Southside, business creators who are concerned about the health of the workforce, as well as the area’s future ability to recruit new companies and employees into the region given the negative health implications of uranium mining. 

The Virginia Coalition is composed of area civic and business leaders including John Cannon, Ted Bennett, Nancy Pool, Chris Lumsden, Ward Burton, Brian Burton and Ken Morgan.

Councilman Coleman Speece, who chairs the finance committee, said council needed to resolve what to do in terms of financial support for the Virginia Coalition.

Speece said he had spoken to two county supervisors on the subject of financial assistance to the coalition, adding they (the board) had determined what they were going to do.

“The county, I think, is going to commit $10,000,” Speece told council.

Town Manager Ted Daniel said he had received an inquiry from coalition member John Cannon asking about the town’s plans to support the coalition.

“Personally, I think we ought to support it. I don’t think we ought to give the same amount as the county…the county should be a heavier contributor than the town,” added Speece.

Council agreed to continue the issue until its May 14 meeting, when a more concrete proposal can be presented.


Public hearing set on budget

South Boston Town Council has set a May 14 public hearing on the proposed $9,906,802 budget and the fee and tax listing for FY2012-2013.

The budget represents a 1 percent decrease from last year’s budget of $10,007,167.

There are no tax increases or fee increases in the proposed budget, which carries over $379,000 in prior year income for one time capital expenditures, explained Town Manager Ted Daniel.

Those expenditures include $150,000 in carry-over funds for the Washington-Coleman Community Center project; $174,000 for priority storm water repairs and upgrades; $35,000 for a fire department EMS rapid response vehicle; and $20,000 for fire department building renovations.

Less $1,179,000 in transfers in and loan proceeds - grants and carry-overs - actual general fund revenues are projected to be $8,727,802 for FY 2012-2013, compared to $8,544,201 in 2011-2012.

Proposed fee and tax listings remain the same as last year, with real estate tax and mobile homes tax each set at 19 cents per $100 of assessed value, and personal property tax at $2 per $100 of assessed value.

The machinery and tools tax remains at 31 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The meals tax is 4 percent of sales, and the occupancy tax is 5.5 percent of room rate, while sales tax is 1 percent of sales.


Public hearing slated May 14 for proposed budget amendment

Council will hold a public hearing May 14 on a proposed amendment to the 2011-2012 budget.

The budget amendment does not affect any tax or license fee rates and applies to the general fund.

Increased funds will be in the form of a $356,000 loan from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and will be used for the Landfill Gas to Energy Project, increasing the budget from $10,007,170 to $10,363,170.


Refinancing issue OK’d for council meeting

Council discussed refinancing of a 2001 public improvement bond at Monday’s meeting.

In a letter dated March 5, Virginia Resources Authority stated it had reviewed South Boston’s Series 2001A loan and determined (based on interest rates as of Feb. 14) the 2012 through 2021 maturities could be refunded for debt service savings.

Virginia Resources Authority estimated net present value savings of 11.43 percent of the refunded principal, which represents approximately $69,514 in debt service savings on a gross basis through 2021.

Town Finance Officer Erle Scott estimated the town would realize between $63,000 to $64,000 in savings once expenses were deducted.

Council advanced the issue to the May 14 council meeting.


Finance report

Scott reported general fund revenues of $8,248,933 at the end of April from a total budget of $9,635,582, with those figures representing $560,077 in certificates held in the former landfill fund rolled in the general fund under public works.

Scott also told council general fund expenses, $7,665,266 at the end of April from a total budget of $9,635,582, accounted for a $105,000 loans to the South Boston and Halifax County IDAs to help with expenses for the new Visitors Center.

The cash operating general fund showed $111,474 activity as of April 30.

Year-to-date personal property tax collections stood at $451,749 or 106.3 percent of budget; real estate collections stood at $871,165 or 101.3 percent; personal property tax relief collections stood at $295,432 or 100 percent; local tax collections at $324,238 or 86.5 percent; occupancy tax collections at $106,232 or 92.4 percent; meals tax collections at $799,288 or 79.9 percent; and business license tax collections at $476,441 or 100.3 percent of budget projections.

Scott reported a total of $41,014.83 in delinquent personal property tax relief collections as of April 30; $34,034.28 in delinquent real estate tax collections; $46,714.55 in delinquent personal property tax collections; and $1,145.32 in delinquent mobile home tax collections as of April 30.

With penalties and interest, a total of $157,129.18 in delinquent taxes had been collected as of April 30, according to Scott’s report.


Stormwater pipe replacements ongoing issue

Public Works Director Alan Auld updated council on recent stormwater pipe replacements and repairs throughout South Boston.

Auld said the current budget had funds designated for replacement of eight drain pipes along Berry Hill Road and a much larger related project at the intersection of Hamilton Boulevard and John Randolph Boulevard currently estimated to cost approximately $100,000.

Stormwater pipe replacements on Johnson Street, down Wilborn Avenue, near Hupps Mill Plaza across Hamilton Boulevard and on Halifax Road adjacent to White Oak subdivision had not been anticipated, he noted.

Funds designated for stormwater pipe replacement along Berry Hill Road were used instead to fix the more urgent problems, according to Auld.


SoBo resident recommends barking ordinance for dogs

South Boston resident Betty Covington appeared before council carrying with her a recommended ordinance for barking dogs.

Covington, a resident of South Avenue, owns several dogs and told council she has gotten calls from South Boston Police concerning her barking dogs.

Covington presented council members a recommended ordinance for barking dogs that she had written, with council telling her they would consider any amendments to the current town ordinance regarding barking dogs at their May 14 meeting.

Covington also asked council to take action on what she considers neglected houses in her neighborhood.

Auld told council his department has identified several neglected and unoccupied houses in town and has taken the appropriate action.


Landfill gas agreement provision added

Daniel told council all agreements regarding the landfill gas project are being finalized with a provision added to the town’s agreement with the school system and primary care clinic.

If for some reason the project does not provide the amount of gas necessary to generate electricity for both buyers, the buyer has the right to terminate the agreement at no cost with a 30-day written notice, Daniel told council.