Rejuvenating Our Anti-Litter Task Force, Revenue Losses, Public Hearings, Adding More Squad Coverage, Additional School Funding, and COVID-19

I hope this installment of our newsletter finds you well and healthy!

If you didn’t view or listen to our meeting on Monday, you can do so here via YouTube: https://youtu.be/IL6Kz_kzpEM. Our Monday, April 20 meeting will also be live streamed here.

Please remember to pray for those who are on the front lines of battling COVID-19, those who have tested positive, and those who have died. This week we lost the pastor of Oak Hill Baptist Church, the Rev. Jesse Johnson, who lived outside the county. Please pray for his family and the church.

Rejuvenating the Anti Litter Task Force

I am very excited and pleased to announce that we are in the process of bringing life back to the Buckingham Anti-Litter Task Force! I led that effort with a motion to appoint 2-3 people from each Election District to the Task Force to clean up our roadways in Buckingham County. For far too long we have seen too much litter along our roads, and it looks bad, simply put. And together, we can solve this problem, and this is the first step toward that. Myself and District Three Supervisor Don Matthews will serve on that Task Force, along with volunteers like yourself. If you are interested in being a member, picking up trash, or helping in any way, please contact me or your Supervisor.

Projected Revenue Losses From the State

Studies and projections are showing that Buckingham County will lose $431,016 in this current fiscal year (FY19-20) and more than $1 million in the upcoming fiscal year (FY20-21). These are projections as a result of COVID-19 Virus, namely business closings and other severe economic ramifications. We will have to make some hard decisions in the coming months as to balance our budgets. We are very fortunate that our County Administrator has budgeted very conservatively over the years, and we have a healthy reserve and fund balance. That doesn’t mean that we may not have to cut and trim though. These projections and forecasts will surely change as this situation unfolds, and I promise to keep you updated on that and our actions.

Public Hearings on The Budget and Tax Rates

We held public hearings on our proposed $57 million budget, along with a hearing on the proposed, unchanged tax rates. You can read more on my stance on the budget and tax rates here: https://milesformaysville.com/2020/03/29/my-thoughts-on-the-proposed-effective-real-estate-tax-increase-and-school-funding-proposal/.

Here is part of my March statement on reducing the tax burden on our community:

First, I commend the County Administrator and her staff for working hard in putting together a budget that reflects the wants and needs of our county and its citizens.
Due to the reassessment of real property, the proposed budget reflects an effective real estate tax increase. This means that although the tax rate will remain at 55 cents, the increased revenue reflects the overall increase in values of property of about 10 percent. So the property values are driving the increase in what many people will pay in their taxes for their homes and real estate. This percentage may change based on appeals by landowners to the Board of Equalization. I implore and highly stress to any landowner who is unhappy with their reassessment to appeal to them.
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has rocked our reality, our economy, and the livelihoods in our Commonwealth, including Buckingham. People here have lost their  incomes and jobs and their hours have been cut, and more will lose their jobs before this virus has run its course, I predict.
Just like any other business or family, the county has to live within its means, and that essentially means having enough money in the bank to operate. We’re operating in unprecedented times and in uncharted waters and I suspect our collection rate will take a hit. With less revenue coming in, it will likely unbalance our proposed budget, which would mean cutting our budget. 
While I do not support the effective tax increase, forecasting has already shown that the approved state budget over the next two years will have to be cut by at least $2 billion dollars. That cut will trickle down and affect Buckingham County.  State legislators are already considering putting employee increases on the chopping block. Such action will be just one of many financial consequences that we may see down the line. 

Only two people sent comments regarding the proposed tax rates and the proposed budget, which greatly disappoints me when I have heard from many of my constituents who noted they are not in support of paying more taxes because of the assessment.

I am in favor of reducing the real estate tax rate to give our residents some relief as many people in the county have lost their jobs, are underemployed, and more have been directly and indirectly impacted by this situation. And the people deserve some relief, even on the local level.

