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BOS Meeting 10/9/19 Recap
Join us for the next Board meeting on Oct. 23.
Dr. H. Lynn Moore Resolution:
The Board of Supervisors approved a resolution recognizing and thanking Dr. H. Lynn Moore for his 60 years of service and dedication to his patients, his community, and to Augusta County.
Matters by the Public
Mr. Dan Sullivan and Mr. Jeff Miracle asked for volunteers for United Way’s volunteer tax assistance program which helps families and individuals in the low to moderate income range.
Mr. Steve Morris addressed the Board and mentioned the following: $8 million in back taxes are owed in the County; he is concerned with the jail and wants to ensure that it does not become overcrowded and understaffed; he felt like two of the elementary schools would be paid off next year so there should be money available to build the two middle schools; Mr. Morris was concerned over comments made to the public about the courthouse; he is concerned about cell and internet service in the area; he thinks more fire and rescue is needed in the western area.
Dr. Robin Hawks provided information from her survey which indicated that 89.36 percent of those polled did not support the County building a courthouse in Staunton for $70 million. She is still working on another citizen survey and will present those results at a later date. Dr. Hawks said that fire fighters are needed more than an economic director and that a study from UVA shows that economic directors are not effective.
Mr. Shawn Mooney asked that an update be provided for the first right of refusal issue that arose in the last Board meeting for the property on Augusta Street next to the current General District Court. Mr. Fitzgerald responded with details of the County working with the owner’s realtor and attorney through the purchasing process and how the issue of a right of refusal was unknown to them; it had not been spoken of by the owner nor was it attached to the deed. The owner had gone to Marion King (who claimed to have the first right of refusal) and had offered the property to her; King had refused. The owner, feeling her obligation to King was done, proceeded to work through her realtor and attorney to negotiate the price for the property. Also, upon further research, a right of refusal could not be produced. Mr. Mooney also asked and was told that no one on the Board or staff has talked with Staunton City Council members about the possibility of the property being torn down. Mr. Mooney stated that only two choices have been presented to public about the courthouse and asked that other options be presented. Mr. Mooney requested that the draft of the updated Mill Place covenants specifically prohibit the dumping of any illegal material, substance, or liquid in stormwater management facilities. Mr. Mooney indicated that a FOIA request would be coming for any settlements that have occurred with employees who had left the County.
Mr. Coleman commented that $59 million was the estimated cost at the time for the courthouse to remain in Staunton and that voters voted to keep the courthouse downtown. The Board made a concerted effort with multiple public meetings, information sessions, and feedback requests to inform the public.
Ms. Nicole Medina introduced herself as a Verona resident for the last 20 years. Ms. Medina expressed her passion for the courthouse remaining in Staunton. She explained that though she does not want to pay any more than needed for taxes, they are too low and that you get what you pay for. If you don’t pay for it through taxes, you will not get good services. She is disturbed by staffing levels at the fire station and upset that responders are not being compensated well.
Mr. Steve Grepps would like to meet with all Supervisors and talk with them individually about issues with Fire and Rescue.
On the Agenda
The Board approved the proposed holiday schedule for 2020. Christmas Eve was added.
Project Grows Lease - Berry Farm
The Board directed staff to explore a longer lease renewal for Project Grows on the Berry Farm property which will allow them to apply for a grant to build a barn on the leased land.
Mill Place Commerce Park Zoning and Covenants
Staff asked for a Board-initiated rezoning of Mill Place Commerce Park. The proposed amendment ends residential use permits and limits the professional office and business uses to areas and reflects the growth and development that the commerce park is experiencing. The process will continue to be explored through a meeting with current businesses at the end of the month to gauge agreement with the covenants and rezoning.
The Board approved:
- the minutes for the regular meetings on August 28 and September 11 and for the staff briefing on September 23
- the claims as presented
- the recommendation from Community Development and VDOT to classify Cedar Park Lane (Beverley Manor district) as a secondary road
Matters by the Board
Mr. Wells enjoyed his tour of the Swoope fire station.
The Board approved $4,500 for a fire hydrant to be installed on Keezletown road in the Middle River district. The funds will come from the Middle River infrastructure account.
The Board approved $30,000 for a concession stand at Wilson High School. The school board will fund $100,000, with the athletic boosters assuming $30,000 with the County to match.
Mr. Garber shared an Augusta County hand-written note from 1862 for $1.
Matters by Staff
The Board approved $23,000 for an ADA-compliant playground upgrade at Clymore Elementary School. The school board will fund an additional $23,000. The County portion will be split among the Beverley Manor, North River and Wayne districts’ parks and recreation infrastructure accounts.
Mr. Fitzgerald mentioned that the County has received questions regarding staffing for Fire and Rescue and offered the following information. NFPA standard 1710 applies to those departments that are staffed with career firefighters only. The NFPA standard that applies to Augusta County is 1720 which pertains to a department staffed with a combination of career firefighters and volunteers. Augusta County has several suburban areas but the majority is classified as rural and remote. Currently we are staffed to meet the 1720 requirements for staffing and response time. In reaching out to other departments throughout the Commonwealth, several locations in larger metropolitan areas, like Loudoun County, Arlington, and Fairfax, adhere to 1710. The majority of locations follow staffing guidelines similar to us and include Roanoke City, Henrico County, and Chesterfield County, all locations with greater resources and density of population.