AT THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS HELD ON THE 5TH DAY OF MARCH, TWO THOUSAND AND TWELVE AT TWO O’CLOCK P.M. AT THE COURTHOUSE IN WASHINGTON, VIRGINIA
Roger A Welch, Chairman
S. Bryant Lee, Vice Chairman
Ronald L. Frazier
I. Christopher Parrish
Michael J. Biniek
John McCarthy, Co. Adm.
Peter H. Luke, Co. Atty.
Margaret R. Ralph, Clerk
Chairman Welch called the meeting to order.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited, followed by a moment of silence.
MINUTES: On motion of Mr. Lee, seconded by Mr. Parrish, the Board unanimously approved the corrected minutes of the February 6, 2012 Board meeting.
On motion of Mr. Lee, seconded by Mr. Biniek the Board voted unanimously to move Amy Burnett and the 4H Community Club agenda item to the beginning of the agenda before the revised agenda is addressed.
AMY BURNETT – 4H COMMUNITY CLUB CHECK PRESENTATION: Amy Burnett and Shelby Burnett, Maddie Heneghan, and Henry Mason, members of the 4H Community Club, presented a $1000.00 check to the Board for the benefit Rappahannock County Recreation Authority. This money was collected in December 2011 at the 5K-run/walk race sponsored by the club.
REVISED AGENDA: There were three items added to the Agenda:
1. Introduction of Guest after Dr. Boone’s presentation About our Schools
2. Declaration of Food Pantry Day
3. Under Information – Reminder of Joint Supervisor and School Board session on
on March 20.
On motion of Mr. Lee, seconded by Mr. Biniek, the revised agenda was unanimously approved by the Board.
ABOUT OUR SCHOOLS: Mr. Welch introduced Dr. Boone.
Dr. Boone reported on the following:
Concerning the School Budget Process – Dr. Boone has not yet submitted a formal Budget to the School Board and no bottom line figure has been determined. There has just been conversation. Anthem Health Insurance and VRS rates are the primary causes of the delay. The public session with the Board of Supervisors will be held on March 20 at 7PM at the High School.
Mr. Lee inquired about the Anthem costs, and noted that increased VRS rates could have a major impact on the budget. He also thanked the superintendent and his staff for their cooperation in helping him with budget information.
The energy upgrades may affect the fall school operation. There may be some overlap. If this should happen Dr. Boone will return to the old system of classroom sharing. Delaying the start of the school year will be the last resort.
A long-range, 10-year plan that will address repairs and maintenance at the schools, bus replacement, etc is now being developed. A draft should be ready in about a month.
The School Band received a superior rating in a recent state competition.
The spring season for baseball, softball, soccer, and quiz bowl will begin next week. There has been a renewed interest in football and 40 kids have already expressed a desire to play. This may be easier for Rappahannock students because a new league that will draw from smaller schools with fewer students is now under consideration. The disadvantage to this may be the distance we would need to travel to get to other schools.
Congressman Cantor’s District Representative: Mr. Welch introduced Christopher H. Snider. Mr. Snider spoke briefly. He will stay until the meeting is over to answer any constituents’ questions.
Wes Clark – Robinson Farmer Cox Associates – FY 2011 Audited Financial Statements: Mr. Clark addressed the Board. He commented that the auditors have issued an unqualified opinion representing a clean audit for FY 2011. He continued giving highlights of the various financial statements. The complete Audit Report is filed with the minutes of the meeting.
Mr. Lee asked if there were any problems found. Mr. Clark reported that there were no problems but just a few suggestions that he has discussed with Mr. McCarthy.
VDOT Report: David Cubbage, our VDOT liaison, introduced Mike Coffelt, a new member of the team.
Mr. Cubbage presented an update on several projects in the County, including the Route 729 Bridge replacement over Battle Run and the Route 522 Bridge over the Thornton River. The contracts have been awarded and the pre-construction conference with both contractors will be held on March 13. The projected completion date of the super structure on Rt. 522 is August 27.
Projected completion date for the Rt.729 project is October 2.
Mr. Parrish inquired about the road closure on Rt. 729 – will it be closed until October 2? Mr. Cubbage answered that October 2 is the proposed completion date with maximum closure being no longer than 60 days. Residents will be notified of the times and duration of the closure.
