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Supes back business request, finish budget / June 24, 2010
Halifax County Supervisors on Monday approved a conditional use permit that could lead to a new business for Halifax County, and they also accepted ownership of the old Virgilina Elementary School property, returned back to them from the Town of Virgilina.

Supervisors also chose a site for the County’s 13th recycling and waste collection center to be located in ED-1, and they finally approved the $89.9 million budget for the coming 2010-2011 fiscal year.

In approving the budget for the coming year, the Board also approved a real estate tax rate of 43 cents per $100 value, a personal property tax rate of $3.60 per $100 value and a machinery and tools tax rate of $1.26 per $100 value. The rates are unchanged from last year.

In order to balance the budget, Supervisors approved a drawdown of some $1.7 million from the County’s reserve funds, which if used, would leave the reserve fund hovering close to $6 million. Members also approved the appropriation of funds to cover the budget.

In choosing the site for the new Four Forks Recycling and Collection Center, which has been under discussion for the past several months, Board members opted for a 1.5 acre location on Drive-In Road, near the intersection of US Route 501 and State Route 632.

The site will be purchased from A & J Davis, LLC for a price of $15,000 and the Board authorized County Administrator George Nester to proceed with the transaction.

Following a closed session later in their meeting, Board members voted to terminate a purchase agreement on a site previously considered for the ED-1 recycling and collection center owned by Wayne Guthrie and located on Route 501 about one-half mile south of its intersection with Route 40.

Also, Nester advised Board members that he had been contacted by Virgilina Mayor Ralph Murray about his town’s desire to return the former Virgilina Elementary School property back to the County, which had given the property to the town after the school was closed.

But as Town Councilman Ed Chandler explained to Supervisors, Virgilina Council members had hoped something would develop to make the property useful to the Town after it was taken over by the Southeastern Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP) out of Roanoke. But that has not happened, Chandler explained, and “the Town doesn’t have the money to invest in the property” to upgrade and maintain it.

Murray had asked that the Town be allowed to keep the small playground on the edge of the property, some 100 feet by 100 feet, but turn the remainder of the approximately 7.9 acres back to the County.

ED-7 Supervisor Lottie T. Nunn, in whose district the Town lies, added, “it will take a lot of money to fix the building up.”

In other business, Supervisors approved the conditional use permit that Charlie Hightower had sought which would allow him to operate a water bottling business at the end of Dixon Trail in ED-3.

Hightower told Supervisors that he has worked with professionals and the quality of the water has been certified by the federal government and tested and found to be “clear, colorless, odorless and pleasing to the taste” by Oakwood Laboratories of Mechanicsville.

Hightower also said estimates showed that 160,000 gallons of water might be produced daily, and he felt that would be a big economic boast not only to his business, but to the County as a whole.

In another report to the Board, Nester advised members that repairs to the septic tank drain field at the Fairgrounds are needed, “probably only about four weeks out of the 52” when the Cantaloupe Festival and the Fair are held at the site. He suggested several options that might be considered, saying that he needs more cost information before making a recommendation on what should be done.

He also reported on a meeting he attended on the Broadband Initiative which he hopes will serve Halifax County by year’s end. This service, he said, will be great for cottage industries and “is something county residents will enjoy for many years.”

Nester also discussed a meeting he had with the judges of the local courts who are asking for improvements to the Courthouse. The county administrator said the judges have proposed that a phased project be considered to stabilize the old Courthouse and work around the old jail building, possibly demolishing it. “We need to come up with a plan for the work,” Nester said.

Resident Highway Administrator Joe Barkley reviewed the progress being made on the new 360 Banister Bridge, noting that the truss of the old bridge had been removed this week. The contractor, he said, is well ahead of the Dec. 11 completion schedule and if things continue as they are now, he expects the new bridge to be completed ahead of its deadline.

Board members set four public hearings for their August 2 meeting on requests for conditional use permits for Clear Signal Towers, LLC to construct 300 foot telecommunication towers along Route 501. Three of the sites lie in ED-1 with the fourth site located in ED#4 on the south side of Bessie Marion Trail just west of its intersection with Murphy Grove Road.

In other action following Monday night’s closed session, Supervisors voted to increase the fee the County charges the Halifax County Service Authority from $5,000 a month to $8,500 to pay for the county’s serving as fiscal agent. The new fee would be effective beginning in July and continue on a month-to-month basis.

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