Drought Watch Stays

Published 5:25 pm Thursday, September 27, 2012

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The Farmville Herald

PRINCE EDWARD – To lift or not to lift was the question at the September 11 Board of Supervisors meeting.

In the end-even with more recent rains-the board opted to keep its drought watch.

“We've got the drought watch in place,” commented Lockett District Supervisor Robert “Bobby” Jones. “We…have been lucky-got a lot of rains here lately, but who's to say they won't…subside again?”

He suggested that they leave it in place and readdress it next month.

Supervisors initiated a drought watch for the County in August. Three of four drought indicators were met: precipitation was more than ten inches below normal for the year; the flow of the Appomattox River was consistently below the 25th percentile (and, for several days below the 10th percentile); and ground water levels-as measured at the state monitoring well in neighboring Buckingham County-were at 27.44 feet or between the 10th and 25th percentile.

The advisory carried no mandates, but rather the board strongly encouraged “all citizens, those on wells and those on public community water systems, to minimize nonessential water use and to voluntarily conserve water.” The County's action covered areas outside of the area served by the Town.

Despite recent rains prior to the board's September meeting, precipitation was still estimated at some six inches below normal for the year and the monitoring well was still below the 25th percentile (by five feet) and the Appomattox River had fallen to 38 cubic feet per second, which is also still below the 25th percentile.

Barking Issues

Farmville District (701) Supervisor Jim Wilck, chairman of the board's noise ordinance committee, presented a report regarding a request to consider changes in the County's ordinance to address barking dogs.

Wilck noted that he had talked to some communities that said it was unenforceable, “and it just seemed to be there was just really one person complaining about it…so we decided to recommend that we make no modification in the ordinance.”


County supervisors approved local incentives for Tri-Boro Rack and Storage.

“As most of you know, over the last 18 months the economic development office has worked with Fred and Toni DeMaio with their new company called Tri-Boro Rack,” detailed County Economic Director Sharon Carney. “It's similar to Tri-Boro Shelving except for it's a much heavier gauge.”

She cited, “…They're nearly complete on a 62,500 square foot building constructed at a cost of $1.5 million, that includes land improvements, electrical engineering and site work. In addition, there is approximately $3 million in equipment being installed at the plant to fabricate the heavy gauge steel, iron and Mr. DeMaio, one of the hardest things for him to do with a troublesome economy was to make a commitment on the number of people that he was going to hire and, finally, now that he's closer to actually opening, he feels he can make a commitment within the three-year span of time of adding 25 new jobs with a minimum wage of $11.76 per hour plus health benefits and a 401k plan.”

Carney noted a list of incentives that they've put forward, most of which she cited are revenue neutral and “means that you have money coming in and he only gets a portion of it reimbursed back to him through an investment grant.”

The value to Tri-Boro, a chart in the board packet cited, is projected at $61,920; the value to the County is estimated at $47,250.

“So the actual net incentive is much less than the total overall figure,” Carney said. “To attract a company this size adding 25 new jobs, that's a very minor incentive that we put out there for a company like this so I think we've reached a good agreement…”

In addition, County officials will also apply for state incentives.

“I know there was a lot of discussion about the security to the County for the receipt of these grants and after quite a bit of discussion with Mr. and Mrs. DeMaio they are leaning towards a letter of credit, which would have the County as a beneficiary for whatever amount the grants end up being, or for an insurance policy, a performance bond, more or less, that is payable to the County in case they don't perform.”

Either way, Carney said, they would be 100 percent secured.

Supervisors formally approved the local incentives and authorized the administrator or chairman to sign the necessary documents (contingent upon receiving one of the two); the County's Industrial Development Authority would also have to meet and take action.

*Following closed session, the board agreed to accept VDOT's bid to purchase .792 acres at the industrial park for their Route 15 project for $152,400.

*Supervisors agreed to allow the sheriff's department to expend grant monies; the match will come from the sheriff's department's existing budget,

*The board approved payment of accounts and claims, though Supervisor Wilck asked about the mileage expenditure of vice chairman Howard Simpson. Simpson would explain that the mileage ($410.15) was for April-June. (Last month's mileage, he would also clarify-which was similar in total-was for January-March.)

