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Comprehensive Plan 2040 set for public hearings / April 29, 2021

The South Boston Planning Commission and South Boston Town Council will hold public hearings in May on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which outlines the town’s future goals for housing, transportation, recreation, broadband, land use and a number of other priorities.

Town Council committees — the current issues and budget and finance panels — met Monday night in a work session to set the agenda for the next regular monthly meeting of the full council on May 10.

The 2040 Comprehensive Plan is updated every 10 years and serves as roadmap and a reference tool for town government. “Having these documents ready are vital for applying for grants,” said Assistant Town Manager Dennis Barker.

The South Boston Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, May 5 at 6 p.m. to hear comments from the public with regards to the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

South Boston Town Council will hold a public hearing on the same topic Monday, May 10 at 7 p.m. during the regular monthly meeting. Both meetings will be held at the Washington Coleman Community Center, located at 1929 Jeffress Boulevard.

In other matters covered during Monday night’s committee work session:

» Finance Director Mickey Wilkerson presented the monthly budget report for March and told Council members that South Boston has returned $265,302 in sales tax overpayments to Halifax County Treasurer Ruth Oakes. Due to errors by Oakes, South Boston received excess payments of state sales tax revenues over a six-month period from March to October. Oakes apologized to Council members for the mistake but the treasurer requested immediate reimbursement from the town after acknowledging the gaff.

“The county was paid back on April 14,” said Wilkerson.

South Boston’s current budget, for the 2020-21 fiscal year ending June 30, has reached 75 percent of projected revenues, said Wilkerson. She told finance committee members that tax collections during the year have exceeded advance estimates, with collections of $957,165 in real estate taxes and $653,884 in personal property tax revenues.

“This is the most I can remember ever collected for personal property,” said Wilkerson.

She said the pandemic caused her to worry about money coming in from business license taxes, “but we are on target,” said Wilkerson.

A new source of revenue for town coffers has been taxes on so-called skill games, video terminals that allow users to play slot machine-style games. Skill game revenue has brought in $11,952 as of the end of January, when the machines were legalized on a temporary basis by the Commonwealth. However, legislation to make the machines legal on a permanent basis failed in this year’s General Assembly session, and the machines are due to be removed July 1.

» South Boston’s upcoming budget, for the 2021-22 fiscal year beginning July 1, will be discussed at the May meeting of Town Council. According to Town Manager Tom Raab, town staff is fine-tuning a number of line-item expenditures and will have the proposed budget ready for Council members to peruse by this Friday

» Town Hall has received a request from two citizens who wish to purchase a pair of town-owned parcels. The first piece of property is located at the corner of Broad Street and Easley, and the second request involves three parcels fronting Hamilton Boulevard, PRN# 610, 611, and 622.

“This would be a great way to get the properties back on the tax roll,” said Raab.

He recommended that sealed bids be accepted with a minimum price set prior to advertising the property sale. The assessed value of the property at Broad and Easley is $7,500. The land value of the other three lots will be announced soon.

» Committee members heard briefly from Halifax County Service Authority Executive Director Mark Estes, who is asking South Boston to amend the town code to incorporate current regulations. The current issues committee recommended an update of the water and sewer ordinance, with the full council expected to act on the request in May.

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