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Towns, county come together to talk library consolidation

What to do with the two libraries in the county will be a hot topic of discussion when the Halifax County Board of Supervisors meets with Halifax Town Council and South Boston Town Council tonight at 6 p.m. in a joint meeting to be held in the second floor conference room of the Mary Bethune office complex in Halifax.

South Boston Town Council has requested supervisors consider reestablishing a joint library committee to discuss and research consolidation of the two branches and other matters of service and funding for the county library system.

According to County Administrator Jim Halasz, with or without the reestablishment of a joint library committee, the library system will continue to evolve, and each jurisdiction can expect to incur financial obligations and change in service levels as necessary.

In past years, Halasz said joint study and diligent action of local government leadership has resulted in the resolution of numerous issues important to the citizens.

“The County Library System and two branch libraries are important to the Towns of South Boston and Halifax and also to the citizenry of Halifax County as a whole,” the administrator acknowledged. “In a changing and challenging financial environment preserving and building upon the existing resources of the library system will most certainly require continuing efforts and investment from all stakeholders.”

He recommends both town councils and the board of supervisors discuss the matter Monday evening and establish an understanding of specific actions that may be taken.

If a joint committee is to be formed, he suggested it consist of two members each from the South Boston and Halifax town councils as well as two supervisors.

According to Halasz’s plan, that committee would become active once membership has been established by the three jurisdictions and would continue for a year after date of its organization.

Council members and supervisors also are expected to consider a joint resolution to request designation of a specific area of the Banister River as a State Scenic River.

Previously, supervisors and Halifax Town Council have gone on record to support the designation.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation has studied this matter as required and found the specific areas of the river studied to qualify for certification, according to Halasz.

In order to proceed with finalizing the designation, the two governing bodies must again request this designation be granted, and the General Assembly must initiate legislative action to accomplish it.

Halasz said he hopes South Boston Town Council will join in supporting this resolution at tonight’s meeting.

Also tonight the three governing bodies are expected to proclaim participation in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut on Thursday.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management and localities throughout the commonwealth are participating in the “Great SouthEast ShakeOut.” The ShakeOut is a community drill (similar to the statewide tornado drill held in March) that promotes earthquake preparedness.

In June of 2011, Halifax County experienced tremors and minor damages from a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that originated from Mineral.

The Great SouthEast ShakeOut will be the first drill of its kind on the East Coast. 

Local participants include governmental and non-governmental offices, schools,  businesses and private citizens. 

The proclamation slated for adoption by the two town mayors and supervisor chairman tonight will assist in promotion of the drill and the proper steps to take during an earthquake: “Drop! Cover! Hold On!”

Following the joint meeting, supervisors are expected to convene in a meeting of their own to hold a public hearing on a request for a variance from John Voss to convert a 2,603 feeder pig operation to a 1,041 head wean pig operation reducing inventory by 1,562 head.

In order to accommodate this change, a new barn approximately 50’ x 190’ and a walkway attaching the existing barn is required. A 25’ extension of farrowing space also will need to be added to an existing barn.

Voss currently operates a hog farm located on Deer View Trail in ED-6.

Supervisors are not required to take action, but the Board of Zoning Appeals is expected to hold a hearing on the matter on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m.

In other action tonight, supervisors are expected to consider who should be nominated from the board of supervisors for appointment to The Prizery board.

Earlier this month, supervisors approved a $60,000 loan to The Prizery  contingent upon The Prizery Board of Directors appointing a supervisor to its board in the near future. 

The one-year loan is to be repaid to the county by Sept. 30, 2013.

And in final action, supervisors are expected to grant permission for the Halifax Village Business Association and the Town of Halifax to place a community clock in front of the library.

The county is not being asked to contribute in any fashion to the project other than to provide the site necessary for the clock and work with the town and association to have the clock erected, Halasz said.