Wilck asked why so much, noting that there was not another that was even half of that. His, he cited, was $18.

“I keep a record of my mileage and that's what it was,” Simpson said.

“That's 800 miles-just seemed like an awful lot to me,” Wilck said.

The board would unanimously accept the bill list.

*It was reported that the computed Personal Property Tax Relief Act percentage of tax relief from the state will be 40 percent of the assessed value based on guidelines presented by the state. The board approved a resolution authorizing the percentage of refund. The percentage represents about a half a percent less than the previous year.

Personal use vehicles valued at $1,000 or less will be eligible for the 40 percent relief; those valued at $1,001 or more would receive the 40 percent relief on the first $20,000 of assessed value.

*While there was no representative from the Virginia Department of Transportation on hand for the meeting, board members were afforded the opportunity to relay concerns on highway issues. Prospect Supervisor Howard “Pete” Campbell highlighted a need on Route 675 (Dry Bridge Road), and that there is a lot of trash on Route 626 in Prospect.

Hampden District Supervisor Charles McKay cited a specific issue at Oxford Furnace Hill.

Chairman Fore noted he had received calls from some constituents in Pamplin requesting the old section of 460 have a lowered speed limit to 45 mph. The speed is posted west-bound from the Pamplin bypass at 55 mph west until approximately the former bank building, where it is reduced to 45 mph. The request is to make the full road 45 mph, which must be studied by VDOT.

*Supervisors, following the recommendation of the planning commission and a public hearing, approved a special use permit application for commercial kennel use in accordance with the County's A-1 Agricultural Conservation Zoning District requirements. The kennel would be located on Simpson Road in Prospect; the kennel use would be co-located with a barn constructed primarily for horse stables.

There were no speakers in the board's public hearing and the request was unanimously approved.

*Supervisors agreed to authorize a public hearing at their October meeting on a proposed amendment that would eliminate the need for county-issued permits for duck hunting at the Sandy River Reservoir.

*In separate action, the board agreed to post county-owned properties for no hunting. The properties include property at the landfill, property near Route 786, the industrial park and the land adjoining Piedmont Regional Jail.

*The board agreed to advertise for two county positions on the planning commission. (The terms of those currently serving extend to the end of December). The board also advertised for a position on the Board of Zoning appeals, with that term also scheduled to expire December 31.

*Supervisors agreed to grant an easement and to fund improvements to upgrade the cannery's electricity to three-phase. The current single-phase service, a memo to the board cited, has reached capacity and must be upgraded prior to any further equipment installations.

Funds (the total cost is about $9,000) could be moved out of the planning department of general properties, Bartlett highlighted.

*The board recognized new Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Bill Turner.

*Bartlett reported on an effort to seek a non-matching grant to address state-mandated storm water management programs in the region that include water quality standards for development and redevelopment. (Whether the storm water management will be done regionally is still to be determined in the process.)

*The board authorized the submission of a grant request from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to install a quick connect generator hook-up at the County's middle school. It would allow the County, in an emergency, to bring in a generator and quickly connect it to the system and power up the middle school if there is no electricity. The anticipated cost is $30,000 (and does not include the cost for a generator) and the grant requires no match.

Bartlett reported there will be another opportunity to apply later this year, or early next, for a generator.

*Supervisors agreed to declare inoperable computer equipment as surplus and authorized their disposal. Bartlett advised that they be disposed through the electronics recycling program at STEPS.

*The board agreed to move their regular November meeting from the regularly scheduled second Tuesday to Thursday, November 15.

*Supervisors approved a letter of support for Buckingham County's application to the Tobacco Commission for an agribusiness grant totaling $500,000. The monies would support the Buckingham Agricultural Resource Network (BARN) project-the construction of a 160 by 300 foot metal building. The building could be used for livestock sales, to reestablish the farmer's market and could host shows, offering seating between 1,600-1,800.