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Six-Year Plan OK'd

BUCKINGHAM – In conjunction with its June 11 meeting, the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors conducted a public hearing on the VDOT Six Year Plan for Secondary Road Improvements.

Following the hearing and a discussion on funding and unpaved roads, the board unanimously approved the Six Year Secondary Road Plan as presented.

Prior to the hearing, Randy Hamilton, from VDOT's Lynchburg Office, explained that the Six Year Plan requires an annual update to the priority list for the secondary road improvement plan. He added that the hearing is being conducted for fiscal years 2013 through 2018; and, on the secondary system construction document for FY 2013.

“We point out that the Six Year Plan is not a construction plan but rather an allocation plan,” advised Hamilton. “In other words, in the next six years, we will allocate money to the projects listed toward the construction of that road.”

Reading from the priorities list, Hamilton noted that the list is the same as last year. According to the VDOT representative, the first road on the list is Route 20, Constitution Route, to reconstruct approximately .5 mile at its intersection with Route 631, to improve sight distance.

Woodyard Road, Route 700, is second on the list with a project to relocate its connection at Route 20. That project is followed by replacing the Route 20 Bridge and approaches over the Slate River.

The next three projects are Rustic Road projects for surfacing Route 692, Austin's Road from Route 646 to .24 miles west of Route 815; Tower Hill Road, Route 636, from the intersection of Route 60 to 2.93 miles south of Route 60; and Woodyard Road, Route 700, from .05 miles east of Route 20 to Route 631.

Hamilton reminded that the public hearing was not a question and answer session and that anyone with questions could reserve them until after the hearing and he would be happy to discuss them at that time.

After Chairman Monroe Snoddy opened the hearing, no comments were offered for Districts 1 through 4.

However, two residents from District 5 went to the podium. The first was Christina Whittington who shared safety and dust concerns about Midland Road, Route 662.

The mother of three explained that last year there was an accident on the road involving a school bus. She said there are 19 homes on the 1.7 miles of unpaved road and more than 50 cars travel the road each day.

She shared that in her efforts to see how to get the road widened and hard-surfaced, she was told by a VDOT employee in the Lynchburg Office to request an application for revenue sharing for the project.

County Administrator Rebecca Carter explained that the county does not have the applications and the board has never participated in revenue sharing with the exception of one subdivision. In that situation, the developer put up the money, said Carter. She added that such projects usually require a 50/50 share.

When Carter asked Hamilton about obtaining an application for revenue sharing, he replied that the applications should be available by early summer. According to Hamilton, the county would have to put up 50 percent of the cost and VDOT would usually provide the match.

Supervisor Cassandra Stish, who represents District 5, asked Hamilton if the application would be available on the VDOT website. He said it should be.

Subsequently, Stish told Whittington to contact her and she would help her work on the application.

Robert Anderson was next to the podium. He shared similar concerns with Logan Road, Route 653.

“We shouldn't have these kinds of roads in 2012 in the state and especially in Buckingham County in the fifth district or any other district,” stated Anderson. “These things have to be improved. It's very dangerous and in the winter time its worse,” he added.

Supervisor Bill Talbert explained that the problem is not with the board of supervisors but with the state. He added, “We don't have the money. They don't have the money. So where does the money come from?”

Sharing that the money for roads goes to Virginia Beach and northern Virginia, Talbert stated, “That's where your money is going, sir.”

Anderson questioned how much time supervisors spend going into their districts and talking to their residents.

Responding, both Stish and Talbert replied, “Everyday.” Stish added that she is also working with people in the General Assembly and attending VDOT planning sessions to see what is going on “and what we have to do to play ball so we can get the money we need.”

When no one else indicated they wanted to speak, Snoddy closed the hearing.

Subsequently, Vice Chairman Danny Allen asked Hamilton if he would explain what people need to do to get their roads improved.

Hamilton reiterated that this was the second year in a row that they haven't added a road. He noted that the only money coming into Buckingham County for the Six-Year Plan is $55,000 from telecommunication fees.

He explained that for a road to be considered as a Rural Rustic project, it must be in the state's secondary road system and have a minimum of 50 vehicles a day.

Hamilton advised that to be eligible for a Rural Rustic project, the road usually does not require additional engineering because of vertical or horizontal alignment issues. He added that eligible roads usually could be hard-surfaced within their existing alignment.

While discussing various road-funding issues, Hamilton explained that the proposed bridge project for Route 20 will be funded through what he referred to as dedicated bridge funding and not secondary six-year plan money.

As the discussion continued, Talbert asked Hamilton to make a note for the record that he brought up Route 678, Fender Road; Old Sheppards Road, Route 689; and Cata Road, Route 624.

Stish added that she would like to add Route 737, Warminister Church Road. However, when she said the road had a steep grade, Hamilton reminded that if the road needed engineering, it probably would not qualify for Rural Rustic.

Supervisor Joe Chambers added Route 721, Sharps Creek Road for District 6. Snoddy followed with Route 676, Ridge Road; Staton added Red Road, Route 630; and Allen added Route 617.

Hamilton reiterated that the proposed Six Year Plan before them was the same one as last year and would not include those roads. However, he said he would give the information to Kevin Wright.

Allen asked when VDOT would be starting the work on the Slate River Bridge. Hamilton said they are currently showing that the project would be advertised in September 2015.

Sharing information about a plan used in a county in Indiana that places a $5 fee per wheel on vehicles with all the money going to pave unpaved roads, Talbert told Hamilton that if Virginia would allow the county to implement such a plan, he would vote for it. However, he added that he didn't think it would be fair to include 18-wheelers.

