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Funding unlikely for portable stage / November 01, 2010
Halifax County Supervisors will meet tonight in the second floor meeting room of the Mary Bethune Complex beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Board has no public hearings on its agenda since the one item that was advertised — a request for a conditional use permit for a metalcraft fabrication shop in ED-3 — has been withdrawn.

Charles, Barbara and Brad Nutter earlier requested the permit, but they withdrew it after deciding that the expense of a required commercial entrance was too high for the amount of work the business might generate.

County Administrator George Nester is expected to advise Board members tonight that the county’s grant request to purchase a portable stage for outdoor entertainment and festivals is not likely to be successful.

Supervisors earlier asked USDA Rural Development for a grant to cover the estimated $200,000 cost of the project. Rural Development earlier indicated it might fund up to 55 percent of the total cost. Supervisors then decided to seek the remaining 45 percent from the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

Nester reported that Board Chairman William Fitzgerald spoke with Tobacco Commission member Ed Owen, who said it is not likely that the Commission would fund the project. Also, Rural Development has notified Nester that community facilities allocation funds are exhausted for the year. The agency also has a sizeable backlog of loan and grant applications pending which will likely be used up through 2012.

Nester is also expected to advise supervisors on a pilot co-mingled recycling project. The project, which is currently being explored, calls for taking all of the county’s recycling to a facility in Chester. The trip takes about two hours to travel from the County’s transfer station on Plywood Road to Chester and includes the acceptance of all recyclable materials — glass, plastic, aluminum, cardboard and paper.

Currently the County is sending a truck to each of its 12 recycling and collections centers to pick up individual containers of paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and aluminum. By being able to co-mingle the recyclables, it will cut down on the number of trips to each of centers from five to one trip to pick them up.

Nester said the first delivery to the Chester center was made on Oct. 20 and he hopes to continue the program for several more weeks to determine it there is a savings to be had for the County. He expects to bring back an update at the Board’s December meeting to see if there is such a savings.

Supervisors will also be asked to approve the sale of $140 million in industrial revenue bonds for Dominion, of which some $50 million will be used to develop a solar farm near the company’s Clover Power Plant. Virginia Electric Power will sell the bonds, in turn paying them back out of company revenues. Neither Halifax County nor the Industrial Development Authority will be responsible for any repayment.

Dominion projects the solar farm will add one new position at an annual salary of $40,000 to $60,000 and real estate taxes should generate another $100,000 to $125,000 annually.

Board members will also be advised of a public hearing to be held on Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. in the Riverstone Technology Center conference room on an application by NOVI Energy to construct a wood fired electricity generating facility at 1225 Plywood Trail. DEQ notes that the facility could affect air quality.

Nester will report on a $10,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to update the county’s water supply plan. Halifax County has contracted with Anderson and Associates to carry out to update, which includes a water demand projection for the next 50 years.

Finally Nester will review a letter from Gov. Bob McDonnell requesting that Halifax County and 21 other local governments be allowed to participate in any emergency assistance programs for drought-stricken disaster areas. A loss assessment report for the County shows that farmers sustained general crop damage of corn, grass, forage, soybeans, flue-cured tobacco, wheat and seasonal grasses of 30 percent of their crops.

County Planner Robbie Love is expected to ask Supervisors to set a public hearing on an application from W.A. Stevens for a conditional use permit to allow for an internet gaming café to be located in ED-5 at the intersection of US Route 360 and Shady Lane.

Board members still have a number of vacancies to be filled, including a seat on the Improvement Council in ED-2, two spots on the Southside Regional Juvenile Group Home Commission and a seat on the Lake Country Area Agency on Aging. Also, Douglas Powell’s term on the Board of Equalization expires this month, and he is eligible for reappointment.

Supervisors will go into closed session to discuss personnel issues, as well as business prospects and public contracts involving the expenditure of public funds which could be adversely affected by public discussion.

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