PE Taking Look At Courthouse Security

Published 10:31 am Tuesday, January 6, 2015

PRINCE EDWARD — A county supervisor committee has taken a look at security needs at the county’s courthouse.

“We conducted a tour of almost the entire courthouse,” County Administrator Wade Bartlett reported at the board’s December meeting. “We looked at areas that might need to be upgraded in security—the physical renovations that might be needed…The committee… then discussed the need to limit access to the courthouse and whatnot, but at the moment, we realize that…they’re gonna take several months to finalize this plan. There’s considerable information that we have to gather as a staff and bring back to the full board.”

The committee, which includes Chairman Howard Simpson, Supervisors Charles McKay and Jerry Townsend, held a December 2 meeting. Among those also in attendance were the sheriff, chief deputy, Bartlett, and the County’s director of public works.

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It was noted in a memo to the board that security concerns were discussed in the tour, including “spaces not currently being observed by cameras and certain physical renovations of the complex required to increase safety and security for employees and citizens of the County.” It was also cited that the director of public works “demonstrated how the existing cameras can be focused and adjusted to overcome some existing visual problems.”

And the committee also discussed limiting courthouse access.

“…We realize that they’re gonna take several months to finalize this plan. There’s considerable information that we have to gather as a staff and bring back to the full board,” Bartlett said, adding that they “realize there could be a significant cost in some of these upgrades and the committee will bring that back during the budget session for the full board to look at and incorporate in the budget.”

In Other News…

*The board approved a consent agenda that included a budget amendment that reflected adjustments required with the transfer of the school resource officer’s salary from the school budget to the sheriff’s department in the general fund.

*The consent agenda also included dance hall permit approval for New Fever’s Restaurant & Lounge and the Fishin’ Pig.

*Supervisors will look to hold a work session with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to work on the six year plan for secondary road improvements at 5 p.m. prior to their February 10 meeting.

*A citizen information meeting is expected in advance of the Route 619 bridge project in the Rice community. County administration is expected to seek a meeting date at the Rice Volunteer Fire Department.

*County supervisors scheduled a public hearing for their January 13 meeting on a proposed ordinance and agreement for the workforce investment consortium. The consortium includes nine neighboring counties. Federal funds flow through workforce entities to educate and train dislocated, unemployed or underemployed residents, according to a summary provided in the board packet. It was noted that the existing governing body does not provide adequate liability and that an attorney was contacted to create a new formalized agreement for the workforce investment area.

A public hearing has been set for the January 13 meeting.

*Chairman Howard Simpson appointed Calvin Gray and Charles McKay to serve on the YMCA board. Historically, it was noted in the board’s agenda packet, the county has received a notification letter from the Y of the expiration of terms. They did not receive one last year and the staff overlooked the date of expiration of appointments. Chairman Simpson and McKay had previously served on the YMCA board; their term of office ran from January 1, 2011-December 31, 2013.

*Bartlett presented, and supervisors approved, a proposed budget development schedule for the upcoming year.

*The finance committee recommended, and the board agreed, that the County sell an old garbage truck and purchase a new one with a new hook (which, with the sale of the old truck, is expected to cost $120,000-$125,000 and be at least $55,000 less than budgeted). Supervisors also agreed to purchase a Chevy Tahoe for use by county administration. Though that would cost slightly more than the $30,000 previously approved by the board at $31,438, the anticipated savings from the sale of the garbage truck would fill the void.