We’ve got a packed meeting coming up on Monday, July 13, 2020 at 6 p.m. in the Peter Francisco Board Room in the County Administration Complex on U.S. Route 60. I hope you will consider attending in person (though there are restrictions on the number of people who can attend), via phone, or via Youtube. Here is a link to the full Board Packet: http://buckinghamcountyva.org/Board%20Packets/2020/july%2013%202020%20bos%20pckt.pdf.
You can click here to watch our meeting live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPW1-53WLHg&feature=youtu.be, you can email email@example.com to submit public comment, or call 434-969-5039 to offer verbal public comment.
Transition of the Rescue Squad to the County
For several years now, the Buckingham County Volunteer Rescue Squad has struggled to a maintain volunteer-based response to the county’s EMS calls, which resulted in the county becoming involved in the squad’s operations and contracted services with Delta Response Team (DRT), which has cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now that the BCVRS leadership has voted to relinquish its assets and, in theory, turn the squad’s operations over to the county, we (county government) are in the process of transitioning to operate the rescue squad countywide.
Please keep in mind that, during this transition and once complete, volunteers are more than welcome to join the rescue squad.
There are several agenda items pertaining to this that I implore you to read up on, including a public hearing on a 5-cent real estate tax increase to fund and operate the rescue squad.
The proposal from the Rescue Squad Committee, which will undergo a public hearing in August, would result in real estate tax rates going from $.52 cents to $.57 cents per $100 of assessed value. Again this money (which would result in just over $1 million in new revenue for the county annually) would be used solely for rescue squad operations. The increase, if approved, would be effective December 2020. In order to operate the rescue squad, the county would still need about $880,000 more in revenue annually to operate to sufficiently cover the county’s EMS needs. The committee has taken into consideration the anticipated and hopeful revenue recovery the county should receive.
The long and short of this is it is estimated that operating the squad will cost about $1.8 million annually to operate the squad and keep up with capital improvements (new equipment), hence the need for new money/revenue to operate.
The overall transition is a three-phased approach. Phase One is immediate transitioning (assumptions of assets), Phase Two includes
•Beginning January 01, 2021- January 01, 2022 OR 2023
•Generating funding during this time
•Towards later part of this time, we are hiring staffing
•Including staffing necessary to handle additional HR/Payroll burden
•Beginning capital improvements once funding is available
Phase Three is county employees fully staffing the squad:
•Beginning January 01, 2022 OR 2023
•Buckingham County is completely staffed by our own employees, giving us a lot of flexibility and control. This is the end goal that remains fluid depending on transition process.
Also, on Monday we will be voting on recommendations from the Rescue Squad Committee:
- Releasing $50,000 of budgeted money to the rescue squad
- Releasing of $53,000 of budgeted money to the rescue squad as a match for a new rescue squad vehicle
- Approval of a Memorandum of Transition between the Board of Supervisors and the BCVRS
- A motion to request the assets from the BCVRS to the Buckingham Emergency Services Department
- Adoption of a resolution that will transition emergency services to the county from the squad and declaring Buckingham Emergency Services Department as the designated Emergency Medical Service Agency
Last month, the Board decided:
- For the Board’s EMS Committee to assume the provision of emergency services currently provided by the Buckingham Rescue Squad.
- For the committee to make a recommendation as to the funding of the assumption of services should the county assume provision of these emergency services.
- To allow county staff to make application, on behalf of the county, for an an EMS services operational license through the state.
It is important to understand that leadership of the current rescue squad voted unanimously to allow this process to take place in an effort for the county to begin planning to undertake the role of providing emergency services and EMS response to the residents of Buckingham.
I seek your thoughts and opinions on this as (notably the proposed real estate tax increase) the county begins to fulfill this paramount role of providing essential EMS services to our county residents. We must to have a means to pay for this service as public infrastructure to serve and protect you.
Public Hearing on Solid Waste Management Ordinance
Last month, presented the Board with a new Solid Waste Management Ordinance in draft form that we will hold a public hearing on during our meeting. I hope you will read it and consider its impacts as it addressed the access to the solid waste sites that many of you have expressed, notably the farming community.
