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Prizery: To fund or not to fund?

Whether or not to fund $60,000 to The Prizery is slated for discussion tonight when the Halifax County Board of Supervisors meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Mary Bethune office complex in Halifax.

Last month, supervisors heard a presentation from representatives of The Prizery regarding the improved management of The Prizery going forward and the need for additional funding for the immediate future.

They tabled any action on the matter to allow County Administrator Jim Halasz more time to review the request.

Earlier this year, the South Boston Town Council approved a $60,000 grant to The Prizery contingent upon the supervisors making a similar commitment.

Both the town and county currently are paying debt service on financing for the start-up of The Prizery, according to Halasz. The amount budgeted by the county is currently $69,420.

Since incurring debt to start up The Prizery, the town and county have invested approximately $700,000 and have $1.2 million in combined future debt to service, Halasz explained.

However, the current financial status of The Prizery does require a short-term infusion of funds to cover the last remaining payout of proceeds to the holders of the New Market Tax Credits also used to finance a portion of The Prizery start-up.

“Absent this funding, the investment made by the town, county and community as a whole may be in jeopardy as the holders of the tax credits could secure The Prizery and liquidate it,” Halasz said. 

Tonight, the county administrator is expected to recommend the board approve a one-year loan of $60,000 to The Prizery and recommend Vice Chairman W. Bryant Claiborne, ED-4 Supervisor Doug Bowman and himself continue to serve as an ad hoc loan committee to review terms and conditions of the loan that is due to be repaid in full by Sept. 30, 2013.

“It is important to recognize that The Prizery has been successful in its mission to provide cultural offerings to Halifax and successful at bringing in visitors from outside of the county to our area,” Halasz said estimating roughly 31 percent of guests to The Prizery are from outside Halifax County.

In other county business tonight, supervisors are expected to hold three public hearings scheduled to get under way at 6:30 p.m.

The first hearing is on a request for a conditional use permit from Gary Chesbro to operate a taxidermy shop specializing in fish only at 2070 Grubby Road, approximately 1.3 miles west of its intersection with Sinai Road in ED-3.

The second hearing is on a request for a conditional use permit from Mary R. Mayberry to operate a tire shop and repossession business adjacent to 2170 Cedar Grove Road approximately seven-tenths of a mile south of its intersection with German Creek Road in ED-6.

The third hearing will be to receive comments on a proposed ordinance amending Halifax County’s erosion and sediment control program to add “Natural Channel Design Concepts” as a defined term, update other defined terms to conform to state code and clarify certain stream restoration and relocation projects that incorporate natural channel design concepts and certain land disturbing activities that provide for stormwater management are exempt from flow rate capacity and velocity requirements.

In other county business tonight, supervisors are expected to take the following actions:

w Hear a monthly status report from Kenneth Martin of the Virginia Department of Transportation;

w Receive an update on the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance from Halifax County Industrial Development Authority Executive Director Matt Leonard;

w Consider approval of the rehab program design changes for the Halifax County Urgent Needs Project;

w Consider appointing a slate of nine board members nominated to the Community Criminal Justice Board;

w Set a public hearing for a conditional use permit request from John Voss to convert a 2,603 feeder pig operation to a 1,041 head wean pig operating reducing his inventory by 1,562 and requiring a new barn approximately 50 by 190 feet, adding a walkway and a 25 foot extension of farrowing space at 2200 Deer View Trail, South Boston in ED-6;

w Hear a financial report from Finance Director Stephanie Jackson and committee reports from board members; and

w Fill vacancies on the Halifax County Improvement Council, Southside Regional Group Home Commission, Southside Community Services Board, War Memorial Oversite Committee, Transportation Safety Commission, Lake Country Area Agency on Aging, and the Community Criminal Justice Board.

At the conclusion of tonight’s meeting, supervisors are expected to go behind closed doors in an executive session to discuss specific personnel matters, the acquisition or disposition of property; the protection of the privacy of individuals in personal matters not related to public business; a prospective business or industry or expansion of an existing business; consult with legal counsel and discuss award of a public contract involving public funds.