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Water Treatment Plant Contract Is Awarded

BUCKINGHAM – During its May 9 meeting, the board of supervisors voted to award the contract for the county's new water treatment facility to English Construction Company

According to County Administrator Rebecca Carter, English had the low bid of $10,660,000.

Information provided in the board packet indicates seven bids were considered, ranging from the low bid to $12,650,000.

The motion drew a six to one vote, with Supervisor Brian Bates casting the opposing vote.

In a related move, the board approved a resolution of funding for the new water plant. The resolution included that the county would transfer $2,167,456 from the utility enterprise fund to the water construction fund to be used as needed for the construction project.

That motion drew a six to one vote, with Bates abstaining.

“This is that same project that we have been working on for about seven years,” offered Carter. She reminded that funding sources included a $5 million low-interest loan from USDA Rural Development and a $5.7 million grant from Rural Development

The new water treatment facility will be located near the existing plant on Troublesome Creek Road.

After the meeting, Bates explained that he was not against the project but the timing-considering all the other capital improvement projects the county has taken on over the last year.

Audit Agreement Authorized

Supervisors approved an agreement with Robinson, Farmer and Cox for additional auditing services concerning a special review of school expenditures.

The agreement calls for a cost not to exceed $6,000 for review of the first year; and an additional not to exceed $3,000 per year for any previous years that may be deemed necessary.

At their meeting on April 25, the board of supervisors voted to contract with the county's auditing firm to conduct a review of school expenditures, funds and sources of funding to determine the differences between the present school budget and the proposed budget as well as the existing gap between the school division's figures and the county's.

After Monday night's vote, Bates asked if the school board was clear about the county's authority to initiate the audit.

Both Carter and Talbert agreed the school board was aware. Carter added, “The audit will begin next week.”

Talbert reiterated that the audit was not initiated because of any semblance of wrongdoing. He explained that the purpose of the review was to clarify the differences and ensure that everything is running smoothly.

Zoning and Planning

Rebecca Cobb, zoning administrator and planner, reminded the board of its joint work session with the planning commission on Monday, May 16, at 7 p.m.

Cobb advised that representatives from Cityscape Consultants would be on hand to discuss the county's legal rights when deciding zoning cases for cellular towers.

She added that the work session would also include information on the planning commission's latest proposals for changes to the zoning ordinance.

School Construction Project

Supervisors approved payment of an April 30 invoice from Blair Construction of $1,457,657.56, for the upper and lower elementary schools construction and renovation project on Route 20.

VDOT

Supervisors scheduled a public hearing for 7:15 p.m. at its June 13 meeting to gather input on the Virginia Department of Transportation's proposed update to the Six Year Plan for Secondary Roads.

In her May written report to supervisors, VDOT's Jorg Huckabee-Mayfield, transportation and land use director, stated that crews would be continuing to patch surfaces and respond to customer concerns. She added that crews would be surface treating roadways, and machining and adding stone to non-hard surface routes.

She advised that Equestrian and WINDING ROAD signs were installed on Route 608, Elcan Road. Additionally, Mayfield reported that SLOW MOVING FARM VEHICLE signs were installed for northbound and southbound traffic on Route 654, Back Mountain Road.

4-H Presentation

Extension Agent Ruth Wallace provided information about the 4-H competitions Buckingham students have been participating in this spring.

Wallace, working in partnership with Buckingham County Public Schools, said fourth grade students made “how to do” presentations; fifth graders wrote speeches and then shared them before their class; and sixth graders created projects along with an oral presentation for the science fair.

According to Wallace, students from all three grade levels competed locally in their respective programs.

She explained that students earning a purple ribbon, best overall, advanced to district competition, which includes 20 counties and Lynchburg.

With Wallace were three students who won blue and purple ribbons at the district level-Jairus Jones, science and technology 4-H Presentation; Alaysia Toney, 4-H Public Speaking; and Mason Robinson, physical science category of 4-H Science Fair.

Wallace shared that of the 105 competitors at the district level, 20 were from Buckingham.

When the students completed their brief presentations to the board about their awards, Supervisor Bates congratulated them and shared that when he was in the fourth grade he participated in the 4-H Public Speaking Contest.

Chairman Bill Talbert congratulated the students and their parents. Expressing his support of the 4-H program, he thanked Wallace for her dedication to the 4-H program.

AED Kit for Burn Building

Concurring with a recommendation by Assistant County Administrator Karl Carter, the board appropriated $1,720 from the fire training reserve for the purchase of an AED Plus Quick Start Kit for the burn-building training facility.

The automated emergency defibrillation kit would be available in the event of a heart-related emergency during firefighter training sessions at the facility.

Hatton Ferry

Responding to a request from Historic Buckingham, Inc. and the Historic Hatton Ferry, the board voted to provide a $1,000 donation to help with the ferry's second year of private operation.

Last year supervisors donated $1,000 toward the ferry's continuation after VDOT transferred the ferry to Historic Hatton Ferry, a non-profit organization.

County Administrator Carter said Martha Louis, president of HBI, explained the annual operation cost of the ferry is approximately $21,000. Carter shared that Louis added there is a lot of work that needs to be done at the landing area on the Buckingham side.

The Hatton Ferry is the nation's last poled ferry in operation. Providing a ride across the James River, the ferry links the counties of Albemarle and Buckingham. From mid-April through October, the ferry operates from 9 to 5 on Saturdays and noon to five on Sundays-if water levels and conditions permit.

Although the ferry operates free of charge, donations are requested. For more information, visit www.thehattonferry.org.

Administrator's Report

Carter advised supervisors that the terms of three members of the Board of Zoning Appeals would expire on June 30. Those BZA members include Gordon G. Ragland, Jr., District 6; Cassandra Stish, District 5; and Luther Thomas, District 4.

Updating the board on its request that the Commonwealth Regional Council consider a change in its by-laws so that a town councilor would be eligible to serve as a CRC representative for its member county, Carter said the request would be on CRC's June agenda.

Carter shared that the county is the featured locality in the Virginia Resources Authority Spring 2011 E-Newsletter.

The article highlights the county's 250th anniversary celebration and the construction of the new county government complex.

In Other Board Action

In a unanimous vote, the board authorized the county administrator to accept an offer from Kramer Anderson to serve an internship with the county administration office this summer. Anderson is a rising senior at Longwood University and a resident of the county.

Supervisors denied payment of a livestock claim explaining that the investigation did not substantiate that the calf was killed by a dog.

After accepting the resignation of the assistant director of recreation, the board authorized the county administrator to advertise for the position.

Agreeing with a recommendation by the transportation committee, the board voted to authorize the assistant county administrator to request bids for a new pickup truck for the building inspection department.

Upon purchase of the new truck, the department's current truck will be used to replace the grounds and maintenance vehicle, which has been out of service for several weeks.

Supervisors concurred with a request by Chairman Talbert that the county administrator provide the board with information about the feasibility of eliminating county decals.

Talbert said counties that have eliminated the decals and added the decal fee to personal property taxes have experienced higher revenues.

Carter explained that some counties with a twice-a-year tax billing have difficulties when eliminating decals because the state will not issue state licenses if there are delinquent taxes.

The county administrator also noted that the decals are useful in identifying residents who have the right to use the county's solid-waste and recycling sites.

At the completion of the agenda, Chairman Talbert recessed the meeting to reconvene on Monday, May 16, 7 p.m. for the work session with the planning commission.