We are set to meet on Monday, April 20, 2020 at 6 p.m. to adopt tax rates and the fiscal year 2020-2021 operating budget. I hope you will reach out to be before then as to how you feel about this.

Adding More Rescue Squad Coverage

Our volunteer force with the Buckingham Volunteer Rescue Squad are not running calls now because of the potential exposure to COVID-19, which means county staff and the board had to quickly explore alternative ways of keeping our community safe and secure with rescue services.

As a result, the Board of Supervisors has agreed to contract with DRT to provide 24/7 response to our county’s residents, which means adding an additional squad vehicle and a crew.

Because this us happening during COVID-19, the county will receive the cost recovery for any calls this crew responds to. The squad will be housed at the Glenmore Rescue Squad Building on Glenmore Road. The cost of this, again, which will be recovered by Federal Emergency Management Assistance (FEMA) Funds and revenue collection, is about $49,500 per month. Again, this is a temporary contract and we will get reimbursed because of this national, state, and local emergency.

Additional School Funding

I was proud to support motions offered to provide carry over funding from the 2018-2019 School Transportation Fund to the current year’s school board for the purpose of purchasing two special education vans and a special education school bus for $140,000. This is money much needed and I am proud to support our schools and staff, but more importantly, our students. In addition, I supported the motion to carry over funds to the current fiscal year of roughly $292,020 in cafeteria funds. Regarding the remainder of the carry over funds, we voted to hold a joint session with the school board to determine their priorities for capital improvements. I am looking forward to that meeting and discussion.

COVID-19 in Buckingham

Presently, of this writing, we have 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buckingham. Cody Davis, our Emergency Management Coordinator, reported Monday that the cases are spread across Buckingham, and not only concentrated in one area. Please continue to practice social distancing, wear masks when you’re out and around people, and limit all travel to essential business per the governor’s orders.

PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL ME!

I’d like to think by now that you 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 jmiles@buckinghamcounty.virginia.gov, 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.

Live Stream Video Link, Agenda and Details for Monday night BOS Meeting, COVID-19 and Other Notes

I hope this update finds you and your families healthy and staying safe as we continue to push through this COVID-19 fog we are all in together!

Namely, you can view the meeting from start to finish here on the County’s YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/IL6Kz_kzpEM.

First, here is a link to Monday night’s monthly Board of Supervisors’ meeting agenda: http://buckinghamcountyva.org/Board%20Agendas/2020/04132020.pdf. There is a lot on the agenda, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

YOU WILL SEE that the meeting is closed to the public attending in person. Thisis because of health concerns with the pandemic and keeping you and our staff and the board safe and secure.

HOWEVER, there are numerous ways you can participate in the meeting from the comfort of your cell phone, laptop, or other device. Namely, you can view the meeting from start to finish here on the County’s YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/IL6Kz_kzpEM.

Upcoming Public Hearings and How to Participate Them

Though the Board of Supervisors suspended public comment during our upcoming board meetings due to COVID-19, we are taking comment for Public Hearings. There are three Public Hearings on Monday:

  1. Public hearing on the proposed Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget
  2. Public hearing on the proposed tax rates and levies
  3. Public hearing regarding a grant application for IT equipment for the new library.

The public hearing set for the VDOT Six-Year Improvement Plan has been postponed due to state standards dealing with COVID-19.

As you know, I am not in favor of the effective tax rate increase that is being proposed. Here are more details on my stance. I would love to hear from you on this!

HOW To Participate in Public Hearings

In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, Public Hearing for Buckingham County Board of Supervisors Hearings will be received using the following methods:

  1. All correspondence must be received only by the methods below, and are due by 12:00 PM the day of the meeting.
  2. Written comments may be mailed to the Board of Supervisors at PO Box 252 Buckingham, VA 23921. Please limit word count to 500 words.
  3. Emailed comments may be sent to publiccomments@buckinghamcounty.virginia.gov. Please limit word count to 500 words.
  4. Telephone voicemail comments may be left to be played to the board by calling 434-969-5039
  5. To appear virtually to the Board of Supervisors for comments please email
    publiccomments@buckinghamcounty.virginia.gov. You will receive notice with the link and/or telephone number necessary to connect virtually during the meeting.
    Please note: Please state your name, district, address, and which hearing you are commenting on. The three (3) minute rule will apply to public comments.
  6. All correspondence must be received only by the methods above, and are due by 12:00 PM the day of the meeting.

