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Halifax County supes host joint session with towns, cut ribbon for courts facility / April 16, 2018

Halifax County Supervisors will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Temporary Courts Facilities at 4:30 p.m. today, followed by tours of the facility.

The temporary facilities will serve as home to Circuit Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and General District Court for roughly the next two years while renovations are carried out at the historic courthouse complex in Halifax. The Temporary Courts Facilities is located at the Mary Bethune Annex Building at 1050 Mary Bethune Street, once the old school’s industrial arts building.

Following the ceremony at the new facilities, supervisors and members of South Boston and Halifax Town Council will meet in joint session at 6 p.m. in the second floor meeting room of the Bethune Complex to discuss several issues.

They will first hear from Matt Leonard, executive director of the Industrial Development Authority, who is requesting an opportunity to present information about a possible foreign trade zone in Halifax County. Leonard is also expected to update both supervisors and town council members on the status of the Brownfields Grant and what comes in the future.

Next, South Boston Fire Chief Steve Phillips is expected to provide an update on the county’s ladder truck and arrangements for housing it. The truck is currently being housed in the South Boston Fire Department.

A spokesman for the Halifax County Rescue Squad, Chief Ray M. Mason, has asked for time to review the needs of the squad, noting that without more funding, the group may not be able to meet the medical needs of county residents. He noted that the county provides the rescue squad with only $114,000 annually, compared to $630,000 that Mecklenburg provides to its rescue squads. Charlotte County provides $350,000 for its squad, Mason noted.

Mason pointed out that South Boston-based squad has four ambulances, three with more than 100,000 miles on them. The squad has 12 field providers, two office staff, and several part-time employees.

In 2015 (the latest statistics available) the squad paid $528,003 in salaries. Mason explained that only a small portion of the squad’s expenses are recouped through Medicare and Medicaid or private insurance. He also pointed to the loss of volunteers, which has left the squad in in the position of now operating solely with paid staff.

“We now find ourselves in a dire situation in which we must find some help,” he said.

Supervisors and council members also will consider an agreement to allow the county to apply for a non-competitive litter control grant, which usually brings in about $18,000 annually. The grant is funded through the Department of Environmental Quality. If the idea is approved by the towns, county supervisors will apply for the funds on behalf of the entire county. The application must be made by June 30.

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Joint session! Smoke 'em if you got 'em!!!

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