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Halifax supervisors tee up school borrowing of $135 million, employee pay raises

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Mecklenburg supes designate roads to add to Six-Year Improvement Plan / May 12, 2021
The Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors on Monday completed its annual review of the Six-Year Road Improvement plan — the document that VDOT requires localities to adopt annually. It outlines planned spending for transportation projects over the ensuing six years.

After VDOT Resident Manager Tommy Johnson said he expected Mecklenburg County would receive $3.4 million in the coming fiscal year to pay for road improvements, supervisors determined 15 roads should be paved:

Route 699, Staunton River Road

604, Willards Mill Road

793, Reeses Dead End

672, Bowers Road

603, Estes Road

675, Hayes Mill Road

607, Wood Lane Road

773, Tobacco Lane

623, Wray Road

757, Allgoods Lane

614, Cannons Ferry Road

721, State Line Road

668, Dry Creek Road

680, Sweetwater Lane

622, Lone Oak Road

The public will have a chance to weigh on the proposed paving schedule at the June 14 meeting of the Board of Supervisors.

It costs approximately $155,000 per mile for what are known as rural rustic upgrades to completed on each unpaved road, according to Johnson.

County Administrator Wayne Carter said the list is a blend of two previously developed plans — one that itemizes the roads in order of usage from highest to lowest, and another that was developed in 2005 by supervisors and reflects a geographic distribution, without consideration of traffic volumes.

Johnson announced that Lucinda’s Dirt Road near Palmer Springs will be closed to through-traffic until July 2 while repairs are being done to a bridge at the western end of the road.

In other business, Petrina Carter with the Tri-County Community Action Agency updated supervisors on the work of the agency in the past year. Despite having to close the offices for several weeks, she said TCAAA was able to continue providing emergency food and shelter services to people in need.

The agency’s Head Start program was restarted in September and will end for the school year in June. Carter said they were only required to shut their doors one time after a student tested positive for COVID-19 and exposed two teachers.

In August, the Head Start program on the eastern end of the county will be relocating from La Crosse to South Hill, though Carter did not give the location for the new site. Also in August, Tri-County Community Action Agency in conjunction with Microsoft will be opening a tech access lab.

Ron Jenkins, executive director of the Virginia Loggers Association and Vance Wright and Adam Wilbourne, owners of logging companies that operate in the county, asked supervisors to consider amending Mecklenburg’s tax ordinance to exempt forest harvesting equipment from personal property and machinery and tools taxes.

Jenkins said the exemption is currently given to farmers and the Virginia Farm Bureau and Virginia Association of County Officials (VACO) agree that forest harvesting was akin to traditional agriculture and farming. As a result, the groups received unanimous support from the Virginia General Assembly in 2020 to amend the Virginia code to include forest and harvesting equipment in the definition of farm machinery and implements.

Jenkins, as executive director of the association, said he was making the request on behalf of Mecklenburg County logging business owners who are hard-working, small family-owned companies.

Currently ten Virginia localities have revised their tax ordinance to fully exempt logging companies from these taxes and others are seriously considering the exemption, according to Jenkins.

“It’s a matter of fairness and equality,” he said.

Voter Registrar Jason Corwin asked and received authorization to continue to operate a “split precinct” in the town of Brodnax for voting purposes. He said last year the General Assembly banned split precincts, polling places that serve voters in more than one state House or Senate or Congressional district.

Corwin said that presents a problem for the town of Brodnax which sits on the county line between Brunswick and Mecklenburg. Corwin said there are 18 registered voters in Brodnax who reside in Mecklenburg County.

If supervisors did not authorize the continuation of the split precinct for Brodnax, the onus would shift to Brunswick County to print ballots for 18 people with Mecklenburg County candidates and issues. Corwin said the potential for confusion would be great.

Corwin also shared the news that starting with the 2022 elections, all campaign finance reports for all county officials would have to be filed electronically. He promised to set up training sessions before the mandate will impact local officials.

Supervisors approved a request to rezone property on Morris Drive near the intersection of Cedar Grove Road in South Hill. The site had previously been used as a manufactured home park. Owner Brentley Morris was asking to reopen the park with housing options for workers at the Microsoft facility in Boydton.

A new well and septic system have been installed on the property and can accept multiple hook-ups.

Larry Gartin received approval to rezone his property on Highway 903 near Golf Drive in La Crosse from B-1 business to agriculture and Teresa Downey was granted a special exception permit to operate a neighborhood business at her home on Highway 92 in Chase City. Downey operates the Poppa Bear Kettle Korn company.

An easement was granted to Stephen and Christina Pegram to allow them to install a sewer line under Dogwood Lane in the Nocarva Subdivision in Palmer Springs which would allow homeowners to have an offset septic system. The line would run under the road to a dedicated sewage drainfield.

Supervisors agreed to hold a public hearing on the FY2022 budget on May 19 at 7 p.m. in the board conference room in Boydton.

$183,000 was appropriated to Mecklenburg County Public Schools to pay for roof repairs to the transportation and maintenance shop building in Boydton and for work at South Hill Elementary.

Charles McGann was appointed to the Mecklenburg Brunswick Regional Airport Commission to replace Lisa Gillispie, who resigned to care for an aging family member.

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