Water Plan Approved

Published 4:51 pm Thursday, September 15, 2011

BUCKINGHAM – On Monday night, during what Dillwyn Mayor Ervin Toney described as “an historical event,” the Dillwyn Town Council and the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on their proposed regional water supply plan.

As supervisors and council members joined together to conduct the hearing, Toney offered that in his 37 years on council, the combined hearing was a first.

He thanked the board of supervisors and the county for working with the town to develop the plan. Additionally, he thanked those who served on the water plan committee.

County Administrator Rebecca Carter explained that the plan was mandated by the state. She noted that funding to develop the plan was provided through a grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

According to Carter, the plan includes information on existing water sources, water use, and existing resources; water demand management and current conservation practices; drought response and contingency plans; and projected water demands. She added that the plan also includes a statement of need based on the adequacy of existing water sources to meet current and projected water demand for a minimum of 30 years to a maximum of 50 years.

Essentially, the plan quantifies how much water is being consumed; identifies areas with limited water supply; and, evaluates existing water use. Its primary goal is to enhance the water supply for present and future needs with the fewest environmental impacts for Buckingham County and the Town of Dillwyn.

When the hearing was open for public comment, no one responded.

After the hearing closed, the town council, with a motion by Councilor Sandra Moss, unanimously approved the regional water supply plan as presented. Councilor Sarah Walker was absent.

Likewise, the board, with a motion by Supervisor John Kitchen, also unanimously approved the plan. Two supervisors, Danny Allen and Danny LeSueur were absent.

Re-Zoning Requests Approved

Monday night's board of supervisors meeting also included two public hearings regarding rezoning requests.

The first hearing involved a request by Leonilde Pinheiro to rezone property located at 14744 W. James Anderson Highway from A-1, agriculture, to VC-1, village center; and a special use permit to operate a cupcake shop/bakery.

County Administrator Carter advised that the planning commission held a public hearing on the request at its July 25 meeting. Although no one spoke at that hearing, Carter said the office had received several calls expressing concern. She explained that those callers were encouraged to attend the hearing and/or write letters to share their concerns.

“To date, we have not received any letters,” stated Carter. She added that the planning commission was recommending approval of the rezoning and the special use permit.

No comments were made during the hearing. In turn, the board approved the rezoning and the special use permit.

The second hearing focused on a request by Curtis E. Wood to rezone 167 acres off Route 15 in the Marshall Magisterial District from A-1, agriculture, to A-C, agriculture comprehensive, for the purpose of constructing and operating four chicken houses.

Carter advised that one person spoke against the rezoning during the planning commission's public hearing on July 25.

According to the county administrator, the planning commission was recommending approval of the rezoning but did include seven conditions.

No one commented during the public hearing. Subsequently, the board concurred with the planning commission's recommendation and approved the rezoning of the property to A-C.

School Audit

During the public participation segment, Bob Reck questioned why the results of the school audit have not been released.

Reck, noting the controversy regarding the differences between the board of supervisors and the school board 2011-12 budget proposals and the resultant action by supervisors for an audit of the school budget to ascertain those differences, stated, “I know the audit was completed.” He continued, “And, we haven't heard the results from that audit.”

Chairman Talbert asked the county administrator to address the issue.

Carter explained that the audit has been completed and supervisors have reviewed a rough draft of the audit. “And, tonight we are going to set a date to meet with the school board,” stated Carter.

“At the present time, this is being treated as a personnel issue,” offered Carter. She noted that after the boards have the opportunity to look at the report, listen and act on the auditor's recommendations, the report would be made public.

Later in the meeting, supervisors agreed to schedule the closed meeting with the school board for October 12, at 6 p.m., in the conference room of the county administration building.

Prior to the vote, Carter explained that the auditors would begin working on their final audit for FY11 in the third week of October. “We would like to have this resolved and the auditors' recommendations in place before that final audit,” she shared.

Ratification of VPSA Application for Financing

Ted Cole, with Davenport, Inc., provided an update on the financing for the school renovation/expansion project on Route 20.

Cole explained that although the board previously approved a resolution on the issuance and sale of the general obligation school bonds to be sold by the Virginia Public School Authority, the bond attorneys advised it would be good to ratify the resolution of approval again because of the time lapse.

According to Cole, the county issued $10 million in qualified school construction bonds in late spring or early summer. He said it was now time to put the final piece of long term financing in place through the VPSA.

Cole added that on Wednesday, the school board would be acting on a similar resolution. He said that once both boards acted on the resolution, the VPSA would sell the bonds in late October or early November.

“And, essentially, the county will be left with two pieces of financing for these school projects-the qualified school construction bonds that we issued in the summer and the VPSA bonds that will be issued in October,” said Cole. “That short term financing we put in place a year ago will go away-we are paying that off with the funds from the funds from this VPSA debt issue.” He noted that the short-term financing provided a bridge loan that allowed the project to move forward.

Cole explained that the resolution before the board authorized up to a $15.1 million VPSA bond issue. “He added that at this point, the actual bond issued through VPSA should be about $14.5 million, which would be paid over a 20-year period.

The county administrator added that the payment schedules fall within what the county has anticipated and budgeted.

Kitchen led with the motion to approve the resolution. After a second by Supervisor Monroe Snoddy, Supervisor Brian Bates questioned the actual amount of the project-noting that the bids came in lower than anticipated and the total project cost should now be about $22.5 million instead of the previous estimate of $25.1 million.

