July Board of Supervisors address several topics

By Terry Harris

The July 2 Surry County Virtual Board of Supervisors meeting began with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance at 7 p.m. with approximately 30 people present online.

The following seven Consent Items were approved as follows:

  1. Approval of Draft Meeting Minutes- May 2020 & June 2020
  2. Payables Reports; March, April, May 2020 in the amount of $2,274,704.08
  3. Budget Amendment: Rails to Trails Grant from the Department of Conservation and Recreation in the amount of $143,845 and appropriate the $115,076 (unspent portion) in the County’s FY2020 Capital Improvement Program Budget. [Note: any unspent funds will be carried forward to the FY 20-21 Budget)
  4. Budget Amendment: FY20-21 Supplemental Appropriation for Library FY20-21 Supplemental Appropriation for Blackwater Regional Library Appropriate $17,360 from the FY20-21 Contingency line item to the Blackwater Regional Library in order to keep the Claremont Branch Library open.
  5. HRSD Easement: LOT 13 SWBP & Dendron Water Tower
  6. Senior Recognition: Resolution 2020-15; Ms. Violet M. Savedge was recognized for achieving her 100th birthday
  7. Contract Negotiations: County Administrator (Documents pending 6-24-2020) Recommendation to amend the contract figures announced at the June meeting for Melissa Rollins as new County Administrator to make the Administrator salary she will receive retroactive to January.

Several topics were addressed during the Public Hearing section of the agenda. First, the board considered a proposed Budget Amendment authorizing the amendment of CARES ACT funding (federal) revenue to the FY 19-20 Budget in the amount of $560,295. Specific allocations per areas/activities identified will be determined at a later date. Unspent funds at the end of June 30, 2020 will be carried forward to the FY 20-21 Budget. There were no public comments. It was passed.

Public Hearing Items 2, 3, and 4 (Comprehensive Plan Text Amendment; 2020-01, Conditional Rezoning; REZ 2019-01, and Conditional Use Permit; CUP 2020-02 – all for Spring Grove Solar III, LLC) were presented at once. Following the presentation, all passed.

Under New Business, the request for a public hearing concerning the Confederate Monument in front of the courthouse which has been the subject of controversy recently was approved and scheduled for a special meeting on August 13, 2020 rather than for the August 5 regular meeting.

Item 2 under New Business, the Public Hearing Request for CUP 2020-03; Harte B&B was scheduled for the August 6 regular meeting.

On the third item under New Business – Proposed Revenue Sharing Agreement: Spring Grove Solar III, LLC – plans for Spring Grove Solar III to begin sharing revenue with the county were revealed. County Economic Development Director David Harrison elaborated on the situation afterward.

“Newly adopted legislation concerning solar revenue sharing has made it possible for the county to negotiate a Voluntary Payment Agreement for the county’s newly approved solar project Spring Grove Solar III. This agreement will enhance the Economic Development of the county by allowing Spring Grove Solar to waive a portion of its tax exemption and make payments to the county in accordance with the terms outlined in the agreement. I see this as a major win for Surry County because we will be able to sustain annual unrestricted revenue for the life of the Spring Grove Solar III project.”

Under Unfinished Business, Resolution 2020-12; EOP Revised. The revision to the Emergency Operations Plan was adopted by the board.

The County Administrator’s Report included the announcement that Surry County Employees have resumed a modified schedule of returning to facilities with alternating schedules. Employees are having their temperatures taken before entering county facilities and Emergency Management has been working with each department on social distancing, PPE, and other provisions necessary to ensure a safe environment. No date has been set for public entry.

Rollins revealed that the newly constructed Emergency Operations Center is nearing completion. She also noted that there will be a special Board of Supervisors work session on July 16 at 7 p.m.

Before adjournment, board members encouraged the public to remain diligent in efforts to follow all safety precautions dealing with COVID-19.

NOTE: Board of Supervisors meeting agendas, Supervisor Packets (with extensive background material on each matter), as well as directions and a link for attending the meetings online and for making public comments at the meetings are available each month prior to the meetings at https://www.surrycountyva.gov/AgendaCenter.

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