The premise of the changes in the ordinance is that we are seeking to separate the county vehicle decal and develop a household waste permit, which we need approval from the Virginia General Assembly to do (in creating the new permit). This is an effort to allow those who are traditional and non-traditional county residents without county decals to dump household waste in the solid waste facilities.
I support the ordinance the the equity it offers to residents, farmers, and non-resident landowners.
The draft, proposed ordinance addresses absentee landowners, farm use vehicles, residents, non-residents, etc. Below is a link to the the draft ordinance. I encourage you to review this and get back to me with your thoughts.
Here is a link to the draft ordinance: rewrite-of-solid-ordinance.06-05-2020
Spending of CARES Act Money
We are planning to discuss spending of the $1.5 million of CARES Act funds allocated by the Congress recently. The county has spent money so far on matters (notably personal protective equipment) related to COVID-19. Spent so far is $554,430 with about $941,666 remaining. We will be discussing the following proposals to use this fund:
- $30,000 to create opportunities for small business relief from COVID-19 revenue losses in creating the Buckingham County Business Support Program
- $10,000 for the Buckingham Youth League
- $10,000 for the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center
- $38,392 for the Town of Dillwyn (this is mandatory per CARES Act)
- $300,000 for a new rescue squad
If these projects are funded, this will leave about $591,000 remaining for COVID-19 matters.
Town Hall Meeting
You’re invited to our second Maysville District/District Four Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 6 p.m. You can use Zoom to call or video in (see information below), or logon to Facebook.com/MilesForMaysville to stream live.
Please come with questions, ideas, concerns, compliments, and any topic you’d like to discuss. Please send me any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text me at 434-390-7023.
We will be discussing many updates, including actions from our July Board Meeting, updated information on the new library/community center, VDOT road matters, our new Economic Development Committee, the newly created Anti Litter Task Force, the Rescue Squad, taxes, and much more.
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88268547096
Meeting ID: 882 6854 7096
Call in: Dial 1-301-715-8592, Meeting ID: 88268547096#
Also, click here for information on the 2020 Virtual Buckingham County Education Town Hall, which will include Division Superintendent Dr. Daisy Hicks, State Sen. Mark Peake, and Del. Matt Fariss. The event will be held Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 6:00 PM.
Public School Reopening
The Buckingham County Public School Division has created a great frequently asked question sheet to help answer questions about the schools’ reopening. You can find that here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aIQBNTW7PbYho4vTQdOx1TxIvcEvvkwTxiHwhPgYA6U/edit. More information on the upcoming public school year can be found here: https://www.bcpschools.org/school_board.
Statement on Cancellation of the ACP
Though I criticized Dominion Energy’s level of transparency at the outset of constructing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and compressor station in Buckingham County, I am disappointed in the firm’s decision to cancel the project, one that would have resulted in domestically-used natural gas up and down the East Coast.
The project would have also resulted in a decreased dependence on fossil fuels and a stronger energy infrastructure for businesses and homes. The decision is going to result in a loss of million of dollars in tax revenue for Buckingham that would have offset increased expenditures expected by the county and our taxpayers.
The proposed natural gas tap off of U.S. Route 15 south of Sprouse’s Corner that the Board of Supervisors and County negotiated with Dominion and Kyanite would have truly been a game changer for the economy of Buckingham and this region, and I’m sorry to see that disappear, and with that goes lots of anticipated jobs for those in the region and county. Dominion has a strong presence in our community and I hope they will continue to strongly support community building efforts discussed during the ACP construction process.
I feel strongly that Dominion, in working with state and federal agencies, worked hard to mitigate any environmental and social issues the construction and operation of the project would have caused.
2019 Annual Drinking Water Report
Here is a link to the 2019 Annual Buckingham County Drinking Water Report from the Virginia Department of Health: http://buckinghamcountyva.org/Docs/County%20Admin/2019%20Annual%20Drinking%20Water%20Quality%20Report.pdf.
PLEASE always feel more than welcome to call, email, text or visit me (using social distancing for the time being). If you have any comments, ideas, criticisms, compliments, or anything to say regarding my representing you on the Buckingham Board of Supervisors, please get in touch with me. You can call/text me at 434-390-7023, email me at email@example.com, or come see me at 13170 W. James Anderson Highway in the court house village. I would be pleased and happy to hear from you anytime.