Goochland’s supervisors entered March like a lamb, but there may be lioning things to come before month’s end.
The meeting began with heartfelt recognition of County Administrator Rebecca Dickson, who is retiring for health reasons on April 1. Board Chair Bob Minnick, District 4, said it was a bittersweet day for the county.
The supervisors are interviewing candidates for Dickson’s successor-there is no replacement—and an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.
Dickson was honored with a resoltion of appreciation, a bouquet of flowers, and a standing ovation. Many members of county staff were in attendance. A video of the highlights of Dickson’s tenure in Goochland was played.
Approval was given to advertise proposed tax and utility rates for calendar year 2016. While the proposed budget uses the current tax rate of 53 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, due to modest appreciation of existing property values, the 53 cent rate represents a slight tax increase.
Dickson pointed out that most assessments have not yet returned to their 2009 levels, which means that out-of-pocket tax payments are still less than they were in 2009, the high-water mark for county land values.(The tax rate needed to generate the same amount as last year is 51.4 cents.)
Rates will be set next month following an April 5 public hearing on the proposed county budget (read this well- crafted document on the county website http://www.goochlandva.us/ It contains a great deal of information about Goochland above and beyond the numbers.)
Marshall Wynn, VDOT representative, reported that safety studies for Manakin and Rockville Roads are underway. Traffic control mitigation for the westbound Interstate 64 ramp at Oilville Road is in process. A signal warrants analysis is being performed and a round-about there could be the solution if funding is available. Some of the supervisors expressed skepticism at the notion of a round-about to improve traffic safety at an interstate ramp.
The secondary six year road plan (SSYP) was discussed. This is part of the cumbersome dance that localities must navigate to secure money for road improvements. The refined SSYP will be presented to the supervisors in April, before holding a public hearing and vote to adopt it in May. Priority has been given to improvement of the Rt. 288/Broad Street Road interchange; I 64 and Ashland Road; and West Creek and Patterson Avenue near Hope Church. The relocation of Hockett Road has been put on hold due to community concerns.
Kelly Parrish, Director of Human Resources gave an overview of the new county employee handbook. This includes electronic device usage policies.
The supervisors authorized Dickson to execute contracts for measures to improve TCSD water quality. She was also given the green light to authorize a non-interest loan to Fife Volunteer Fire-Rescue Company 4 to add sleeping quarters, an office, usable kitchen, bathroom upgrades including showers and drain field improvements. The Fire-Rescue Association will contribute to the cost of these upgrades, which will enable 24/7 staffing for volunteers and paid fire-rescue providers.
County Attorney Norman Sales presented an updated in legislation pending in the General Assembly. The bill for further investigation of the long term impact of land application of biosolids by the JLARC was approved.
The bills to reform the Certificate of Public Need for medical facilities was, at that time, seeking compromise. (It later failed.)
Bills dealing with repeal of proffer policies were changing by the minute. (Legislation with broad language requiring "reasonableness" passed and was signed by Governor McAuliffe after the supervisors' meeting.)
Sales and other staff members, including Paul Drumwright,Senior Management and Projects Analyst, worked hard to keep abreast of pending legislation that could have an adverse impact on Goochland.
During a brief evening session, the supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance change to allow shotguns loaded with slugs to be used in hunting under certain conditions. (See board packet for details.)