Town/PE Will Talk Boundary

Published 1:24 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

FARMVILLE — The border of the first meeting between Prince Edward County and the Town of Farmville to discuss a possible voluntary boundary adjustment has been modified.

The initial gathering will not encompass the entire board of supervisors and town council, after all.

But two committees representing their respective governor bodies will meet for the first time Wednesday to consider a request from Piedmont Regional Jail to be taken into Farmville’s corporate limits.

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As an in-town water and sewer customer of the Town the jail would save $96,000 a year over the current out of town rates.

Because bringing the jail into the town would necessarily mean a $96,000 annual loss of revenue, the Town is very interested in expanding any voluntary boundary adjustment agreement to include other willing property owners and their land.

Town officials had suggested that the first meeting between the County and the Town should be the full board of supervisors and town council so that everyone would be on the same page, all issues known and all points of view understood before the committees work to hammer out a proposed agreement.

The County, town manager Gerald Spates told town council this month, has appointed a committee of three supervisors to represent the full board and “get the negotiations started. They weren’t planning on meeting with the full board.”

Town council, with only two members on its own committee, then proceeded to add a third member so that it would mirror the County’s committee.

Vice-mayor Armstead D. Reid and Jamie Davis were subsequently joined by Tommy Pairet on council’s boundary adjustment committee. They will meet with Prince Edward supervisors Howard Simpson, the board chair, and Pete Campbell and Jim Wilck.

As the Town began preparing for the first joint committee meeting Spates told Reid, Davis and Pairet, “What I plan on doing is getting a map and an area delineated and maybe we could get together and see if that’s what ya’ll have in mind.”

Davis said he believed that doing some pre-work as a town council committee would be vital before meeting with their County counterparts and that it should include the “revenue exchange,” or the financial impact of the voluntary boundary adjustment.

“I think it would be definitely beneficial to us as a committee to meet prior to meeting with the County to be able to go in there with plenty of information,” he said.

Spates and the trio of Town committee members were to ponder the map “so we can sit there and mark it up and I can explain to you what areas I think we ought to look at,” the town manager explained.

When Mayor Sydnor C. Newman, Jr., asked if all the properties the Town wanted to consider would be in the same vicinity, Spates answered, “Not necessarily.”

The town manager said he has been approached by property owners in various areas adjacent to the Town’s corporate limits interested in being included in any voluntary boundary adjustment.

“There’s a lot of areas that we need to look at,” Spates said.

And not just geographic areas to consider.

Town council member David E. Whitus stressed that “there are a whole host of issues” that need to be brought to the table and discussed.

“A lot of things we need to look at,” Whitus said.

Voluntary boundary adjustments don’t happen every day and the Town would like to take full advantage of the current opportunity, with the County’s cooperation. “What we do now is probably something we’re probably not going to do for another 10 years. If you do it again,” Spates said.

The town manager also turned his eyes toward Cumberland County.

“It would really be nice to try to negotiate something with Cumberland at some time to get the airport in town instead of having it sit out in the county,” Spates said.

As the Town representatives headed into the initial meeting with the County, Spates suggested they should simply discuss the voluntary boundary adjustment in general.

“And saying, ‘Hey, this is what we’ve got in mind. What do you have in mind?’” Spates said, explaining that he has “heard different things and the area they have mind is not exactly the area we have in mind.”

On Wednesday the two minds will meet.