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Uranium funding action delayed

The Virginia Coalition, a group founded to keep the ban on uranium mining in Pittsylvania County and Virginia as a whole, received two contributions of $5,000 each from the Town of South Boston last year to assist in its ongoing efforts against lifting the ban.

Once again the group is asking the town for financial support in its efforts to fight lifting the ban, with town council agreeing at its Monday meeting it needed more information before making a decision.

In a letter addressed to Town Manager Ted Daniel, Virginia Coalition Chairman John Cannon explained the anti-uranium group needs to raise $150,000 to continue its education and lobbying support.

“Our education and lobbying efforts did not stop when the legislators left Richmond,” Cannon said in his letter.

“We continue to fund our team, Eckert and Seamans in Richmond, to prepare for the 2013-14 General Assembly and their continuous grassroots efforts to stop the mining and milling of uranium.

“We also support all the efforts of the Roanoke River Basin Association (RRBA).

“Your support is crucial to our success,” Cannon continued.

“The donation from the South Boston Town Council last year was $10,000.  We certainly would appreciate the same amount this year.”

While noting support of Virginia Coalition’s fight against lifting the ban, council members agreed they needed more information before making a decision.

Mayor Ed Owens, while saying it “was a very worthy cause,” asked why the request, dated Aug. 6, came four months after the 2013-14 budget was adopted.

“I’m not sure exactly today what we can do,” Owens added.

Council agreed with Owens to request a representative from Virginia Coalition come before them and outline the group’s immediate and long-term needs, along with a clearer idea of what other individuals and groups have contributed to the coalition.

The town made two donations of $5,000 each to the Virginia Coalition in two separate fiscal years, one on May 29, 2012 out of the regular contingency fund, the other on Sept. 12, 2012 out of council’s contingency fund, according to Town Finance Director Erle Scott.

The 2013-14 budget has $33,395 in contingency funds, and council’s contingency fund currently has $30,000, he added.

Those are the two sources council can draw from without modifying the budget, Scott said on Tuesday.


Somerset rezoning request set for public hearing

Council also advanced to the agenda for its Sept. 9 meeting a request to rezone Somerset Assisted Living Facility and an adjoining two-acre lot for expansion of the facility.

The new owners of Somerset Assisted Living Facility want to expand, but to do so requires the rezoning of the property and the adjoining two acres from R-1 Low Density Residential District to B-2 General Business District.

Somerset is located at 435 Hamilton Boulevard.  Nursing homes and convalescent homes are a permitted use in B-2 Districts.

The purpose of the rezoning is to accommodate the sale and transfer of both parcels to Commonwealth Assisted Living from DECCA and LGCK Inc.

Somerset Assisted Living Facility has been in business at its current location since May 2, 1994, operating with a Special Use Permit with the property zoned R-1.


Finance Report

Scott reported year-to-date revenues of $528,424 and expenditures of $1,146,566, with much of the expenditures due to debt service.

“There’s a lot of debt early in the fiscal year,” Scott explained, adding part of that debt service was a $123,000 contractor payment for the Washington-Coleman project.

Scott told council debt service should generally be targeted at 10 percent and not exceed 15 percent of operating expenditures exclusive of capital improvement and debt service expenditure.

The fund balance as of July 31 reflected totals of $1,650,486, compared to a targeted fund balance of $1,734,995.

Budgeted debt currently stood at $684,952 compared to targeted debt of $867,498.

Scott said it was difficult to spot trends in selected general fund revenues so early in the fiscal year, but he did note meals tax revenues continued to perform above expectations.

Year-to-date meals tax collections totaled $101,104, or 9 percent of a budget of $1,100,000, according to Scott’s report.

The cash operating general fund had a year-to-date balance of $2,149,843, with $1,654,487 in available funds, Scott told council.

The general fund balance includes $495,355.78 in a SunTrust Landfill CD not available for use, Scott explained, leaving $206,465.70 in a SunTrust money market account, $792,035.04 in a SunTrust regular checking account and $655,986.02 in a Carter Bank money market account.

The Cemetery Fund, a separate fund, has $631,891.94 in a SunTrust CD, $225,752.88 in an Equitable Investment and $1,336.05 in USX stock, according to Scott.



Council considered appointments to the Lake Country Development Corporation at Monday’s meeting.

Coleman Speece, George Leonard, Eric Roberts and Erle Scott currently represent South Boston on the Lake Country Development Corporation, and all are eligible for re-appointment, according to Town Clerk Jane Jones.

Appointments are for two-year terms, and appointees can serve as many as five terms. 

Council continued discussion of potential appointments to its Sept. 9 meeting.