By Nancy Lindsey
The Patrick County Board of Supervisors’ application for $500,000 in revenue-sharing funds has been tentatively approved, according to Lisa Price Hughes, resident engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
Hughes told the board at the Feb. 8 meeting that the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) would make a final decision in June.
The board is planning to match the state funds on a 50-50 basis, using $500,000 from last year’s school debt refinancing to provide $1 million to pave some of the county’s dirt and gravel roads.
Hughes said the roads would be paved under the “rural rustic” classification, which requires lower standards (such as the width of roads) than road-paving in the past.
The funds would pay for every project on the current six-year plan and would probably be completed by July of 2018, Hughes said.
Mayo River District Supervisor Lock Boyce asked how many miles $1 million would pave.
Hughes said it would cost about $200,000 per mile if hired contractors are used, making about five miles of roads that could be improved. The projects on the six-year plan are “spread out countywide,” she said.
“Is it too late to back out?” Boyce asked.
Hughes said the board could decide not to use the money, but it should let her know soon so the funds would be available to other localities.
Dan River District Supervisor Roger Hayden, board chairman, said Boyce apparently thought county residents enjoy driving on unpaved roads.
“That’s ludicrous,” Hayden said. “My district’s got more dirt roads than any other district, and everyone deserves to have a hard-surfaced road.”
It’s part of the goal to strengthen the county’s infrastructure, Hayden said.
“I think the majority of this board agrees with the vote we took,” said Blue Ridge District Supervisor Karl Weiss.
Boyce was not on the board when it voted to seek revenue-sharing funds to pave roads. He has said the $500,000 could be better used for other county needs or put into the contingency fund.
In another road issue, Hughes told the board that its application for House Bill 2 (HB2) funds to install new guardrails on Rt. 8 north (Floyd Mountain) was not approved.
That project, which would have cost about $1.5 million, scored low in the HB2 program in which economic development took priority over safety, Hughes said.
She said she was also told that the guardrail project “was considered a maintenance issue.”
Smith River District Supervisor Crystal Harris told Hughes that there have been three traffic accidents on Rt. 8 north when heavy rains caused erosion and dropoffs on the roadside.
In other matters at the Feb. 8 meeting:
•Deanna Cox and Scott Wickham of Robinson, Farmer and Cox reported on the annual audit, pointing out that the county earned an A by most criteria. They commended county staff members for their competence in preparing data for the audit.
The county’s contingency fund is about 14% of its total budget, Cox said. Auditors recommend that the percentage range from 10% to 20%, she said.
•The board appropriated $6,000 to improve security for the commonwealth’s attorney’s office.
•The board agreed to have a second meeting in February to continue discussion of emergency medical services (EMS), the school budget and the county budget.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 29, in the third-floor boardroom of the Patrick County Veterans’ Memorial Building.
By Nancy Lindsey
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