More about what’s on our agenda

Following the public hearings, we do have some substantial ground to cover, including the following:

*Request for a Public Hearing for a Proposed Lease/Purchase of the Gold Hill School for a Prospective Business and a Proposed Incentive Package.

*Consider Scheduling a Public Hearing for the Emergency Ordinance to Allow for the Continuity of Government Operations During the Pandemic.

*Request for Reconsideration for School Carry Over of $140,000.00 from the 2018-19
Transportation Fund to the 2019-20 budget for the purpose of purchasing two special education vans
.

*Consider Request for Reconsideration for School Carry Over of $117,020.00 from 2018-19 Cafeteria Fund to the 2019-20 Cafeteria Funds.

*Consider how the Board wishes to proceed with considering the additional School Board Carry Over Request.

*Consider Official Concurrence of Contracting for an Additional DRT 24/7 Crew at the Glenmore Squad Building.

*Consider Dillwyn Fire Departments Request Regarding Putting Electricity to the Property used by the Fire Department for the Tractor Pull

More Details About COVID-19

As of 12 noon on April 9, Buckingham still has eleven (11) confirmed cases of COVID-19. We do not have any other information on these cases other than they have been confirmed positive for COVID-19.

You can find more information on the ongoing pandemic by visiting http://www.buckinghamcountyva.org/COVID19.HTML.

I implore you to practice social distancing, stay at home unless essential travel is essential, wash your hands and don’t touch your face.

Town Hall Video Link, Additional Rescue Coverage, New Format For Public Hearings, Updated COVID-19 Information, Continuity of Learning For Our Students

Here is a link to our first town hall meeting which was held on Tuesday, just in case you missed it: https://www.facebook.com/MilesforMaysville/videos/561328897823149/. Our first town hall was loaded with lots of information! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Increasing Rescue Coverage In Response to COVID-19

Buckingham County Administration’s Office of Emergency Management will be placing into service an additional staffed ambulance for the duration of the COVID-19 growth and peak pandemic phases. This ambulance will be staffed by basic life support personnel, stationed at the Glenmore Rescue Squad station, beginning Monday, April 6, 2020.  

While this additional staffing is being put into service in anticipation of an excessive call volume due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge Buckingham citizens to only call 911 for true emergencies.

Remember that the most effective means of protecting yourself and those around you are;

• Hand and surface hygiene to include washing your hands

• Social distancing (6 feet or more)

• Avoiding close contact with groups of ten or more

• Avoiding touching your face,

• Avoiding others who are sick

• Respecting Virginia’s STAY HOME ORDER

We also encourage you to remain up to date on COVID-19 information by visiting the following websites:

• VDH COVID-19 website: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus

• CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

• Contact the VDH Call Center at 1-877 ASK VDH3.

New Format For Public Hearings

The Board of Supervisors’ will hold four public hearings on Monday, April 13, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. They will regard the values of the reassessment of real property, the proposed tax rates, the proposed $57 million fiscal year 2020-2021 budget, and a USDA grant for equipment for the new library.

Additional Updates

Here are some articles from The Farmville Herald covering some of our actions.