Mr. Biniek asked about culvert repairs on Rt. 707. This is a maintenance project.
In the next 2 months Mr. Cubbage would like to complete the annual update of the secondary 6-year plan. He will be meeting with Mr. McCarthy to determine time lines for that.
Mr. Lee commented about a bridge sign in Wakefield District that he believes in incorrect. Mr. Cubbage will check on it.
A resident has asked Mr. Parrish about Turkey Ridge Road, Rt. 617 off of Castleton Hill Road. A section is paved, then becomes gravel, and then returns to pavement. The gravel is always being replaced. Why isn’t it all paved? Mr. Cubbage is aware of this problem and it could be a topic for the 6-year plan. Traffic counts would have to be taken before any thing could be done.
Mr. Frazier asked about the Agenda item concerning a resolution for safety on Route 729. This will be discussed under new business.
Tourism Report: Laura Overstreet presented the 2011 Tourism Report. She thanked Sandra Maskas and Debbie Donehey (chairperson of the Tourism Advisory Committee), all the other committee members, the volunteers, especially those who man the Visitor’s Center, and Jay Brown for his work on funding. She gave a special thanks to all the Rappahannock County organizations that contribute to and support the Tourism effort.
Her report included mention of various publications (copies given to the Board) that advertise Rappahannock County as well as a reference to the new Rappahannock Guide, which will be published soon. The complete report that lists tourism statistics and tourism strides during the past year is filed with the minutes of the meeting.
Mr. Parrish asked about the return of taxpayer investment. The County budgeted $50,000 for tourism and the return was $150,000.00
Mr. Lee, Mr. Biniek, and Mr. McCarthy thanked Laura and all the volunteers for their help and for the quality job they are all doing for Rappahannock.
PUBLIC COMMENT: Chairman Welch opened the Meeting to Public Comment.
Ron Makela, Jackson District, spoke on the need for restraint in developing the School Board Budget. He offered a report (filed with the papers of the meeting) that included a pie chart entitled: Expenditures 2011-2012 “Where the Money Goes”. He was especially critical of the current health care policy that he referred to as the “Cadillac of Insurance Policies”.
Jeffrey Knight-Hampton District also spoke on the school budget. He attended the work session and was unhappy that no cuts were discussed. The Budget is not a one-time concern but a long-range problem. He urged the School Board to act courageously.
Dick Reidinger commented on the Meal and Lodging Taxes, stating that information is not clear and a simplified system need to be developed.
Laura Overstreet, Hampton District, remarked that she had forgotten to thank Candy Wroth for all her help with the Tourism effort.
Brad Schneider, Hampton District, spoke on the replacement of windows at the schools. He said that the windows are not energy efficient, are not right for the schools and need to be upgraded.
Demaris Miller, Hampton District, asked if the “clean” audit included a thorough investigation of the school board. Mr. McCarthy said that the audit does include the school system and a copy of the entire report may be found on the County website.
Henry Gorfein, Hampton District, believes that years ago the Board entered into a contract with the teachers to pay insurance benefits and he doesn’t feel that it would be right to change that. He also said that statistics are not always correct and don’t always show a true picture.
Jim Gannon, Wakefield District, also attended the school budget work session and noticed that there were no cuts but there were increases. He feels that it is time for the County to come to grips with the increasing budget situation. It may be time to decrease the number of employees.
Ron Makela spoke in reply to Mr. Gorfein. In the past, it seemed that if you were small, your insurance rates were higher. His research shows that small groups and businesses are actually getting better rates than larger groups. So we can no longer use the excuse that because we are small we are getting higher rates.
Brad Schneider spoke again. He commented on the health benefit issue
There were no further comments and Mr. Welch declared the Public Comment closed.
Mr. Welch asked for Board comments:
Mr. Lee looks forward to working with the School Board to find some cuts. He remarked that health benefits were created to draw more people to jobs in Rappahannock County.
Mr. Parrish remembered that when Dr. Boone came on board he immediately cut some “fat” from the budget by combining positions and even disposing of one position. The present Health insurance policy provided for our teachers and staff is no doubt the “Cadillac” insurance policy in the state of Virginia. That is one of the reasons our really good teaches don’t leave. He fears that if we take benefits away, even in part, they may be forced to leave. He also commented on the bonuses given teachers last year.