Carter said the school board lowered the estimate to $24.1 million, which she added includes a $1 million contingency.

After the discussion, the board unanimously approved the resolution.

FY12 School Budget Revisions Approved

After tabling a request last month from the school board for approval of changes to its FY12 budget, supervisors approved the adjusted budget on Monday night.

In August, supervisors tasked Assistant County Administrator Karl Carter with reviewing the revisions and reporting back to the board.

According to his memo to the board, Carter reviewed the school division's adjusted budget with concentration on the local funding. He advised that the changes are reflected in state and federal funding. However, he added that all local amounts are the same as the county's FY12 adopted budget.

Transportation Enhancement Grant for Court House

Karl Carter provided an update on a proposed sidewalk and streetscape project funded through the federal Transportation Enhancement Grant program overseen by VDOT. The project calls for construction of new sidewalks from the courthouse to the administration complex.

Although some funding issues involving the county's 20 percent local match were encountered, Carter said those problems have been resolved and the project is back on track.

He asked supervisors for their input about plans to include a grass strip bordering the curbside along Route 60, noting that the grassy area would extend over the sewer line, which would require excavation if a repair was needed.

Carter added that VDOT has advised that with the grass strip, the curb would be so close to the road that it would serve as a speed deterrent and would help slow down traffic.

Subsequently, Bates led with a successful motion to approve the plans as proposed with the grass strip.

Upcoming Meetings And Hearings

During the announcement segment, Chairman Talbert reminded that the October and November meetings would be held on Tuesdays rather than the usual second Monday schedule.

According to the board's calendar adopted in January, the October meeting is planned for Tuesday, October 11, due to the Columbus Day holiday on that Monday; and, the November meeting is scheduled for November 15, due to a conflict with the annual Virginia Association of Counties conference.

Concurring with a request from the planning commission, the board scheduled a public hearing for its October 11 meeting at 7:10 p.m., on proposed changes to the zoning ordinance.

County Administrator Rebecca Carter explained that the planning commission held a public hearing on the revisions on August 22 and is requesting the board of supervisors conduct its hearing on the changes. Most of the changes are part of the commission's on-going effort to update the zoning ordinance in accordance with the comprehensive plan.

Carter advised that one of the proposed changes would require the board of supervisors to conduct a public hearing on all special use permits. Currently, although the planning commission must hold a public hearing on a special use permit, supervisors have the discretion to approve or deny a special use permit with or without conducting a public hearing.

However, Carter explained that the commission is recommending the change to alleviate potential accusations about preferential treatment and possible litigation.

She added that the commission is encouraging joint hearings on SUPs that would in turn save time and money. Additionally, the commission is recommending the SUP application fee be increased from $100 to $200 to help cover the required advertisements and other expenses.

Moreover, Carter advised that another proposed revision would increase the penalty for violating any of the provisions in the ordinance from “up to $500” to “up to $2,500.” She explained the commission is recommending the increase as a possible deterrent for violations.

In Other Board Action

After re-advertising for bids on a new truck for the animal control office, supervisors approved the lone bid of $20,456 from Gilliam Motors.

Supervisors concurred with the transfer of a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria from the Sheriff's Office to the board for use by county administration personnel.

The board also approved a $1,000 appropriation to the department of recreation budget. County Administrator Carter explained that the $1,000 was a grant award through the United States Tennis Association.

She expressed the county's appreciation to Kristen Queen, the new assistant director of recreation, for her efforts in submitting the successful grant application.

Chairman Talbert also extended the board's appreciation to Queen for the work she is doing on behalf of the recreation department.

Supervisors postponed a decision on a proposed charter amendment for the Commonwealth Regional Council until several concerns are addressed

The primary concerns expressed by the board involved the issue of giving an equal vote to smaller entities paying a lesser fee and the possibility that higher fees would then be required from the counties.

Supervisors unanimously approved a request from Central Virginia Christian School to use one of the county's soccer fields.

The board appointed Bates as its voting representative for the annual business meeting of the Virginia Association of Counties on Tuesday, November 15.

Administrator's Report

Carter advised the board that a meeting scheduled with representatives from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries regarding the New Canton Boat Landing was cancelled and will be rescheduled. At issue, she explained, is a 20-year contract that the county had with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to maintain the area and what would be required of the county to keep the landing open.

According to Carter, Commissioner of Revenue Stephanie Midkiff estimates the PPTRA, Personal Property Tax Relief Act, credit for 2011 at 44.16 percent. Last year the PPTRA credit was 43.22, she added.

Carter alerted the board to a letter from VDOT regarding “a new, comprehensive financial management system” that it will launch later this year.

Reviewing the abstract of votes for the recent primary to select a Republican senatorial candidate for the 22nd District, Carter offered, “Supervisor Bates we are really proud of you and Buckingham County-I was very glad to see this many people come out and vote when that was the only thing on the ballot.”

Although Tom Garrett, Jr. narrowly defeated him, Bates received 1,146 votes in Buckingham-a convincing show of support from his home county.

Before adjourning the meeting, Chairman Talbert shared how impressed and moved he was during a Karaoke program performed by clients of Crossroads Community Services during the recent dinner meeting of the Crossroads Board at Holiday Lake Educational Center.