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Courthouse renovations a step closer

Halifax County Board of Supervisors came out of closed session Monday night and unanimously approved a contract with CJMW Architecture for architecture, design and engineering services for the historic Halifax County Courthouse.

Supervisor J.T. Davis did not attend Monday’s meeting.

Initial plans call for review of schematic design and site plans by Sept. 1, with final design to be concluded by the end of the year.

Construction could begin in August of 2014 and finish in July 2015, according to Emmett Lifsey, a principal with CJMW Architecture.

The contract will provide for complete architecture and design services, as well as construction administration and related engineering services for the proposed restoration, renovation and possible expansion of the Halifax Courthouse.

The basic services fee in the contract is based on a preliminary construction budget estimated a $7.5 million for Courthouse work, and is in the amount of $610,000.

Additional services for professional consultants included in the contract consist of surveying, civil engineering, interior design, cost estimating, security, geotechnical investigations and similar consultant services, and is in the amount of $239,685.

Optional services included in the contract consist of furniture, fixtures and equipment design and move management services.

These services are valued at $108,900 and are totally at the option of the county as to inclusion and use during the project.

Reimbursable expenses are estimated at $24,475 and include billable expenses such as travel, lodging, shipping, printing, and will be billed as needed.

The total, not to exceed the price of the contract is $985,060 for the architecture, design and related engineering and professional services, with the actual cost of construction currently estimated at $7.5 million.

The actual cost of construction will not be known until final Courthouse design is finished and construction bids are received. 

CJMW Architecture won the contract over nine other architectural firms, including Moseley Architects and Wiley/Wilson.

Other costs associated with the Courthouse project are still to be determined, according to Halifax County Administrator Jim Halasz.

In addition to these costs, the county will need to hire a project manager, procure special testing consultants at various stages of the project, and buy new furnishings, equipment and technology for the courts and support offices.

The courts also will need to provide some temporary offices and court facilities during construction and find a new facility to locate the Sheriff’s Office, which will be moving out of the Courthouse permanently.

Halasz estimated those costs could add up to $2 million to the final cost of the project and contribute to a total project cost in the range of $10.5 million.

In other action Monday:

Supervisors readopted an amended moral obligation pledge for the purchase of school buses with SunTrust Equipment Finance & Leasing Corporation for $744,117.50.

The amendment adjusts the amount of the moral obligation from $785,027.50 to $744,117,50 and changes the name from SunTrust Bank to SunTrust Equipment and Finance Leasing Corporation.

 Supervisors approved a resolution establishing the Personal Property Tax Relief Act credit to taxpayers.

Virginia annually allocates a fixed amount of funding to be used to provide relief from the full payment of personal property tax bill (car tax) for taxpayers in Halifax County.

Each jurisdiction must calculate the percentage of the personal property tax bill that state funding will pay on behalf of taxpayers.

Based on the current value of the vehicle fleet in Halifax County, the percentage of the personal property tax bill that this state payment will cover is 29 percent, down from 30 percent in 2012.

 Supervisors approved a resolution authorizing the City of Bedford’s withdrawal from membership in the Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority.

Bedford has reverted to town status, and Bedford County has assumed the liabilities arising under the Authority’s service agreement.

 Supervisors approved an easement request from CenturyLink, allowing CenturyLink to place communication cable in an existing easement on property owned by Halifax County along Plywood Trail.

Dominion Virginia Power currently exercises a 100-foot easement across the property for power lines, with supervisors in essence granting dual use of that same easement for CenturyLink.

 Supervisors adopted a resolution updating the Hazard Mitigation Plan for 2013.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinated with the Southside Planning District Commission to prepare the update in accordance with the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 as amended.

Each jurisdiction within Planning District 13, which includes Halifax County will be eligible for grant funding through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Pre-Disaster Mitigation, Flood Mitigation Assistance, Repetitive Food Claims and Severe Repetitive Loss grant programs upon adoption of the plan.

 Supervisors adopted a resolution allowing the waiver of building permit fees to the Dan River Baptist Association for projects assisting the elderly and disabled for year 2013.

 Supervisors unanimously approved support of a letter recommending full staffing of the Virginia State Police Area 23 office, which includes Halifax County.

The office is allotted 11 troopers, but only eight are currently assigned, with one on injured reserve, according to Planning and Zoning Administrator Robert Love.

 Supervisors approved the reappointments of Valdivia Marshall to another four-year term on the Community Colleges Advisory Board, and Mickey Thomas to another four-year term on the Halifax/South Boston Library Board.