— As you know, I am opposed to the effective tax rate increase. You can read more about my stance and full statement on the proposed tax rates and budget here: https://milesformaysville.com/2020/03/29/my-thoughts-on-the-proposed-effective-real-estate-tax-increase-and-school-funding-proposal/. *https://farmvilleherald.com/2020/04/10-effective-tax-rate-increase-proposed-for-buckingham/

— Please note that I voted against the motion to suspend all public comment during regularly-held Board meetings as the county has the means and technology to allow you to submit public comment during meetings. It is important to me that your voice be heard and part of the record of our meetings. This does not mean that public hearings are suspended. *https://farmvilleherald.com/2020/04/ordinance-passed-public-comments-suspended/

— This week, Cody Davis, our Emergency Manager for the county, offered this information during our Special Board Meeting. Please practice social distancing, stay home as much as possible, and keep your hands clean and don’t touch your face! *https://farmvilleherald.com/2020/04/buckingham-warned-of-rapid-community-spread-of-virus-within-72-hours/

Continuity of Learning For Our Students

In response to a constituent’s inquiry, please see the following from Division Superintendent Dr. Daisy Hicks regarding continuity of learning for Buckingham County Public Schools. Let me know if you have any questions.

I hope you are well. In response to your email, we are mailing distance learning packets to the students for continuity of learning during this early school closure.

We mailed out the first learning packet on Monday, March 30, and we will plan to do a second mailing around mid-April. Teachers are making contact with students/families periodically to answer any questions they may have relating to the learning packets and to just check in with their students.

Unfortunately, like many other rural area school divisions, we were unable to provide online distance learning opportunities for our students since we have limited broadband/internet access. Even though there are some families who may have access to the internet, we had to continue to consider equity during this time.

We are continuing to provide weekly meals for students by distributing meals to students at three locations throughout the county (Centenary United Methodist Church, Gold Hill Elementary School, and Buckingham Middle School) twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays from 12noon-2pm.

For those who need to register for PreSchool, PreSchool applications can be printed from our website or parents may contact us at 434-969-6100 and we will mail them an application. We are asking that the completed application and a copy of the required documents are mailed back to us. We will use this same process for Kindergarten registration.

Employees are encouraged to work from home and many of us are coming to the office at least two days a week to take care of the business that we can not do from home.

We are continuing to follow all the guidelines that we are receiving by the State Superintendent, Dr. James Lane, CDC, and the Governor. 

‘Connected in the Challenge’ by Angela Patterson-Jones

Here is a poem regarding what we all are going through by Angela Patterson-Jones, who lives in the Maysville District and is a school principal. I hope it brings you as much peace as it has brought me.

———————————————————-

Who knew that COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, could make its presence known throughout the world and nation,

And, Oh! How it has caused great disruption and devastation!

Our normal schedules basically went away,

And all we could do was adjust and pray.

Businesses closed and as a result, some peoples’ jobs were gone and people could work no more,

What a shocking thing for everyone, especially for the low income and the extremely poor!

It is hard to believe that schools have closed for the rest of the academic year,

For parents, students, teachers, and administrators, this definitely created some anxiety and fear.

Divisions worked diligently to create a plan for students while they are out of school,

So they can still get meals, learn, and do creative things that are cool.

Sometimes in life, we are met with challenges that we may not understand,

It is during these times that we can come together and unite across this great land.

For if we already had a plan, would the result be the best?

There is tremendous growth and amazing results through each of life’s most difficult tests.

During this time, we are made to really reflect on our lives and the blessings we are given each day.

We should ask ourselves, “How will I be better from this crisis, when it all goes away?”

If we really are still, listen, and observe what is happening all around us each day,

Then, we would realize that, if we stay positive, we know that everything will be okay.

There is a repositioning that is taking place before our eyes,

Things are working out more than we can realize.

The family structure is being reconnected in an amazing pace,

And, we are being given such wonderful grace.

The nation is able to see just how much work teaching is all about,

Educators are to be appreciated frequently and they deserve a big shout out!

For our children, they are able to experience some interest-based projects like never before,

For those that don’t perform well on standardized testing, this may enable their learning to soar!

Everyone is learning to look at things differently, wherever they may be,

A great plan is at work in our nation, just wait and see!

Through it all, we must remember this:

Our love and compassion for one another must continue when the devastation has ended,

We will be a much better community, state, nation, and world that is truly blended.

