Vying For Seats

Published 3:47 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

PRINCE EDWARD – County supervisors are inching closer to naming school board members for Hampden District and Farmville District 701.

And there will be at least one new member when the school board organizes in July. Current Hampden District school board representative Dr. Osa Sue Dowdy did not seek reappointment.

Representatives from the two citizens committees presented candidates to the full board of supervisors last Tuesday; Hampden District citizens committee chairman Patsy Pelland announced a single candidate, Beulah M. Womack. The three-person citizen committee, she offered, met with Womack and were “very pleased with what she had to say.” Pelland added that she has a lot of experience, was a teacher, has a degree in early childhood education, and served on a school board in New Jersey.

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There were three candidates for school board's Farmville District 701 seat, including current representative Dr. Ellery Sedgwick, who was favored by the committee. Committee Chairwoman Peggy Cave offered that they had “three excellent nominees or candidates,” that they interviewed each.

“…I would like to suggest that you take all three…but I guess we had to limit it to one,” Cave commented. “And so we have chosen Ellery Sedgwick to remain on the school board.”

Other candidates included Sherry Honeycutt and Dr. James Dumminger.

Ultimately, supervisors will make the selection. The board will hold a public hearing on the candidates at their May meeting.

Highway Corridor Overlay District

Supervisors agreed to schedule a public hearing next month on a planning commission-recommended highway corridor overlay district. The proposal intends to protect scenic beauty and viewshed, enhance levels of transportation service along the major county access roads, and increase property values.

The proposed overlay district would, specifically, impact design standards, addressing such areas as access and circulation, parking lots, pedestrian circulation (sidewalks and crosswalks), new or redeveloped building design, landscaping, utilities, signs and lighting.

Planning commission representative Robert “Bobby” Jones offered that “nothing's prohibited” and that it's “all voluntary.” It would offer a guideline, he suggested, give a look at what the county would as far as signage, lighting and landscaping.

County Administrator Wade Bartlett would add that he thought the signage was a requirement.

Supervisor Don Gantt would offer that he was hoping they would keep it on the Route 15 corridor, which Jones would cite is an option for the board to decide. Farmville District Supervisor Howard Simpson also offered his opposition.

In Other News…

*Tourism and Visitor Center Coordinator Magi Van Eps highlighted some efforts in tourism, highlighting success in grants and partnerships (with marketing consortiums) to help get the word out about Prince Edward.

“Through these grants and partnerships, this year we're advertising in the 81 home games programs for the Washington Nationals. That's a new opportunity for us. Virginia's Retreat created a webpage for this ad, which when scanned by a smart phone will bring virtual visitors to our site and that visitor will be tracked so that we know how well this ad is doing for us,” Van Eps said.

She also cited that The Best Part of the Civil War brochure and Virginia's Retreat Travel Guide are available at 17 travel plazas in Pennsylvania through October.

*Supervisors approved a consent agenda that included an $8,148 appropriation request from the clerk of the circuit court. The funds, from the technology trust fund, will be used to pay annual maintenance contract for the International Land Systems Indexing System. The consent agenda also included a $900 appropriation for the circuit court-also provided by the technology trust fund-to pay for DSL service for the clerk's office.

*Supervisors agreed to advertise citizen volunteer positions for the planning commission (considered a Town position) and for the Piedmont Senior Resources Agency on Aging. Planning commission member Sally Gilfillan, it was reported, has submitted her resignation; Piedmont Senior Resources Agency on Aging has added a position on their board for participating counties.

*The board agreed to approve $23,000 for the YMCA's summer youth program (with Farmville District 801 Supervisor Pattie Cooper-Jones opposing).

*Supervisors, following the request of County Attorney James R. Ennis, designated Morgan Greer as a deputy county attorney. Greer had previously worked in Ennis' office and has returned.

*The board discussed and agreed to set the opening of the new Route 786 for April 16, but also discussed keeping storm water ponds near the road site on County property. By retaining the ponds rather than turning them over to the Virginia Department of Transportation, it would give the County the option to move them in the future. If they were turned over to VDOT, it was advised, it could take as much as a year to reverse ownership if VDOT agreed to the request.

While the county would have to do the maintenance (cleaning out the riser and mow it), should the property be sold and the new owner wish to move ponds, they could be asked to pay that cost.

*Supervisors in a work session following the meeting, agreed to switch county insurance policies that-among other changes-increases the deductible for county workers. Should employees wish to retain the same level of coverage, they will have the option of paying the difference between the two plans.

The change-offered in a substitute motion-was approved on a 6-2 vote with supervisors Campbell and Simpson opposed. (Simpson had offered a motion to leave the health care plan as it is.)

To retain the same coverage for workers, it was cited that the County would have to pay an additional $133,200, a 16.1 percent increase. With the move, the County is expected to spend about what is currently expended on health care.