Barbour, Gordon back in leadership posts
Meeting a day late because of the winter storm, the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors gathered on Tuesday afternoon for its first meeting of 2017.
Turning the organizational meeting over to county attorney Russell Slayton, longtime Chairman Glenn Barbour was nominated to return to the post by Supervisor Jim Jennings and also longtime Vice Chair Gregg Gordon was nominated to return to his post. On unanimous votes, Barbour and Gordon were returned to lead the board.
The group also voted to accept the meeting schedule as presented and adopted Robert’s Rules of Order.
Turning to other business, the supervisors addressed an emergency motion on changes to the county “false alarm” ordinance. No one spoke on Tuesday afternoon at the public hearing of the emergency motion for the county to tighten up rules regarding malfunctioning alarm systems and resulting “false” alarms which “increase the county’s public safety costs, divert public safety resources from other critical areas of work and burden the Mecklenburg Emergency Communications Center.”
Under the terms of the measure, those who use such alarm systems will be required to maintain the systems in good working order and promptly repair any defects which may cause the systems to trigger false alarms.
For the purpose of the measure, the term “false alarm” means an alarm that causes a law enforcement, fire or rescue response when there is no actual or threatened criminal activity, fire or other emergency requiring and immediate law enforcement, fire or rescue response.
The measure imposes no service fee for the first, second or third false alarm but imposes a $100 fee for the fourth instance, a $250 fee for the fifth false alarm and a fee of $500 for the sixth and subsequent false alarms.
Fees for offenses shall be paid within 30 days along with interest on unpaid balance.
Deliberately turning in a false alarm shall be a class 1 misdemeanor.
The change had the full support of the supervisors.
The town of South Hill recently enacted a similar ordinance.
Also by unanimous vote on Tuesday, the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution approving condemnation proceedings in order to secure property rights in order to proceed with the Ridge Road Project.
Slayton explained that the county had made good faith efforts to contact the property owners involved, but it proved impossible to contact all of the owners. Based on county appraisals, the board has authorized fair compensation for the property rights.
The motion will allow the county to proceed with the project in a timely fashion.
Also on Tuesday, the board signed off on a resolution asking the Virginia General Assembly to provide a Cost of Competing Adjustment for Mecklenburg County Public Schools for salaries and operations similar the to adjustments in place for 18 school divisions in Northern Virginia.
The move comes after MCPS Superintendent Paul Nichols appeared before the supervisors last month, explaining that recent changes in funding put small, rural school systems at a severe funding disadvantage to urban systems, although the rural systems have more difficulty in funding due to a smaller tax base.
By unanimous vote, the supervisors voted to adopt the resolution.
The Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors will sign on to a moral obligation resolution clearing the way for the Lake County Airport Commission to move forward with a $150,000 letter of credit to cover engineering for re-asphalting of the runway and, hopefully, receive the needed monies in the next round of funding.
County Administrator Wayne Carter told the group that the moral obligation resolution is not uncommon in regional projects and that the county has entered into them for other regional efforts including the water authority, the regional landfill and the jail project.
On a motion from Gordon, the group unanimously voted to approve the resolution.
Members also discussed the new “convenience center” in the South Hill area. The new trash facility opened shortly after the last meeting.
Carter admitted that when the facility first moved, he heard complaints. Residents, he said, have warmed to the new arrangement. Most of the complaints, he said, had come from residents of neighboring counties.
The change, said Carter, has resulted in a cut in trash of about two-thirds, much of it illegal trash being dumped. He added that the sites are now much neater and cleaner.
“Business owners who were opposed the plan have called to say they were wrong,” said Carter.
The group will now look at a similar site in the Clarksville area.
The supervisors also on Tuesday passed a resolution honoring Henrick Motor Sports owner and Palmer Springs native Rick Hendrick as a “local boy who made good” as well as recognizing the assistance he has given projects around the area over the years.
The motion was made by Gordon and passed unanimously.