Thursday, September 8, 2016

Doing the people's business

Goochland’s supervisors address a wide range of matters at their monthly meetings. They began their September 5 meeting by recognizing five-year service anniversaries for county employees who were feted earlier at a celebratory luncheon. These are the good people who work hard every day to make our county a good place to live.

There will be two local observances of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, both on Sunday:
The first, at 9:45 a.m. at the Courthouse Company 5 fire-rescue station on Fairground Road, will read the names of the more than 400 fallen law enforcement officers and first responders. A bell will be rung to signify the loss of a comrade in the line of duty. Members of Goochland Fire-Rescue and the Sheriff’s Office will participate.

At 7 p.m. at the Manakin Company 1 fire-rescue station at 180 River Road West, a special ceremony to honor all who lost their lives on 9/11 will be held. Members of the Goochland High School Marine Junior ROTC and the Freedom Flag Foundation will offer words of remembrance and reflection. The public is invited to attend both events.

The Goochland Historical Society will celebrate completion of renovations to the Old Stone Jail on the Courthouse green at 3 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Board Chair Bob Minnick, District 3, announced upcoming fall town hall meetings. Districts 4 and 5 will be held on Wednesday, October 12 at the Hermitage Country Club; Districts 2 and 3, Tuesday, October 18 at the Goochland Library; and District 1, Monday, October 24 at Byrd Elementary School. All meetings begin at 7 p.m. These sessions provide an informal way to interact with your elected officials, learn first-hand what is going on in Goochland; and raise concerns about issues in your district.

County Administrator John Budesky said that his first weeks on the job—he started on August 1—have provided a valuable opportunity to get to know the supervisors and staff. He is learning his way around the county and looks forward to getting to know the citizens.

New employees introduced by Director of Human Resources Kelly Parrish included Barbara Horlacher, former county controller who has returned as Director of Financial Services.

Dan Schardein, Deputy County Administrator for Community Development, presented a mid-year update. Renovations to the CD space on the main floor of the administration building are moving along, and, hopefully, will be completed in November. Community Development is temporarily located in Central High School on Dogtown Road.

Utility improvements were discussed. Conversion of the Rivergate Pump Station to a gravity operation was completed for less than the budgeted amount of $269,000. Approximately $152,000 will be returned to the public utilities’ budget. A chloramine injection station is 60 percent complete. This helps to mitigate the “smelly water” issues in the TCSD. A new control valve for the waterline that parallels Rt. 288 is complete.

Schardein reported that the volume of recyclables at the convenience centers is rising. This removes more material from the waste stream and saves the county money. New recycling programs, including those for electronics, are popular with citizens, said Schardein.

Going forward, one of the biggest anticipated challenges for CD will be keeping up with construction inspections in the coming months.

Economic Development Director Matt Ryan reported that the ratio of commercial to residential tax base rose modestly from last year. Bonds are expected to be issued by the EDA for construction of a memory care facility on Broad Street Road in the next few weeks. Parcels in the Midpoint Industrial Park in Hadensville, owned by the Economic Development Authority, have been sold.

Mills Jones, Director of the Office of Children’s Services, gave a brief overview of a new Apple and Android smartphone app that provides information about parent support; disabilities; mental health; substance abuse; education; and transportation.

This free interactive app allows users to browse by category or resource descriptions. The app is linked to maps to provide easy driving directions. Type “community care” into the app search and download. Select Goochland and go. One advantage of the app, said Jones, is that it does not require an internet connection. The app was developed through a regional grant administered by the United Methodist Family Services in partnership with the Office of Children’s Services and a host of local agencies.

The Board unanimously approved amendments to budgets for the Department of Social Services by appropriating an additional $33,750 in federal revenue for the Community Action program. The required 20 percent matching was requirement was fulfilled in “soft” dollars” by the use of DSS space and services.

A budget amendment to increase the budget of the Commonwealth’s Attorney by $39,656 to upgrade a part-time position to full-time using a grant awarded by the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. Budesky said that, in his experience, these grants are ongoing.

Evening session:
The supervisors approved a request to defer a public hearing on a conditional use permit application filed by Donna Reynolds concerning an event venue until their October 4 meeting.

A CUP renewal was granted to Frank Nott for a commercial carpet cleaning business in District 1.

A five-year CUP was granted to Kindle Rayfield to operate a commercial kennel, animal daycare, and grooming enterprise in a warehouse on Briggs Drive, behind the Centerville Food Lion.

Pets in the care of the business, explained Rayfield, will be kept indoors except for brief elimination outings on a portion of the grounds. Careful attention will be paid to sanitation indoors and out. Construction of sound barriers will be triggered should multiple complaints about loud and extended barking be validated by the zoning administrator. This location is close to an existing boarding kennel and an animal hospital. This nice small business expects to bring at least 20 jobs to the county.

The supervisors approved an ordinance amendment to reduce the penalty for stray livestock to a Class IV misdemeanor—the lowest level of offense—after three violations in a six-month period. The penalty is a fine. Previously, the penalty was a Class II misdemeanor for each offence, which carries a stiffer fine and the potential of jail time.

Assistant County Attorney Whitney Marshall explained that the change seeks to abate the nuisance of free running livestock without over punishing while recognizing the safety issue, especially at night, of livestock running free in road ways. Recurring incidents in the following year is also a Class IV misdemeanor.

The change was made on the recommendation of Tim Clough, Director of Animal Protection, whose agency is charged with enforcing the ordinance. Clough said that there are frequent reports of loose livestock.
Other provisions of this ordinance amendment deletes a section dealing with vicious dogs, which are covered by state statute; and removes the requirement to report killing a coyote.

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