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Board of Supervisors :: 4.14.09

[ 1 ] April 15, 2009 |

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Present: Mr. Allen Hale, Ms. Connie Brennan, Mr. Joe Dan Johnson,
Mr. Tommy Bruguiere and Mr. Tommy Harvey

BROADBAND PHASE III FINAL REPORT – Mr. Keith Hill, Icon Engineering,
reviewed the final implementation report.  He noted the county’s objectives
to seek solutions that do not increase the current workloads, mitigate
financial risk and avoid long-term debt.  He reported that the final report
recommends working with private providers and capitalizing on the synergy
between the public safety radio upgrade, emergency communications
interoperability planning and the broadband project, noting that portions of
each project could be achieved through the installation of fiber and
communication towers in areas where the projects overlap.

Mr. Hill said that the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA)
allocated over $7 billion for broadband infrastructure implementation
assistance, but specific funding announcements and application guidelines
have not yet been announced.  (Nelson County submitted requests to the
Governor’s office in 2008 and 2009 for funding assistance to complete both
the Radio and Broadband projects – grants will be awarded on a competitive

The plan includes a 31 miles of fiber with Martin’s Store as the main
connectivity point and fiber extending from Martin’s Store as follows:

1. North approximately 2.2 miles along Rt. 151 to Rockfish River
Elementary School (proposed new tower);
2. North from the school approximately 7.9 miles to Afton Mountain
(proposed new tower);
3. South approximately 13.4 miles along Rt. 6 through Woods Mill and
continuing down Rt. 29 into Lovingston and the Emergency Communications
Center at the Courthouse (future planned Public Safety tower);
4. From the Courthouse, approximately 1.2 miles through downtown
Lovingston and back to Rt. 29; and
5. South approximately 6.2 miles on Highway 29 to the Colleen Business
Park, ending at the CVEC property (proposed tower).

The proposed route would serve private providers, the County, businesses and
residents located within approximately 500 feet of the fiber (approximately
2,000 customers).  The cost would be $2,289,068 with an additional $31,000
in funding required for the first year to cover any shortfall in operating
budget.  The report recommends that the county seek ARRA funds as well as
funding from the VA Department of Housing and Community Development.

Mr. Hale questioned whether the county could afford to develop the system if
grant funding is not acquired.  He said that he believes that private
providers will, at some point, develop a system without county involvement.
Mr. Johnson disagreed, saying that the county needs broadband for economic
development and that the county would be far behind in technology by the
time a private provider developed a system.

During public comment, MR. ALLEN PATRICK, a member of the Broadband
Management Team, asked that the Board seriously consider moving forward with
the implementation plan.  MR. GORDON KOERNER, Shipman, said that he supports
establishment of a broadband authority as broadband is needed in the county.
MR. CLAY STEWART, Arrington, said that high-speed internet is needed for
employment and education in the county.  Following public comment,
Supervisors tabled further discussion to allow time for review of the
implementation plan.

authorize advertisement for a public hearing on establishment of an
authority on May 28th.

ROCKFISH VALLEY COMMUNITY CENTER – Supervisors voted 5-0 to authorize RVCC
to proceed with planned improvements as recommended by the Building Official
and to install playground equipment on the site.

boundary and topographic surveys are in progress and that a contract for
design services has been executed with Wiley and Wilson.

FY 09-10 BUDGET – Ms. McCann reported that Personal Property Tax revenues
for FY09 and FY10 are showing a shortfall – FY09 $293,758 below projected
and FY10 $657,563 below projected.  Mr. Carter noted that the shortfall
would require utilizing all contingency funds plus a budget reduction of
$29,022 to make up the difference.  He reported that the Ms. Payne,
Commissioner of Revenue, has the authority to decide how personal property
values are set and has been setting those values at trade-in value.  Ms.
McCann noted that there was a 13% drop in personal property values in one
year, something not seen before.  Mr. Carter said that the Supervisors can
request that Ms. Payne set the values at a percentage of retail value to
help offset the shortfall.  Ms. McCann presented multiple scenarios
including 85%-100% of retail value.

