Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November Board meeting highlights

The Goochland Board of Supervisors began its November 4 meeting by recognizing county employees marking five year increment service anniversaries. The employees recognized have served the citizens of Goochland for a combined total of 315 years.

County Administrator Rebecca T. Dickson thanked them all for their service. “You can’t do anything without a dedicated staff,” she said.
Retiring Commissioner of the Revenue Jean Bryant marked her 35th year with Goochland. Our amazing Registrar Frances C. Ragland has been keeping county elections straight for three decades. (See the Board packet on the county website at http://www.goochlandva.us/ for the complete list.)

Board Chair Susan Lascolette, District 1 recapped the recent round of district town hall meetings. Since taking office in 2012, this board has held 40 such gatherings. Lascolette said that the board will continue the practice to keep their constituents informed about local government.

Monday, November 9 was the deadline for comments on the pending permits for land application of biosolids in Goochland. Dickson said that the county will request an increase in buffers around all occupied dwellings and that buffers near roads be increased from ten to 100 feet. The county will support all comments made by citizens. A request that trucks transporting biosolids use only arterial road ways and notify Goochland County of their routes in advance of transport will also be made. Dickson cautioned that those requests may not be granted by the Department of Environmental Quality, which oversees the permits.

Goochland County, in Dickson’s name, received The Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the current year’s budget (see county website for complete wording) from the Government Finance Officers Association. “This award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting and represents a significant achievement by your organization,” Stephen J. Gauthier, Director of the GFOA Technical Services Center explained in the award’s transmittal letter.

The Board unanimously voted to adopt the Arterial Management Plan (AMP) for the Broad Street/Ashland Road corridor in Centerville. This is the product of about 18 months of meetings with citizens, landowners, count officials, and other stakeholders in the Centerville area. While the AMP contains some curious elements, especially the need for a road crossing Rt. 288 north of Broad Street Road, it provides a long term estimate of future traffic patterns.

A total rewrite of Goochland County laws is underway. Assistant County Attorney Whitney Marshall explained that the entire county code will be systematically reviewed to ensure that local laws comply with those of the state; are clear as to intent and consequences; and are well-organized. Each section will be subject to board approval following a public hearing.

Marshall presented Chapter One: General Provisions, which lays out rules for interpreting the Code and explains penalties for violations. This is an organizational chapter. The Supervisors voted to set a public hearing to address this portion of county law at their December 1 meeting. The full text is included in the November 4 board packet beginning on page 57.

A public hearing for December 1 was set to consider addition of an approximately 8.647 acre parcel of land south of Kinloch to the Tuckahoe Creek Service District. The property’s assessed value as of January 1, 2015 was $219,300. The Board should look favorably on this matter as it will increase the value of land in the TCSD and generate new ad valorem taxes.

Following that, the supervisors authorized Dickson to execute a contract for an amount up to $315,500 and approve a contingency for up to $49,500 for improvements to the eastern pump station. The funds were appropriated from the countywide utility fund. Unspent monies will be returned to that fund.

Deputy County Administrator for Financial Services John Wack asked the board to approve assigned uses of the approximately $1.4 million unallocated surplus from the Fiscal Year 2015, which ended on June 30. For the past few years, the county has run surpluses at the end of the fiscal year.

The allocation list (see Board packet page 84 for details) includes: $750,000 for a new animal shelter; $50,000 for the Broadband Plan; and $30,000 for storm water permit software.

The Board also approved a request from Wack to amend the FY 2016 budget to include $37,000 for one time bonuses granted to employees in the Constitutional offices.

In his report on the first quarter of FY 2016, Wack said that overall revenues are expected to exceed expenditures by approximately $4.2 million. Adjusted for bank stock taxes and expected year end reserves, the figure is $1.7 million.
Revenue projections show a modest increase, but not back to 2009 levels, explained Wack.
District 4 Supervisor Bob Minnick nominated John Shelhorse for the vacant District 4 seat on the Planning Commission. The Board unanimously approved the nomination.
Minnick said that he received five very high caliber applications for the vacancy and spent a lot of time with each of them.

During its evening session, the Board unanimously approved an ordinance requiring animals on public property to be properly leashed or under control of their owners. This applies only to county property including public parks and school grounds. This does not apply to private property.

The “lambing law,” which requires that all dogs in the county be leashed or otherwise contained from April 1 to May 31 is still in force.

Eric Krause, a professional dog trainer, explained that he works with dogs that have “control issues” and often uses public parks to socialize them. Kraus said that dogs running without any control from their owners in county parks are a serious problem. County Attorney Norman Sales explained that the ordinance could be enforced by animal control officers or deputies.

A public hearing was held on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which is the product of an 18 month collaboration involving county staff, the Recreation Advisory Committee, and citizens.

The Plan includes recommendations for improvements to existing facilities and identifies the need for new ones. Cost estimates for each element of the Plan are included. The net total to fund the entire Plan is $1,540,000, which includes $575,000 already funded in the county’s Capital Improvement Plan.

Dickson explained that items must be identified in the Parks & Rec Master Plan to be eligible for inclusion in the CIP. Acceptance of the Plan does not guarantee funding.

At the end of the evening meeting, the Board went into closed session to discuss the duties and performance of the county administrator. The next morning, we learned that Rebecca Dickson announced that she plans to retire in April.

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