Change mulled for 2018, hearing set

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The Patrick County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Nov. 10 on a proposed location change of a voting precinct.

If approved, the change will not take effect until 2018, according to Warren Rodgers, a representative of the Electoral Board.

Voters will continue to vote at their current precinct in the Nov. 7 election, according to Alan Black, county attorney.

Rodgers asked supervisors to consider approving an ordinance to move the current Stuart Administration voting precinct to the John D. Hooker Building, located at Rotary Field.

The change is needed for a number of reasons, according to Rodgers, who said voters using the current precinct in the Administration Building complain about the security measures in place for the courtroom which doubles as a precinct.

Also, Rodgers said the Hooker Building offers better handicapped accessibility, which will make it easier for those with physical limitations to access. It also would be easier for election workers to go to a voter’s vehicle if the voter is not physically able to cast a ballot inside, he said.

Kitchen and bathroom facilities in the Hooker Building also would better suit election officials, who man the precinct for 15 hours, according to Rodgers.

Additionally, a shelter is available for use in cases of inclement weather, he said.

The name of the precinct is still under discussion, Rodgers said, and reiterated the change will not take place until 2018, so voters  who currently use the Stuart Administration Building precinct will continue to do so in the Nov. 7 General Election.

In other matters at the Oct. 16 meeting, the supervisors:

*Approved hiring a financial consultant to assist the county. The 4 to 1 vote followed a closed session meeting. Crystal Harris, chairman, voted against the measure. After the meeting, Tom Rose, county administrator, said the consultant will help the county as a potential sale of the hospital progresses by providing financial and other information to the new buyer. He declined to identify the consultant, or firm, and declined to provide salary details.

* Approved hiring Jeanette Filpi, hospital administrator, for up to 16 hours per week to start. The vote followed a closed session meeting. After the meeting, Rose said supervisors “had a range” of the salary Filpi would be paid, however, that information was not presented or discussed in open session. Rose declined to provide details about the range. He said he had not yet discussed it with Filpi, and the part-time help may not be needed.

* Approved a request from Treasurer Sandra Stone to use $1 million from the county’s contingency fund to meet the school division’s payroll.  Stone explained the requested funds were not an addition, but part of the county’s approved allocation to the school division.

“We had hoped they would have enough revenue to meet their (payroll) budget,” Stone said, however state and other revenue expected by the school division had not been received. She added the school division did not underestimate the amount of funds it would need for the year. Rather the request was prompted by “a timing thing,” she said.

Stone also was directed to reimburse the contingency fund as revenues are received.

*Following a public hearing, approved raising the annual income limit – from $22,000 to $24,000 — for the Elderly and Handicapped Tax Relief Ordinance.

*Held a public hearing on a proposed Easement Agreement from the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative. The proposal called for increasing the northeast easement boundary by a minimum of 15- by 18-feet. Supervisors requested additional information, with plans to vote up or down on the proposal in November.

*Heard a request by Debbie Foley, director of Economic Development, who asked for support in her efforts to pursue funding for clean-up and additional development of a 4.74 acre industrial site known as the Martin Farm Road Lot. Funds will be sought from both the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Virginia Region Revitalization Commission (VRRC).

Foley’s request was supported by a majority of the board in the 4 to 1 vote. Boyce voted against supporting the economic development effort, partly because of the size of the lot.

*Heard a report from Lisa Price-Hughes, resident engineer of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

*Heard a presentation from Beth Deatherage regarding an upgrade of the county’s website. The update would include a sub site for Economic Development. Deatherage said the current site was created in 2011, and the update is needed due to responsive technology that would make the site more user-friendly, both on computers and mobile phones. The total cost for the update, additions and related expenses is estimated at $16,731. The board discussed, but did not approve, the proposal.

* Approved requests from the Patrick County Office of Tourism for the county to pursue funding for construction of Phase III of the Mayo River Trail and an enhancement project in Meadows of Dan from the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Each initiative calls for a 20 percent local match.

Votes on both measures were 4 to 1, with Lock Boyce of the Mayo River District voting against the proposals due to concerns that included flooding, maintenance and the repayment possibility if the trail is not maintained according to prescribed standards.

* Following a closed session meeting, appointed Anna Lester to the PSA Board; Steve Allen to the Western Virginia EMS Council and Roger Hayden of the Dan River District to the Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) Board.