Mr. Frazier commented that last year’s bonuses may come back to haunt us. The current Board is under no obligation to keep the promises of former boards. The budget process should be fair, open and objective.
High School HVAC and Window Replacement Project Award: Mr. McCarthy reported that four bids have been received. The low bid was from Bayard Construction, while the high bid was from WACO, Inc.
Mr. McCarthy commented on Mr. Schneider’s role on the advisory committee that researched the repairs at the schools. Mr. Schneider was a strong advocate of the lighting and window issues. He didn’t agree with the committee. The committee saw a demonstration on the windows before it made a decision. Are there more efficient windows? Yes, and they are more costly. The committee felt that costs appeared to out weigh the benefits.
The total window, HVAC, asbestos abatement project costing $644,100 will basically exhaust the last of the 1.4 million that was funded for capital spending for this year and the next 10 year of school budgets. The engineering reports recommend acceptance of the low bid for $644,100.00
Mr. Frazier commented that the Board should consider other windows. He feels that work can be done while school is in session.
Mr. Lee feels that school must be closed when repairs are done, especially on such a major project.
A discussion concerning splitting the repairs into three separate projects: windows, asbestos abatement, HVAC. Questions were asked regarding the committee’s role in determining the choice of windows. This committee decided to accept the Engineer’s recommendation. Discussion continued with the Board discussing what action could be taken to ensure that we will be getting the best possible results with these repairs. It was decided that further evaluation should be done.
On motion of Mr. Parrish, seconded by Mr. Frazier, the Board voted unanimously to reject all bids and to rebid each project separately.
Community Action Program Update: Mr. McCarthy commented on a letter from J. Mark Grigsby, Director of the Office of Community Services. As reported previously by Bette Mahoney, the Piedmont Community Action Partnership (PCAP) requested that the Governor rescind its designation as a community action agency. This action means that after June 30, 2012, PCAP will no longer receive Community Services Block Grant funding and will no longer be providing services to Rappahannock and neighboring areas. No action is required by the Board. (Letter will be filed with the minutes)
Rappahannock Food Pantry Day Declaration: The Food Pantry is an organization that exists almost entirely on volunteer support and fundraising. The pantry will be having a series of actions and events in May to increase fund raising and volunteerism. Mr. Welch read a Resolution designating May 12, 2012 as Rappahannock Food Pantry Day. On motion of Mr. Lee, seconded by Mr. Biniek, the Board voted unanimously to declare May 12, 2012 as Rappahannock County Food Pantry Day.
Electoral Board: Two issues will be discussed today. First, the Electoral Board will be advertising for a part-time person to act as Assistant Registrar, to assist the Assistant Registrar who is now serving as Acting Registrar.
The other issue: the Electoral Board has been advised that the Stonewall-Hawthorne polling place, Mt. Lebanon Church, will be no longer be available as a polling location. This change will be immediate and will affect the June primary. Two new locations have been suggested: The Scrabble School and the Castleton Fire Hall. There needs to be a primary location and a backup location.
Mr. Parrish, Supervisor from Stonewall-Hawthorne, is suggesting that the Castleton Fire Hall be designated as the new polling place. He cited the following reasons for this recommendation: accessibility for traffic, adequate parking facilities, handicapped accessibility, kitchen facilities, and a pre-existing relationship with the county. Mr. Parrish made a motion that the Castleton Fire Hall be designated as the Polling Place for Stonewall-Hawthorne District.
Frances Schroeder, Electoral Board Member, commented that the Electoral Board favors the Scrabble School site for all the same reasons given by Mr. Parrish.
Mr. Parrish made some additional comments. Mr. Lee also commented on these locations. There was a brief recess to allow Mr. Luke, County Attorney, time to check on Code requirements concerning changing of polling places. The Board reconvened. Any change needs to be advertised.
On motion of Mr. Parrish, seconded by Mr. Frazier, the Board voted unanimously to advertise in the Rappahannock News once a week for two successive weeks notice of its intent, at the Board’s next regular meeting on April 2, 2012, to amend the Rappahannock County Code so to relocating the polling place for the Stonewall-Hawthorne Election District to the Castleton Community Volunteer Fire House located at 593 Castleton View Road. The location of the emergency-polling place for the Stonewall-Hawthorne Election District shall remain at the former Scrabble School Building.
