Boundary Adjustment Gets A Joint Discussion

Published 2:12 pm Thursday, January 2, 2014

FARMVILLE — Town council and the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors will meet jointly to discuss the scope of a potential citizen-initiated voluntary boundary adjustment.

The catalyst for the possible expansion of Farmville’s corporate limits is Piedmont Regional Jail’s request to be incorporated into the town in order to get the cheaper in-town water and sewer rates.

Paying the in-town rates would save the jail $96,000 a year.

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But the Town views the jail’s request as an opportunity to incorporate other adjacent properties, should those landowners wish it.

Town officials also note that a $96,000 savings for the jail would mean a $96,000 revenue loss for the Town.

Both town council and the board of supervisors have committees tasked to tackle the voluntary boundary adjustment, which is not at all the same thing as annexation, but Town officials suggested, and their County counterparts agreed, that getting everyone around the same table at the onset of the process is crucial.

“I would like to ask that council consider the first meeting that we have a joint meeting with the County to discuss it so that everybody’s on board with what everybody’s doing,” Farmville Town Manager Gerald Spates said during council’s December meeting.

Referring to county administrator Wade Bartlett and board of supervisors vice-chairman Howard Simpson—both in attendance—Spates said, “I don’t know how Wade and Howard feel about it. I just think it would be good to get everybody together and get everything out in the open and if there are any issues we can discuss it then.”

And then hand the ball off to their respective committees to work together.

A voluntary boundary adjustment, unlike annexation, is not a competitive, adversarial process. It is a cooperative process. It is a voluntary process accomplished by agreement.

In November, Spates had pointed out to town council members that, “The opportunity doesn’t come along too often to do (a voluntary boundary adjustment) and I think we need to look at the whole picture…We’re going to lose revenue when we take in the jail…and if we’re going to lose revenue we got to have some other place to pick it up. And just to take somebody in so they can get in-town rates, I think we need to look at the whole picture and take in some other areas at the same time, do it all at one time…I think we need to look at the whole picture,” Spates said. “This may be the last chance you get to do…a boundary adjustment for the next 10 or 15 years.”

Town council members agreed.

The Town, council member David E. Whitus said, must “look at the financial implications to the Town. That’s a huge part of it.”