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Supervisors vote on fiber-optic deal

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

By BY BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer

The Henry County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to award a five-year fiber-optic network contract to the city of Martinsville.

The network will connect the primary 911 center and the backup center on DuPont Road. The annual cost will be $6,456, or $32,280 for the five years.

According to Martinsville-Henry County E911 Communications Center Director J.R. Powell, the fiber network will offer a backup connection in case the center’s primary connection experiences an outage. Powell said roughly a dozen outages have occurred with the present single-connection system.

“That’s our weak point,” Powell said. “If something happens to that single connection, it causes downtime in our system.”

The board unanimously approved the contract.

Also at their 3 p.m. meeting in the Henry County Administration Building, the supervisors:

• The board adopted its 2014 legislative agenda for the General Assembly. Items the county wants legislators to consider in January are in the categories of economic development, education, emergency services, transportation, local governance and administration, and land use/environmental/recreational.

The board also asked the state not to enact measures that “further reduce current funding for localities or shift more funding requirements upon localities,” board documents state.

The list also states that the supervisors “vehemently” oppose any changes in the Business, Professional and Occupational Tax (BPOL) or the Machinery and Tools Tax that would result in less revenue for localities.

• Approved consent items, including the confirmation of the minutes of the Oct. 22 meeting and approval of accounts payable.

• Considered projects for a regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy compiled each year by the West Piedmont Regional Economic Development District. The plan will be sent to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to maintain the eligibility of the participating localities for EDA funding.

Among the projects proposed for inclusion are Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre, expansion of Patriot Centre at Beaver Creek, water and sewer line projects, upgrading the Philpott Water Plant and the New College Institute’s development of Baldwin Block.

• Heard an update from Treasurer Scott Grindstaff on delinquent tax collection efforts. According to board papers, the Treasurer’s Office has collected 96.94 percent of 2012 personal property taxes. It also had collected 93.94 percent of 2012 real estate taxes as of Oct. 31.

• Heard the monthly update from Mark Heath, president/CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.

According to Heath, the EDC is working on seven active retail projects, including two national restaurant companies, two franchise fast food restaurants and three national retail stores. The EDC also has conducted six prospect visits and three existing industry visits, and it is working with 14 active projects.

The Visitor Center saw 848 guests in October, a 242 percent increase from the previous month and a 74 percent increase over the previous year, he said. Heath largely attributed the increase to tourists visiting the area for October’s NASCAR race at the Martinsville Speedway.

• Received monthly financial reports.

• Approved a contract amendment to Wiley-Wilson Inc. for $294,700 for professional engineering services at the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre.

The amendment includes redesign of Lot 1 for a specified end user; develop a new design for Lot 4 for a specified end user; redesign the industrial access road and utilities; new design of the wastewater lift station; and continue environmental permit activities.

Approval of the amendment will allow the staff to move quickly with the project once appropriate permits are granted, something that has been held up by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The amendment also gives the staff the flexibility to cancel the contract if the permits are not granted, board papers state.

• Approved committed carryover funds from the fiscal 2013 budget year to the current fiscal 2014 budget. The request totals $32,822,926.49, including interfund transfers of $7,348,364.97.

• Approved the award of a contract and additional appropriation for engineering consulting services to establish a stormwater management program.

Lee Clark, director of planning, zoning and inspection, asked the board to accept a state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) grant of $34,025, award a contract and appropriate the funds to hire an engineering consultant to perform work to establish a DEQ-approved stormwater management program.

The award was granted to Timmons Group in the amount of $31,000. The rest of the grant funds will be used for advertising and training costs associated with establishing this new program.

• Accepted donations of $1,191 from the Fontaine Ruritan Club and $698 from Altrusa of Martinsville-Henry County. The board approved the use of the funds by Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry to buy investigative equipment and cameras for litter prevention.

• Received routine reports from county departments and the county administrator’s report.

Following a closed session, the board voted to make the following appointments:

• Hal Prillaman, Terry Cundiff and James D. “Nubby” Coleman to the Patriot Centre Advisory Board for terms through Dec. 31, 2015.

• Supervisors Chairman Jim Adams and Vice Chairman T.J. “Tommy” Slaughter to the West Piedmont Planning Commission for terms through Dec. 31, 2017.

 

 
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