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Peter Francisco's Name Is On Board's Meeting Place

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The Farmville Herald

BUCKINGHAM – The auditorium in the new county administration building will have an old but revered name. During its September 10 meeting, the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to name its new meeting place the Peter Francisco Auditorium, as a tribute to the renowned Revolutionary War hero.

Francisco came to the county as young child. After the war, he returned to Buckingham where he resided for most of his adult life.

According to County Administrator Rebecca Carter, the request originated with the Peter Francisco Society after one of its members read an editorial by Ken Woodley in The Farmville Herald suggesting the new administration building be named in honor of Francisco.

Understanding that the new building will retain its identification as the Buckingham County Administration Complex, Historic Buckingham, Inc., in turn, submitted a letter advocating naming the auditorium after Francisco in recognition of his heroic role in the Revolutionary War and his “strong Buckingham roots.”

Memorial Resolution

Supervisors unanimously supported a memorial resolution “paying tribute to and its highest esteem for Gordon G. Ragland, Jr.,” who died on August 28.

With a life of service to his country, state, church, and native county of Buckingham, Ragland was a member of the Buckingham Planning Commission for 15 years and served as its chair for 12. He also served on numerous county committees and boards including the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Appointments

Noting that he was under the impression that his previous nominee, Pat Bowe, would not be eligible to serve due to his role as a planning commissioner, Supervisor Talbert nominated Roy Hill to be the District 3 appointee on the Board of Equalization. The board unanimously concurred with the nomination.

Supervisors, with a motion by Vice Chairman Danny Allen, reappointed Alice Gormus to the planning commission to represent District 7. Her current term expires on September 30.

Public Comment

During the meeting's public comment segment, Ed Wise, Chairman of the Buckingham County School Board, introduced the division's new superintendent, Dr. Cecil Snead.

Snead, noting that he has been on the job for one month, shared, “It's been wonderful being a part of the citizens of Buckingham County.” He added, “And it's even more wonderful being with the children of Buckingham County on a daily basis.”

The new superintendent extended “a great deal of gratitude” to the sheriff's department, Sheriff William G. Kidd and Captain Roger Jamerson for their support on a daily basis at the opening of the schools on Route 20.

“Without their help we would not have been able to problem solve and trouble shoot the traffic pattern,” shared Snead.

“I look forward to meeting with you in the future,” concluded the superintendent.

District 4 resident James Strong, who is a volunteer with the Buckingham County Rescue Squad, reiterated comments he made months ago about problems with static and noise on the radios used by the rescue squad, fire departments, and sheriff's office.

He shared his concerns about the possibility of noise interference affecting response time to emergencies.

Switching gears, Strong said he had heard rumors about a meals tax and a wheel tax. Adding that he knew the board was getting ready to begin another reassessment, he offered, “People of Buckingham are just about assessed-out and taxed-out.”

Strong added that he thought it was time that the board “did a little belt tightening.”

He said the building formerly used as Dillwyn Primary School, located on Route 15 near its intersection with Route 20, could have been used for county offices instead of the county spending money on the new administration building. “And, we've got a good building sitting down at Gold Hill.”

Continuing, Strong, focusing on the building projects including the schools on Route 20, asked, “What's going on with you folks?” Adding that the school board also has to answer “for a whole lot of this,” Strong said the board of supervisors is the one holding the purse strings.

Following Strong's comments, Supervisor John Staton advised that the RFP, request for proposals, for the radio system is being reviewed and would be released in the next few days. He explained that the project for the emergency communications system would take care of the necessary repairs and needed upgrades.

District 3 resident Eddie Slagle shared his concerns about the amount of money the county would be expending on the upcoming reassessment.

Offering that he knew there was nothing the board could do about it at this point, he suggested they consider hiring an on-staff assessor who could also work on economic development and collecting delinquent taxes.

He added that another option could be one suggested by Supervisor Bill Talbert to share an assessor with another county.

Referencing the board's discussion last month about awarding the bid, Slagle suggested if the board did not award the contract to the lowest bidder and save approximately $11,000, it should negotiate with the other firm to come down to that low bid.

Slagle shared that prior to the meeting, he was at the ribbon cutting for Remos, a new restaurant now open in the building that formerly housed the Depot Diner. He said he was glad to see County Administrator Rebecca Carter and Supervisor Donnie Bryan at the opening.

In Other Board News

Chairman Monroe Snoddy announced that the October meeting would be held on the second Tuesday of the month, October 9, rather than the usual second Monday because of the Columbus Day holiday.

Supervisors gave their approval for the county staff to host the 22nd annual Community Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Courthouse on December 7, at 7 p.m.

Near the conclusion of business, Talbert shared that he had received a call from a citizen asking about the status of securing bids for repairs and maintenance work on county vehicles. In turn, he asked that the county administrator contact the sheriff regarding those bids for his office and report back to the board at its next meeting.

The ensuing discussion yielded that after unsuccessfully exploring several options including the feasibility of having the work performed through a cooperative arrangement with the school division, no further action was taken on requiring the sheriff to seek those bids.