Talbert told his fellow board members, “That's the only way to get your roads paved.”

Apple Blossom Subdivision

No comments were made during a public hearing on a request for a zoning map amendment to rezone approximately 100 acres on Francisco Road, Route 636, and Apple Blossom Road, Route 619, from A-1, Agricultural to RSA-1, Rural Small Farm.

Following the hearing, the board, concurring with the planning commission's recommendation, approved the zoning map amendment with the included proffers and conditions.

Sheriff Shares Surplus Vehicles and Generator

Sheriff William G. Kidd received the board's approval to donate another surplus vehicle, a 2007 Ford Explorer, to the school division.

Kidd also said that his office has a 6,200-watt generator that he'd like to give to the county for a backup to the new radio system.

In turn, supervisors, noting their appreciation, accepted the generator.

Help Wanted

During the announcement segment of the meeting, Supervisor Donnie Bryan relayed a request from Buckingham County Public Schools seeking volunteers to help with the move to the renovated schools on Route 20 at the Carter G. Woodson Education Complex.

Bryan explained that the school system would be moving items from Dillwyn Primary, Buckingham Primary, Gold Hill Elementary, and Buckingham Middle School, where fifth graders were temporarily housed during the renovation project.

With the move, Dillwyn Primary and Gold Hill Elementary schools will close; and, Buckingham Primary School will become a preschool center.

Bryan, offering that he understands that some volunteers may not be able to move heavy items, shared that there will be other less strenuous tasks such as re-shelving library books.

County Administrator Carter added, “It's going to be a big job and they don't have the money to pay people to move them.”

Bryan encouraged prospective volunteers to contact Chip Davis, facilities director, at 969-6100. Most of the moving is planned for the last week in July and the first week in August.

Library Asks for CRC Help

Supervisors, in a unanimous vote, approved a request from the Buckingham County Public Library Board to use the services of the Commonwealth Regional Council to seek grant funding for a new library building.

However, Carter explained that if a grant was found that could be a positive for the library, the county would request CRC to give a price for the grant application process as well as the cost to implement the grant. Then, that information would be provided to the library board, she said.

Coyote Concerns

During the public comment segment, Bob Reck, who has horses on his property, expressed his concerns with the increasing numbers of coyotes in the county. Describing the increase as “epidemic,” he asked, “What can be done.”

Sharing that the coyotes were becoming more of a problem, Supervisor Talbert noted that the county, in conjunction with the Buckingham Farm Bureau, offered a bounty on coyotes for three years but that program is no longer available.

Responding, Supervisor Stish offered, “Maybe we can talk about reinstating that.”

She also asked what the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries had to say about addressing the problem. Reck interjected that he thought that would be something the county could find out.

In turn, Supervisor Staton shared that unless DGIF has changed its stance, three years ago it said bounty programs were ineffective. However, he offered, “I don't believe that it's ineffective in the sense that for everyone you kill-that's one less.”

Staton suggested that Reck may want to contact Donald Shumaker, a trapper who resides in the county. He also noted that guard donkeys maybe an option for those with horses.

“I'm in Mr. Snoddy's area,” shared Reck. “Maybe Mr. Snoddy, you can do something for me.”

Appointments

Chairman Snoddy, whose term as the county's representative on the Social Services Board expires on June 30, agreed to serve another four-year term on that board.

Concurring with a request from the Buckingham Library Board, supervisors appointed Pat Howe and JoAnne B. Jones to represent Buckingham on the Regional Library Board.

In Other Board Matters

With a four to three vote, supervisors approved advertising the Request for Service for repairing, servicing and maintaining the county's solid waste vehicles for a two-year period.

The current contract is a one-year agreement that expires on August 1. The county administrator explained that the solid waste supervisor was asking for a longer contract period because of the supplies and hydraulic tanks that have to be dealt with when the contract is moved.

Although Talbert, Chambers, and Snoddy favored a three-year contract, Talbert's motion to that effect failed. Subsequently, Stish moved to advertise the RFS with a contract period of two years. That motion carried with Stish, Bryan, Allen, and Staton voting in favor while Talbert, Chambers, and Snoddy cast opposing votes.

Supervisors agreed to meet for a work session on Tuesday, July 10, at 6 p.m., at the Agricultural Center. Although Talbert abstained from the vote, he explained that he did so because he has meetings on three Tuesdays each month. However, he said he would try to participate in the work session.

According to the county administrator, some of the issues that the board will discuss include ideas such as a possible food tax, cigarette tax, and other suggestions supervisors have shared or discussed over the last several months.

Stish suggested the board invite Martha Walker, a facilitator with the Virginia Extension Service, to help with the work session. When no one objected, Stish said she would contact Walker.

After County Administrator Carter advised that the county received two proposals for the upcoming reassessment, she recommended that they interview each firm.

Carter suggested forming a committee to include herself, the commissioner of the revenue, Assistant County Administrator Karl Carter, County Attorney E. M. Wright, and a board member.

After Staton volunteered to serve as the board member, Stish moved and the board unanimously approved to form the committee as presented.

The board approved a resolution of memoriam honoring John Marshall Harris. Supervisors want to present the resolution to the Harris Family at the board's July meeting.

During her report to the board, Carter advised that she hoped to have a proposed resolution for the B.A.R.N. project, a multipurpose facility for agricultural related activities, by the July meeting.

Carter also reported that the county did not receive any bids for harvesting the hay on property in the industrial park so county staff would bush hog the area.