Road Still In Loop

Published 3:32 pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

PRINCE EDWARD – While the new Route 786 has a completed look and feel, the actual opening date is still to be determined.

County Administrator Wade Bartlett presented an update on the project at the December 11 board of supervisors meeting.

“…There was a walk-through and inspection by both VDOT and Department of Conservation and Recreation-DCR-on November 27,” he informed the board. “We have received the punch list from DCR, it contained…approximately about a week's worth of work…mainly dealing with the storm water ponds, that they need to be kind of cleaned out from some…previous sediment that was in there before the grass took hold.”

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Bartlett added, “As of this date, we have not received the VDOT punch list. I understand that they have received all the documentation they needed from the inspector and they'll be working on that and, hopefully, will receive that…list in the near future and then we'll see what that is and go forward.”

Bartlett reported that a re-inspection from DCR was scheduled for December 10 (the day prior to the board meeting), but he did not know if it was held.

Route 786, located south of Farmville, will serve as an alternate access to the existing Route 628 and could lessen the traffic that flows through the school complex.

Road Works

Leigh District Supervisor Don Gantt defended the new Route 786 during the meeting.

“The road that's been so much discussed tonight has been talked about by this board way before I came on the board-years before,” he offered.

Gantt would note, “When I first heard that new road referred to as a road to nowhere, I was a little offended. You see that road leads into Leigh District and one of the biggest problems we have in our district is under-employment and unemployment. I'll assure you this road leads somewhere.”

Gantt offered that the road is “paved in opportunity.” Successful communities, he would also note, invest in themselves.

“The road's finished,” Gantt said. “And the direction I'd like you to take is to see the glass is half full. When you take an optimistic look at what's been accomplished, you can see the retail pads in place, you can see the infrastructure for new offices and shopping centers and the opportunity for a hotel and conference center. That brings with it the opportunity for educational advances and the opportunity to make other endeavors and investments…”


County Director of Economic Development Sharon Carney reported that Tobacco Commission has notified the County that Tri-Boro Rack and Storage Products had been awarded $95,000 for their project. (They did not receive any grant funds for the Governor's Opportunity Funds.)

In the event specific goals outlined in a performance agreement of job and investment goals in a specified time period are not met, the County would be liable to the commission for a refund of part if not all of the grant. It has been agreed (according to a memo in the board's packet), however, that there be a letter of credit or performance bond suitable to the County provided with the County as the beneficiary in an amount equal to that of the grant awards.

The board agreed to accept the Tobacco Commission grant, granted Chairman William “Buckie” Fore or the administrator the authority to sign necessary documents associated with the grant.

Public Hearing

Supervisors held a public hearing to amend the County's budget to reflect Virginia Department of Transportation revenue sharing funds, reflecting the $1,759,980 in state revenue sharing funds, $500,000 from the Virginia Department of Transportation, $1,152,489 from Virginia Resource Authority Series 2011B bonds, and $255,671 from the fund balance of the revenue sharing fund.

Collectively, the monies will be used to pay for construction costs ($2,062,140), engineering/inspection services ($171,380), and the transfer of funds ($1,434,620) to the general fund to repay for an advance of funds to start the Route 786 project.

“All these budget items were included in our last year's budget and were approved by the board,” Bartlett said.

He explained that because the project extended over the fiscal year they had to amend this year's budget once they knew the amount in construction expense and the revenue from VDOT they would receive.

There were no speakers for the public hearing and the board approved the budget amendment and appropriated the funds on a split vote.

Farmville District Supervisor Jim Wilck asked about the amount for the purchase of the property; Bartlett explained that it was done in the last fiscal year. (There were also some construction costs, engineering and inspection factored in the previous fiscal year.)

VDOT Report

VDOT Residency Administrator Kevin Wright in his report cited that mowing should be finished “save one or two spots within the county,” and noted that they are prepared for winter-have their plows and salt is stocked up.

“We're ready to go for whatever happens there so rest assured we'll give you the service that you're accustomed to there,” Wright said.

Wright also said that he had talked with the assistant county administrator about a request to do some repair work on Route 658 (Five Forks Road). He noted that it's in the best shape they can get it maintenance-wise. The complaints of the edges, Wright detailed, are that it's just not wide enough.

“It needs to be widened out and, as of right now, we just don't have any construction money at about $30,000-$40,000 a year,” Wright said.

