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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Board backs I-73 resolution

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Henry County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a resolution asking that the portion of the proposed Interstate 73 from the Patriot Centre industrial park to the U.S. 58 bypass be the first priority for the highway’s construction.

Supervisors took that action after hearing from residents Max Kendall and Skip Ressel, both of the Iriswood District.

Ressel said 440 businesses in Martinsville and Henry County signed a petition asking the board to support a resolution to ask the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Commonwealth Transportation Board to start and fund the first leg of I-73.

“More specifically, to start the engineering/design, relocation of utilities and” right-of-way acquisition, beginning at the Laurel Park interchange on U.S. 58 east and continuing to and including the interchange at the Patriot Centre, Ressel said.

VDOT has estimated that work on the project will cost $64 million, according to Ressel, who added that more than $9 million of that cost has been earmarked to be spent near Martinsville.

“We also ask for funding” for the engineering/design, relocation of utilities and right-of-way acquisitions for the interchange on the U.S. 58 bypass at the Martinsville Speedway and Martinsville Industrial Park at Clover Road, which VDOT has estimated will cost $15 million, the petition stated.

The resolution and petition will be forwarded to the CTB, VDOT and legislators.

In August, Jason Bond, Salem District spokesman for VDOT, said he doubted if additional funds for I-73 would be available soon because of other economic factors and the fact that there are more highway needs than money to pay for them.

Also on Tuesday, the supervisors:

• Took no action on a request from Barbara McCraw, who asked the board to change the amount of her real estate taxes because she said she pays more in real estate taxes than the assessed value of her home.

McCraw did not identify the district in which she lives, but told the supervisors that the home is on Riverview Court.

• Heard a monthly update from Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. He said the EDC is working with 11 projects, including seven in the inquiry stage (not visited the area) and four active projects, or those which have visited the area.

• Tabled a discussion of who will pay the estimated $300 cost of installing “Watch for Children” signs since the VDOT discontinued its practice of installing the signs.

• Took no action on a request from Naomi Hodge-Muse to formally oppose lifting a ban on uranium mining.

• Voted to keep a county-wide Technology Zone in place for another 10 years as a way to attract technology companies with the possibility of added local incentives such as reduced taxes/permit fees, user fees and gross receipts tax.

Supervisors created the zone in January 2003 to provide local incentives to attract technology-based companies. It has never been used, officials have said.

• Appropriated a $10,000 grant from the Harvest Foundation to the Department of Public Safety to develop a public relations campaign titled “Get through 72,” to encourage and help prepare residents to be self-sufficient in the first 72 hours after a disaster.

• Awarded a contract and made the additional appropriation needed for the Henry County Sheriff’s Office to change from .40 caliber to .45 caliber weapons. Town Police Supply in Collinsville was awarded a contract of $51,062.78 and Atlantic Tactical of New Cumberland, Pa., was awarded $29,601.78, using $52,913 from Federal Asset Forfeiture funds, an internal transfer of money in the sheriff’s budget and the proceeds of selling .40 caliber ammunition to another locality.

• Tabled a request from Henry County Schools Superintendent Jared Cotton to keep $1,935,261 in carryover funds from the fiscal 2012 budget, and use it mainly for maintenance and operational projects. The supervisors delayed a decision on the request until work on the fiscal 2014 county budget is farther along.

• Adopted a county ordinance requiring scrap metal recyclers to participate in “Leads Online,” a program to record and report items coming to their businesses to improve data collection on potentially stolen or recovered items. The supervisors also approved certain amendments related to the ordinance that were prompted by state law or to ensure a similar ordinance does not create a hardship for precious metal dealers.

That ordinance was approved in December to cover precious metal and pawn dealers.

• Heard a report on delinquent tax collection efforts from County Treasurer Scott Grindstaff, who said that 89.95 percent of the 2012 personal property tax and 88.62 percent of real estate taxes had been collected by Jan. 31.

• Approved a proclamation establishing March 2013 as “American Red Cross Month,” as requested by officials with the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

• Approved a proclamation requested by the United Way of Henry County & Martinsville to establish Feb. 25 through March 2 as “Henry County Saves Week.” This is part of a national initiative to promote long-term financial stability and raise awareness of the importance of a sound savings plan for families and individuals.

• Took no action after closed session, where they discussed awarding a public contract; appointees to the Industrial Development Authority, Planning Commission, Patrick Henry Community College Board, Dan River Alcohol Safety Action Program Board and West Piedmont Planning District Commission; pending legal matters; the acquisition/disposal of real estate; and as-yet unannounced industries.


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