Mr. Harvey said that it is a tax increase and that the rate should have been
raised if a tax increase was what was wanted.  Mr. Hale agreed, noting that
real estate values decreased but the tax rate did not go down.  He said that
there is a deficit that has to be made up and noted that if the Board does
nothing, it will take all of the contingency fund plus another $29,022 to
make up that deficit.  Ms. Brennan said that it seems more equitable to ask
people to pay a little more on their cars that asking everyone to pay more
on their land.

Mr. Johnson moved (Ms. Brennan seconding the motion) to request the
Commissioner consider changing the valuation to 100% of retail value.  Mr.
Bruguiere said that he would prefer 90% of retail value.  Mr. Harvey said
that he does not like it.  Mr. Hale said that the Board is dependent on the
kindness of the Commissioner of Revenue to help the county with a budget
problem and that 90% of the retail value would leave some of the contingency
funds.  Ms. Brennan suggested a compromise of 96% of the retail.
Supervisors voted 2-3 (Mr. Bruguiere, Mr. Harvey and Mr. Hale voting no).
Then Mr. Bruguiere moved (Mr. Harvey seconded the motion) to request the
Commissioner consider changing the valuation to 90% of the retail value.
Supervisors voted 4-1 (Ms. Brennan voting no).

CLOSED SESSION – Supervisors met in closed session to discuss a personnel

COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT – Mr. Carter reported on the following:

– Courthouse Project – Wiley and Wilson is working with county staff on
final design for network cabling, including an 80-foot radio communications
tower planned for construction behind the courthouse.  Ms. Brennan and Mr.
Hale expressed concern about where that tower would be located and how
visible it would be from the courthouse property and the adjoining
landowner’s property.  Supervisors directed staff to bring back more
information on the tower and where it would be located on the property.
– Ferguson’s Store/Roseland Water Line Extension (Piney River 4) – a
proposal has been received from Draper Aden Associates to provide
engineering services to update the reports and reviews prepared for Piney
River 3.  The cost for the work is $9,500 and will include various project
scenarios including cost and funding sources.  Supervisors agreed by
consensus to authorize staff to fund the $9,500 update.
– Region Ten has advised the county that they are willing to lease space
in their new building for occupancy by the local Health Department.  The
state Health Department officials are reviewing the option.

Meeting adjourned.

Copyright 2000-2009 by Rural Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Reports may
be reprinted or excerpted with attribution.

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Comments (1)

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  1. David White says:

    I want to emphasize to you and to the public, as specifically stated in the aforesaid Affidavit, that the Affidavit has not been originated out of spite, or in retaliation against any injury, public criticism or ridicule inflicted on me by any member of the Board of Supervisors, since I have not been so injured in any way to the best of my knowledge, but has rather been originated because of my concern as a responsible individual over the lives, personal safety and liberty of citizens of Nelson County.

    Now of course the question arises: What is the Board now going to do about this Resolution? If you still decide that you don’t have to do anything, in hopes that the whole matter will somehow just go away and be buried, I can assure you again that this weak strategy will not work, because I will be obligated to file a Complaint against each of you, accompanied by this Affidavit “A”, with the Nelson County Commonwealth Attorney and/or with the Nelson County Circuit Court Judge.

    Should such a Complaint be referred to the Nelson County Grand Jury, as one who has previously served on a county grand jury in another state, I would of course be glad to testify under oath as to all matters within my knowledge regarding the present question.

    Since the filing of such a formal Complaint would presumably be reported by the media as a normal news item, and since such a news item might not be considered as favorable to the Board, simply from a public relations viewpoint the Board might prefer to go ahead and place the aforesaid Resolution on the Board’s agenda, in which case I would of course immediately release and remove the aforesaid Affidavit “A” from the recorded files of the Nelson County Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

    So the next move is up to you. If you continue to do nothing, I can promise you that ever-increasing citizen awareness of deliberate Board cover-up of an extremely vital matter will cause you to lose.

    That concludes my Statement.


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