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Board OKs budget
Tax rates also adopted

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer

The Henry County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the fiscal year 2014-2015 county budget and school budget.

The supervisors also adopted tax rates for the upcoming fiscal year, which will last from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015.

The tax rates for the new budget are unchanged from this year — $0.488 per $100 of assessed value for real estate and $1.48 per $100 of assessed value for personal property (including motor vehicles) and for machinery and tools/business equipment.

The school budget constitutes $73,19,097 of the $117,238,114 total county budget.

At a meeting last week, the Henry County School Board asked Schools Superintendent Jared Cotton to find an additional $30,000 in the already tight school budget to partially restore coaches’ stipends.

Cotton said Tuesday that he and his staff took the money out of the educational and recreation supplies budget. The board of supervisors approved the amended budget.

The final stage of the budget process is appropriating the spending plans, which is scheduled for the board’s May 27 regular monthly meeting.

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

• Heard a report on delinquent tax collection efforts from county Treasurer Scott Grindstaff.

Grindstaff said that as of March 31, his office had collected 92.97 percent of 2013 personal property taxes and 90.64 percent of 2013 real estate taxes.

Horsepasture District Supervisor Debra Buchanan asked Grindstaff to email the board a list of residents who are delinquent on personal property or real estate taxes, along with a list of county restaurants that are behind on the meals tax. Grindstaff said he would provide those documents before the May board meeting.

Collinsville District Supervisor Joe Bryant asked Grindstaff what could be done about area properties that have been abandoned by their owners and left to become eyesores. Bryant said he has heard comments and questions from residents of his district about such homes in the area.

Grindstaff said that when a property is abandoned and in arrears on taxes, his office notifies all lien holders and begins the process of selling the property. If a mortgage company owns the abandoned house, it will step in and pay the taxes or begin foreclosure proceedings.

Due to the extensive legal protocols required before the county can offer an abandoned property at a tax sale, Grindstaff said it sometimes can be several years before the county legally can attempt to sell an abandoned house.

County Attorney George Lyle said area residents who are concerned about a neighboring abandoned house can take the neighbor to court or contact the bank that owns the house to request action.

• Heard a monthly update from Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) President/CEO Mark Heath.

Heath said the late-March NASCAR race at the Martinsville Speedway provided a surge in tourism in Henry County.

He also mentioned Thursday’s groundbreaking at Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre (CCBC) and the roll-out of the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing at Patrick Henry Community College and NCI as boons for economic development in the area.

Four new businesses have opened in Henry County and Martinsville since the previous board of supervisors meeting, including TLC Cuts in Collinsville, Hot Stuff Pizza in Ridgeway, Seay’s Family Restaurant in Bassett and Kroger Fuel Station at Liberty Fair Mall, Heath added.

The EDC is working with 10 active projects, Heath added.

• Heard from county Public Safety Director Rodney Howell, who introduced six of the 13 new paid EMS crew members who are working with county fire departments.

The new crew members include Mark LaPrad, Alan Nunn, Corey Haynes, Adam Martin, Scotty Castle and Tom Beard. Howell also introduced the board to the county’s new volunteer coordinator, Kenny Shumate.

The 13-member paid crew was assembled after the county received a $1,355,829 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Howell said the new staff members were hired on three criteria: the quality of their characters, their fire-fighting experience and their EMS certification.

“I’m very proud of who we’ve hired,” he said. “I’m very proud of their ability and especially their motivation and commitment to the community and the people they serve.”

• Awarded a contract to the Timmons Group of Richmond for $79,000 for permit compliance services at CCBC. Funding for the service is included in the CCBC expenditure budget for the current fiscal year.

• Approved a change order not to exceed $35,000 to Wiley-Wilson for surveying and geotechnical services relating to the National Guard grading project at Patriot Centre at Beaver Creek industrial park.

• Approved an additional appropriation of $124,000 from various revenue sources related to the Patriot Centre expansion project. The additional appropriation will cover expenses related to the National Guard grading project.

• Awarded a contract for $168,807 to Blythe Development Co. of Charlotte, N.C., for erosion and sediment control services at Patriot Centre.

• Awarded a contract for a replacement vehicle to Henry County Parks and Recreation. Parks and Recreation Director Roger Adams asked the board to award a $26,586.81 purchase contract for a Ford F250 truck to Colonial Ford and Truck Sales of Richmond.

• Awarded a contract and additional appropriation for a replacement vehicle for Building Inspections. Lee Clark, director of Planning, Zoning and Inspections, requested that the board award a $24,993.80 purchase contract for a 2014 Ford Explorer to Sheehy Ford of Richmond. The board also approved a transfer of $994 to cover the total cost of the vehicle.

• Awarded a contract and additional appropriation for a replacement vehicle for the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Lane Perry requested that the board appropriate $27,121 received from insurance proceeds to allow him to buy the vehicle. He also requested that the board award a purchasing contract in the same amount for the Ford Police Interceptor to Sheehy Ford of Richmond.

• Appropriated a grant of $5,832 from the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office to improve the camera system in the county jail.

• Appropriated $7,000 from the asset forfeiture fund to buy equipment and a trailer necessary for the sheriff’s office to clean up methamphetamine labs.

• Appropriated $1,200 in asset forfeiture funds to cover travel expenses for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for the rest of the fiscal year.

• Accepted and appropriated a $35,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (VDHCD) for the “15 Magical Miles Planning Grant” project. The county is assisting the Smith River Small Towns Collaborative with the project.

The funds were used to award a technical assistance contract to Hill Studio of Roanoke. The contract will be used to develop a master plan to address priorities established by the Smith River Small Towns Collaborative.

• Awarded contracts for housing rehabilitation and reconstruction at four sites in the Linden Road Housing Rehab Project. The contracts total $185,017.

• Approved accounts payable.

• Received monthly financial reports.

Following closed session, the board voted to reappoint Willie Scales and Joan Blankenship to the Henry County-Martinsville Social Services board for four-year terms that will expire May 31, 2018.

The board also voted to appoint David Martin to the Patrick Henry Community College board to fill the unexpired term of Bonnie Favero. The term will expire June 30, 2016.

Reed Creek District Supervisor Tommy Slaughter was not present at the meeting. Board Chairman H.G. Vaughn said Slaughter is recuperating from surgery for a torn retina.


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