He noted it would take “about 50 years to accumulate probably enough money to build that project.”

Prospect Supervisor Howard “Pete” Campbell cited a pothole in need of repair on Route 360, which Wright said they would take care of. Chairman Fore also asked about the status of a speed study on old Route 460 through Pamplin. Wright offered that he would check on it and contact the assistant county administrator.

Award Presented

Piedmont Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Deanna Fehrer presented the district Conservation Educator Award to 4-H Extension Agent Jennifer Bowen.

Fehrer noted, “Jennifer has been leading the 4-H program in Prince Edward County for over 12 years and has helped countless young people and their families gain leadership, citizenship and life skills that they need to be a positive force in their community. She has organized and led numerous after school programs, agriculture clubs, cooking skills workshops, and, of course, the ever popular summer 4-H camps.

“She incorporates into her programs, environmental education, agriculture education such as the junior master gardener program, agriculture awareness days for Prince Edward Schools, ag in the classroom instruction, Piedmont area livestock club and show and environmental classes offered at 4-H camps. She also is a strong supporter of the local food program and brings education and awareness to our young people on the importance of agriculture and instills in them an appreciation of our rural landscape.”

Chairman Fore offered congratulations to Bowen for the board and thanked her for the job that she does for their children.

In Other News

*Supervisors approved a consent agenda that (as explained in a board packet memo) included an appropriation of $20,645 to build a driveway promised to the Jackson Estate in exchange for land needed to build reservoir Bush 4B (Mountain Creek Lake). Supervisors had agreed to accept a bid for a not to exceed amount of $21,250 in June. The project was completed in the new budget year and required a budget amendment in the current year.

The consent agenda also included $16,000 for the purchase of hardware and software for updates to the incident base report system. (The server was approximately eight to ten years old and could not support the new upgrades. The software supports reporting and dispatch functions and other computer operations throughout the department.)

The funds for both, totaling $36,645, will come from the county's fund balance.

*Following some discussion, the board approved the renewal of a dance hall permit for the New Fevers Restaurant and Lounge. Dance hall permits are renewed annually.

Supervisor Gantt asked if they could look at the fees next year at budget time. Bartlett noted the maximum amount they could charge by State Code is $600. The county ordinance would have to change, which would require a public hearing. (The current fees for nine to twelve months is $100.)

*Supervisors reappointed Donald B. Gilliam and Preston L. Hunt to the County's planning commission (their terms will run from January 1 through December 31, 2016); recommended Dr. William W. Porterfield be reappointed to the board of zoning appeals (the position is appointed by the circuit court); and on a 4-4 split vote and a coin toss appointed Tonya M.-Smith Blanton to serve on the Crossroads Community Services Board. (Former Supervisor Mattie P. Wiley also received four supporting votes.)

The board did not receive any applicants for a position or an alternate on the Old Dominion RC&D Council and agreed to re-advertise.

Bartlett reported that RC&D had applied for a Tobacco Commission Agribusiness $29,000-plus grant to start a buy fresh, buy local chapter, which was approved by the agribusiness committee. The request must still go before the full committee before final approval.

*The board approved a budget schedule that calls for a joint public hearing on April 23 with the County's school board on the school budgets and the County's tax rates. The schedule also calls for a budget work session and adoption of the county and school budgets and tax rates on April 30, and approval of appropriations on June 11.

*Supervisors agreed to table the request of the County treasurer regarding the sale of specific properties. The treasurer had held a public auction to sell land due to delinquent taxes, but bids for three of the parcels were not high enough to pay all of the taxes and the expenses associated with the sale. The treasurer had requested that the lots be sold to the highest bidder and the county pay for the cost of the sale any shortfall in taxes.

The properties, it was noted, are all owned by a deceased individual or the owner cannot be located.

Two of the properties are located on Grove Street and the third off of Corner Road and is landlocked. Bartlett offered that there are other, similar properties.

Following some discussion, the board tabled action and asked that Bartlett work with the treasurer to come up with a list.

*It was reported that Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward counties have been awarded a $100,000 grant through the Virginia Locality Stormwater Program Development Grant fund. The monies aim to help the localities develop local stormwater programs including the adoption of water quality standards for development and redevelopment.

Supervisors agreed to authorize a request for proposals for engineering services to assist with the scope of the work. (Prince Edward is the fiscal agent for the grant.)

There is only an in-kind local match for the grant.