Dillwyn’s Streetscape problem solved

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 12, 2021

The Town of Dillwyn has found a solution to a problem that carried a big price tag.

Linda Venable Paige

Last month, Dillwyn Mayor Linda Venable Paige came before the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors asking for financial assistance from the county to help pay for the $1.5 million Dillwyn Streetscape Project.

The town was slated to be reimbursed for 80% of the project by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) provided that Dillwyn produced a 20% local match.

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But at the Monday, Jan. 11, Board of Supervisors meeting, Paige told supervisors the town was unaware it would need to provide all funds upfront before the money could be reimbursed.

Paige told the board Dillwyn had cashed in nearly all of its certificates of deposit (CDs) in order to find the funding necessary to pay its match, remarking that $125,000 had been paid as of Jan. 11.

With only one CD left to cash out, the town would still be short almost $26,000. Although Paige said turnaround for the reimbursement would be quick, the town would still owe the county $26,000 should the board agree to lend Dillwyn the money. Supervisors pointed out the town would not have any means left to pay that money back.

The following Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Dillwyn Town Council voted to ask Buckingham County for $850,000 in financial assistance in paying for the streetscape project.

However, at the next Board of Supervisors meeting held Monday night, Feb. 8, Paige stepped up to the podium to inform the supervisors she was withdrawing her request for financial assistance.

“In an unprecedented move, VDOT has decided to go ahead and pay the contractor and the engineer the funds, so we will not have to put money up front,” she told the board.

The contractors had threatened legal action against the town for non-payment according to information from the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC).

Paige said the town had also reallocated some items in its budget, eliminating the remainder of funds needed to complete the local match. She added an anonymous individual from the Town of Dillwyn even called to offer the $26,000 the town was in need of, although that person was later notified the funds had been taken care of.

Paige thanked the county, VDOT and the CRC for their help in finding a solution to the issue.

Board Chairman and District 3 Supervisor Don Matthews told Paige the problem had been weighing heavily on the hearts of county officials.

“We wanted to do the right thing, but you know, we need to make sure in the future, moving forward, we are professional, and we need to do these things the right way. So if you need some assistance and stuff like that, we’re here to help you, not hurt you. So before you bite off too much to chew next time, maybe come see us a little bit.”