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Budget, fee changes, hearing to dominate tonight’s meeting

Budget issues, fee changes and a public hearing promise to dominate tonight’s Halifax County Board of Supervisors’ meeting that will get underway at 6:30 p.m. in the second floor meeting room of the Mary Bethune office complex.

Supervisors are expected to adopt two resolutions approving and appropriating the $88,315,299 FY 2015 budget and setting rates and fees for the coming year.

“Passing these two resolutions Monday night will permit both staff and the board to move on to deal with other important issues and activities in a timely manner,” said Halifax County Administrator Jim Halasz.

Although the board had expressed satisfaction with the proposed budget to date, Halasz said he understands the board may wish to consider “a minor change or two within expenditures of the general fund.”

Without any changes to the recommended budget or with only minor changes within the general fund, the board can adopt and appropriate the budget through the budget resolution.

Action on a second resolution will set tax rates and change some fees that have been in place for several years.

Tax rates as proposed will be 46 cents per $100 value for real estate, $3.60 per $100 value for personal property and $1.26 per $100 value for machinery and tools based on 50 percent of original capitalization costs.

Included in the proposed fee changes are the following:

Land use permit fee shall be $500;

 Plat fee for additional lots once one plat fee is paid shall be $5;

 A kennel tag shall be required for each block of 20 dogs;

 Recreation fees shall be $100 for all sections of large shelter all day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; $50 for one section for six hours from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.; $60 for one section of large shelter all day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; $50 for medium shelter all day; and $45 for small shelter, wetlands, all day use.

 Fairground fees for grounds for county residents will be $450 per day; $650 for weekend; and $875 for week; 

 Fairground fees for grandstand for county residents will be $1,150 per day; $1,725 for weekend; and $2,300 for week;

 Fairground fees for exhibit hall for county residents will be $700 per day; $1,075 for weekend; and $1,450 for week;

 Fairground fees for livestock building for county residents will be $450 per day; $650 for weekend; and $875 for week;

 Fairground fees for inclusive (all above) for county residents will be $1,750 per day; $2,600 for weekend; and $2,860 for week;

 Fairground camping sites for county residents will be $30 each day; and

 Fairground set up days for county residents will be $110 each day.

 Fairground fees for grounds for non-county residents will be $750 per day; $1,100 for weekend; and $1,500 for week; 

 Fairground fees for grandstand for non-county residents will be $2,000 per day; $3,000 for weekend; and $4,000 for week;

 Fairground fees for exhibit hall for non-county residents will be $1,200 per day; $1,850 for weekend; and $2,500 for week;

 Fairground fees for livestock building for non-county residents will be $750 per day; $1,100 for weekend; and $1,500 for week;

 Fairground fees for inclusive (all above) for non-county residents will be $3,000 per day; $4,500 for weekend and $5,000 for week;

 Fairground camping sites for non-county residents will be $30 each day; and

 Fairground set up days for non-county residents will be $220 each day.

“In the majority of these cases, the services provided are not ones used by the majority of taxpayers – in fact most people may never get a plat, a land use permit or use a shelter in Edmunds Park,” said Halasz.

“These services are truly user based, and the fee charged for the service provided should cover the cost of the county providing the services, rather than being funded by the taxpayers in general. So by updating these fees, we will recover closer to the current costs of these services and free up taxpayer dollars for other purposes,” the county administrator explained.

In other business Monday night, supervisors are slated to hold a public hearing on a conditional use permit request by David L. Rather to operate a taxidermy shop at 1151 Woodbourne Road (State Route 610), approximately 300 feet south from its intersection with Cedar Fork Road (State Route 643).

The planning commission held an advisory public hearing on the request April 15 and unanimously recommended approval subject to 12 conditions.

In other action tonight, supervisors are scheduled to take the following actions:

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

 Hear an annual report from the Virginia Cooperative Extension that is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year;

 Consider approval of a bid award for sheriff department renovation project of the former county administration and building and grounds site;

 Discuss a resolution establishing the Halifax County Health Care plans for FY 2015 and financial participation rates of the county and employees while consider making significant changes to the offerings and shared costs since insurance costs are expected to increase 20 percent for an additional $230,000 increase to the county for health care expenses;

As part of the insurance change, Halasz proposes the county will save enough in health care costs to provide raises to employees.

“Once open enrollment is completed, and savings are known, I would like the board to grant a consensus agreement permitting me to make a recommendation to the board for a commensurate pay increase to employees at the June board meeting,” he said.

 Consider repealing the county storm water management program and opting to permit the Department of Environmental Quality to administer the local stormwater program;

 Consider adopting a proclamation declaring Sept. 7-13 “Operation Inasmuch Week” when county citizens will be urged to assist each other through random acts of kindness;

 Consider approving a wine tasting event at the Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens as a fundraising event to build restrooms for the garden and temporarily waive the rules against alcohol in Edmunds Park providing all requirements of the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control, Halifax County Sheriff Department and Town of South Boston are satisfied;

 Consider approval of a resolution requesting Virginia Department of Transportation to discontinue maintenance and abandon an unused portion of Old Route 57 as part of the primary highway system;

 Set public hearings in May for the planning commission and in June for the supervisors on a conditional use permit application filed by SBA Towers II, LLC proposing to erect a 135 ft. monopole telecommunications tower in ED-5 on the south side of Bellevue Road (State Route 729), two-tenths of a mile east of its intersection with James D. Hagood Highway (Highway 360);

 Hear financial reports and updates; and

 Consider appointing someone to fill vacancies on the Halifax County Planning Commission following the resignation of ED-6 Commissioner Clark Graves, on the Improvement Council, on the Lake Country Area Agency on Aging, on the Transportation Safety Commission, on the Board of Zoning Appeals, on the Community Colleges Advisory Board, on the Library Board, on Social Services Board and on Southside Community Services Board. 

After supervisors conclude their open session tonight, they 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 council; and discuss award of a public contract involving public funds.