County Administrator’s Contract: Mr. Luke briefly explained the terms of the contract. On motion of Mr. Biniek, seconded by Mr. Lee, the Board voted unanimously to approve Mr. McCarthy’s new contract. (Copy of the Contract filed with the minutes) The roll call vote was recorded as follows:
Mr. Welch Aye
Mr. Lee Aye
Mr. Frazier Aye
Mr. Parrish Aye
Mr. Biniek Aye
A discussion followed.
Mr. McCarthy will speak with the Tourism Advisory Committee members for information and to determine what feedback it may have received from other Rappahannock businesses. The topic will be tabled until the next meeting.
Rt. 729. Richmond Road Safety Improvements Resolution: the Board discussed Safety issues on Route 729/Richmond Road. On motion of Mr. Parrish, seconded by Mr. Lee, the Board voted unanimously to adopt this Resolution. The roll call vote was recorded as follows:
Mr. Welch Aye
Mr. Lee Aye
Mr. Frazier Aye
Mr. Parrish Aye
Mr. Biniek Aye
Constitution Day Declaration: On motion of Mr. Frazier, seconded by Mr. Parrish, the Board voted unanimously, to accept the Constitution Day Declaration.
Emergency Open Burning Restriction: Two years ago the Board authorized Mr. McCarthy to put out an Emergency Open Burning Restriction in the event of potentially dangerous conditions. Mr. McCarthy reported to the Board that on Friday, February 24, after receiving a high-wind forecast, he declared an Emergency Open Burning Restriction for February 24 - 26. On motion of Mr. Biniek, seconded by Mr. Parrish, the Board voted unanimously to ratify the actions taken by Mr. McCarthy.
Asset Forfeiture: Mr. Goff, Commonwealth Attorney, requested that $379 of Forfeiture funds be reallocated to account code 2201-8003 for purchase of a scanner for his office. On motion of Mr. Biniek, seconded by Mr. Lee, the Board voted unanimously to reallocate this money.
Budget Work Session Request: Mr. McCarthy requested a brief budget session to discuss budget issues arising from decisions and actions of the General Assembly. He is suggesting 5PM on Tuesday, March 20. This will be prior to the School Board/Board of Supervisors joint session.
INFORMATION: February Building Permit Report
Piedmont Workforce Network Report
First Comprehensive Plan forum in Chester Gap on March 21
Reminder: Joint Session of Board of Supervisors & School Board on
March 20 at 7PM
ACCOUNTS: On motion of Mr. Parrish, seconded by Mr. Lee, the Accounts were approved as presented.
On motion of Mr. Biniek, seconded by Mr. Parrish, the Board voted to conduct a Closed Meeting in accordance with §2.2-3711A of the Code of Virginia for the following purposes:
1. To discuss the investing of public funds where completion and bargaining are involved –
2. To discuss potential litigation - §2.2-3711 A.7
Open Session: On motion of Mr. Lee, seconded by Mr. Parrish, the Board voted unanimously to reconvene into open session. The following roll-call vote was taken: Ayes: Mr. Welch, Mr. Frazier, Mr. Parrish, Mr. Biniek, Mr. Lee. Nays: none.
The Board reconvened into Open Session.
Certification: The Chairman polled the members of the Board as follows: “Do each of you certify that to the best of your knowledge only public business matters lawfully exempted from the open meeting requirements of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, and only such public business matters as were identified in the motion by which the closed meeting was convened, were hears, discussed or considered by the Board of Supervisors in the closed meeting?
The following roll-call vote was taken: Ayes: Mr. Welch, Mr. Frazier, Mr. Parrish, Mr. Biniek, Mr. Lee. Nays: none.
On motion of Mr. Frazier, seconded by Mr. Lee, the Board voted to approve the Note Modification Agreement dated March 5, 2012 between Aileen of Rappahannock LLC and Rappahannock County. (Copy filed with minutes)
Roll call vote recorded as follows: Mr. Welch Aye
Mr. Parrish Aye
Mr. Biniek Aye
Mr. Lee Aye
Mr. Frazier Aye
On motion of Mr. Lee, seconded by Mr. Frazier the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting.