Multi-Use Trail Completed
BUCKINGHAM – It was harvest time on Monday night when Michael Womack, of the Virginia Department of Forestry, presented a check for $17,441 to the board of supervisors.
The check, said Womack, represents the county's share of revenue, 12.5 percent, from the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest. He explained that each county with a state forest is entitled to a percentage of the revenue it generates. “We've been making these payments since 1947,” said Womack.
Explaining that the department is self-supported, Womack said it draws funding for operation and maintenance of the state forests from harvesting the timber and the sale of use permits.
“This past year we had an increase statewide in our use permits by 32 percent. We sold 7,419 use permits last year so that's showing the increase in the use of state forest land by the citizens of the state,” reported Womack.
Sharing some of the enhancements made in the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest in the last year, Womack said they completed a new multiple use trail, which is five miles in length and is accessible from Francisco Road at the Carter Taylor Trail.
According to Womack, construction of the picnic pavilion at the Carter Taylor Trail head was completed and new signs, two grills, a well, and a horse corral were added.
He said the trail is available for day use by horseback riders, mountain bikers, hikers, and those who want to use the picnic pavilion and enjoy the outdoors.
Before presenting the check, Womack stated, “We thank the county for its commitment to the state forest and we appreciate the support of the citizens of Buckingham.”
Chairman Bill Talbert, whose home neighbors the state forest, stated, “You do a great job and we thank you.”
In a unanimous vote, supervisors approved a special use permit request from National Communications Towers, Inc. for a 195-foot monopole telecommunications tower on land off Route 633, Old Curdsville Road.
In the absence of Zoning Administrator Rebecca Cobb, County Administrator Rebecca Carter presented an overview of the request.
She explained that the planning commission held a public hearing on the SUP request during its June 27 meeting and continued the hearing at its July 25 meeting. She said that during the hearing, two people spoke in favor of the tower. However, Carter advised that several people called prior to the hearing and expressed their opposition. “But none spoke in opposition during the public hearing,” she reported.
Continuing, Carter said the planning commission, following the recommendation of the county's telecommunications consultants, CityScape, was recommending approval of the SUP based on need in the area.
Supervisor John Kitchen, offering that he did not see any reason for the board to hold a hearing on the request, moved to approve the SUP. The motion drew the board's unanimous support. However, Supervisor Danny LeSueur was absent.
Carter also provided an overview of two rezoning requests, both of which the planning commission recommends approval. However, because the requests require supervisors to conduct public hearings, the board set those hearings to coincide with its September 12 meeting.
The first request involves an application from Leonilde Pinheiro to rezone property at 14744 W. James Anderson Highway from A-1, Agriculture, to VC-1, Village District. Additionally, the applicant is requesting a special use permit to operate a cupcake shop/bakery at the residence.
Carter said the planning commission held a public hearing on the request at its July 25 meeting. During that hearing, no comments were made either for or against the application.
However, Carter shared that the office received several calls expressing concerns about the business. Those callers were encouraged to attend the hearings or to submit a letter, she added.
With the second request, applicant Curtis Eddie Wood is seeking to rezone approximately 160 acres off Route 15 in the Marshall Magisterial District from A-1, Agriculture, to A-C, Agriculture Comprehensive. He wants to construct and operate four commercial poultry production houses.
In her overview, Carter said that during the commission's July 25 hearing, one person spoke in opposition of the rezoning.
When setting the hearings, the board agreed the first rezoning hearing would begin at 7:15 p.m., followed immediately by the second one.
Tammy Stephenson, representing the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, presented a draft of the Buckingham County/Town of Dillwyn Water Supply Plan.
She explained that drought conditions in 1999 to 2002 prompted the legislature to initiate efforts to determine the adequacy of the future water supply and to formulate plans to respond to future droughts.
“All cities, towns and counties are required to do a water supply plan,” stated Stephenson, noting that Buckingham and the Town of Dillwyn are collaborating on a regional plan.
Stephenson said she has been working with Mike Markley, Buckingham's utilities director; and Barbara Terry, of the Commonwealth Regional Council, to develop the plan and ensure it meets all regulations.
She said the plan identifies all of the water resources in the town and county; how the water is used; and projections of future needs for the next 30 to 50 years.
Stephenson explained that before the plan can be adopted, a public hearing is required to give residents an opportunity for input.
County Administrator Carter suggested the county and town hold a joint hearing. Dillwyn Mayor Ervin Toney agreed with Carter's suggestion.
Subsequently, the board scheduled the hearing for its September 12 meeting at 7:10 p.m.
Advising supervisors that the transportation committee met prior to the board meeting, Carter presented the committee's recommendation to award the bid for a new solid waste truck to Truck and Equipment Corporation, in Harrisonburg, VA, with a low bid of $204,786 for a 2012 Mac MRU613 Hercules with a 325 hp engine. She reminded that money has been reserved for the last several years for the new truck.
Supervisors, with a motion by Bates, voted to purchase the vehicle from Truck and Equipment Corporation.
Continuing with transportation matters, Carter reported that no bids were received on a new truck for the animal control office. “We will have to re-bid,” she advised.
Regarding bids for service and towing of the solid waste vehicles, Carter said the committee was recommending the service agreement be awarded to Aaron's Auto and Equipment Repair, Incorporated. In a unanimous vote, the board concurred with the committee's recommendation.
Gordon Ragland, Jr., moderator of the James River Baptist Association, thanked the board for waiving building permit fees for the Impact Virginia project that brought young people into the county to work of eleven homes in need of repair or handicap ramps.
“In that one week's time, we had 167 teenagers and their adult leaders here. We had 225 volunteers from our churches in the county participating. Collectively, they donated 7,500 man-hours of time,” shared Ragland.
“By giving us that waiver on the building permits, all the funding that we raised went to buy building materials,” he stated. “We wanted you to know that we appreciate it.”
Chairman Talbert stated, “We thank you all so much.”
Ragland concluded by announcing that on Saturday, October 1, the James River Baptist Association and area churches of all denominations are joining with Straight Street to sponsor a Youth Encounter. The event will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Straight Street Building on Route 20. Plans include a Christian rock band and a youth evangelist.
Although no representatives from the Virginia Department of Transportation attended the meeting, a report from Jorg Huckabee Mayfield, transportation and land use director, was included in the board packet.
The report advised that in order for Route 748, Fender Road, to qualify for hard surfacing under the Rural Rustic Road Program, supervisors must declare via resolution that Fender Road is a Rural Rustic Road.
Subsequently, Talbert requested that the board pass a resolution to that effect. In turn, Supervisor Brian Bates followed with a successful motion designating Route 748 as a Rural Rustic Road.
According to the VDOT information, the resolution should indicate that expected growth and increase in traffic is minimal, curves are generally adequate for current and anticipated speeds; draining will require only minor improvement; and citizens of the road support the improvement. Moreover, the road must carry no less than 50 vehicles per day.
Mayfield noted in her report, “At this time, the road does not appear to meet the minimum traffic requirement.”
VDOT also advised that the project must be added to the Secondary Six-Year Plan and funding identified for construction.
Although the school division requested supervisors approve revisions in its FY12 budget, the county administrator advised that she and the county's financial director were asking that the action be postponed until the next board meeting.
Carter explained that at that time, they would be able to provide a copy of the school division's revised FY12 budget along with information on the proposed reductions in revenues and expenditures.
Moving to the school board's request regarding revisions in its FY11 budget, Carter stated, “The next item is something you do need to take action on this evening-to more closely align the school's FY11 budget.” She added, “These requests are made on recommendation by the auditors.”
Along with action taken last month to rescind a request of $109,790 that was accidentally submitted twice, the revisions included transferring a refund of $27,761.85 from architectural firm VMDO from regular operations to lottery; and transferring $62,580.85 used for the bus garage back to regular operations and put the expenses and revenues in lottery.
Additionally, the revisions called for the transfer of $34,819 from regular operations to lottery; and transferring $57,587.96 from end of year operations to construction to cover anticipated expenses for the bus garage/maintenance facility.
Following Carter's explanation of the revisions, Kitchen led with a successful motion to approve the FY11 revisions.
Buckingham Active Seniors, a new program offered through the department of recreation for the county's senior citizens, received a boost from supervisors on Monday night.
Concurring with a recommendation by the county administrator, supervisors agreed to appropriate an additional $20,000 to the recreation department to help fund the new venture. The funds will be taken from the ending year balance.
Carter provided supervisors with a letter from Congressman Robert Hurt regarding his stance on a recent Federal Highway Administration regulation seeking to force local governments to replace a number of road and street signs based on their reflectivity and readability.
In his letter, Hurt offered, “These unfunded mandates place excessive, unnecessary burdens on state and local authority. I will continue to work with you to identify and eliminate these counterproductive mandates that hinder your ability to effectively serve your community.”
The county administrator advised that the board packet included a copy of a recently completed organizational analysis and assessment of the Central Virginia Regional Library.
Providing an update on the construction and renovation of the county administration complex, Carter explained that the change order for the septic system was reduced from $30,877 to $8,540.
She said the projected date for occupancy of the new building is mid-October. When the new building is completed, renovation work on the existing building will begin, added Carter. She noted that they were currently working on arrangements to accommodate the department of social services during the renovation.
During the announcement segment, Supervisor Bates, who is seeking to be the Republican candidate for state senator to represent the new 22nd Senate District, reminded his fellow supervisors and the audience about the primary on August 23.
He noted that Buckingham has not had the opportunity to vote for a state senator from the county in over 100 years. Bates encouraged all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, to participate in the open primary.
In conjunction with an initiative by the Virginia Association of Counties, supervisors adopted a resolution supporting the restoration of state funding for aid to localities.
The resolution requests Governor McDonnell to submit a budget amendment to the 2012 session of the General Assembly to reverse the $60 million-a-year reduction for the current year, FY12, and to eliminate the reductions in the budget submitted for FY13 and FY14.
Concurring with a request from Dominion Virginia Power asking the county to decrease the amount of the Zoning Letter of Credit for the Bear Garden Power Plant from $1,465,000 to $1 million, the board voted to decrease the amount as stated.
Supervisors reappointed J. Robert Snoddy III to the board of directors for the Piedmont Alcohol Safety Action Program.