COVID-19 Updates and Strength in our Community

Friends and neighbors,


In case you have not heard, we now have a second confirmed case of COVID-19 in Buckingham. As you will see below, our county staff and the Virginia Department of Health are working hard to ensure your health and safety. I am sure the number of cases will grow as it will and has across the Commonwealth.


Our great and hardworking staff have assembled an excellent online great resource in how you can keep up with what and how your local government is continuing to serve you while keeping our county staff and residents safe. Also, there is a link here that will lead you to a YouTube channel where you can live stream our meetings: http://www.buckinghamcountyva.org/COVID19.HTML.
The governor today announced a stay at home order for all Virginians for non essential needs. You can read details here: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2020/march/headline-855702-en.html. I hope you will take this seriously not only for you and your family, but for those whom you could contact inadvertently.

The board will hold a special meeting will be held tomorrow at 10 a.m. regarding COVID-19. This meeting will be available virtually in the following ways: Live Stream on YouTube: https://youtu.be/sVpJ6BFKek0 and Audio Only Telephone call in: 1-877-853-5247 Meeting ID: 4623508430. I would advise you to remain home and call in and listen to our meeting or view and listen online. Staying home is important in preventing the spread of COVID. Please practice social distancing, don’t go anywhere that is non-essential, and follow CDC and medical professional’s guidelines and the orders of the governor.


My friends and neighbors, we will get through this together. We will be stronger, not only as a family and community, but as a county. It will take sacrifice and strife, but we will be a better county because of and after this.

Thomas Jordan Miles IIIDistrict Four Supervisor (Maysville)
Note change in my email: jmiles@buckinghamcounty.virginia.gov
434-390-702313170 West James Anderson HighwayPO Box 188Buckingham, Virginia 23921www.MilesforMaysville.com

My thoughts on the proposed effective real estate tax increase and school funding proposal

The Farmville Herald reached out to me Friday regarding a statement in regards to the proposed effective real estate tax rate increase in the proposed Fiscal Year 2020-2021 county operating budget. I am sharing my statement, along with additional comments on proposed school funding, with you in full should you have any questions or concerns.

First, I commend the County Administrator and her staff for working hard in putting together a budget that reflects the wants and needs of our county and its citizens.

Due to the reassessment of real property, the proposed budget reflects an effective real estate tax increase. This means that although the tax rate will remain at 55 cents, the increased revenue reflects the overall increase in values of property of about 10 percent. So the property values are driving the increase in what many people will pay in their taxes for their homes and real estate. This percentage may change based on appeals by landowners to the Board of Equalization. I implore and highly stress to any landowner who is unhappy with their reassessment to appeal to them.

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has rocked our reality, our economy, and the livelihoods in our Commonwealth, including Buckingham. People here have lost their  incomes and jobs and their hours have been cut, and more will lose their jobs before this virus has run its course, I predict.

Just like any other business or family, the county has to live within its means, and that essentially means having enough money in the bank to operate. We’re operating in unprecedented times and in uncharted waters and I suspect our collection rate will take a hit. With less revenue coming in, it will likely unbalance our proposed budget, which would mean cutting our budget. 

While I do not support the effective tax increase, forecasting has already shown that the approved state budget over the next two years will have to be cut by at least $2 billion dollars. That cut will trickle down and affect Buckingham County.  State legislators are already considering putting employee increases on the chopping block. Such action will be just one of many financial consequences that we may see down the line. 

With this being said, I encourage constituents of the Maysville District to reach out to me via phone, email,  and social media and let me know what they think, keeping in mind social distancing and minimizing physical contact. I represent them, not my own ideas, and I encourage an open dialogue about this topic.

Proposed School Funding

Regarding proposed school funding for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021, the board, and myself, voted to advertise level funding to the school division. As I said earlier, I want to hear from you on the proposed school funding that is being proposed.

The school board is requesting an additional $80,000 in instruction. I am actively seeking clarification as to the purpose of the additional funding from school board staff so I can make an educated and informed decision on behalf of the taxpayers and voters in the Maysville District. I also have outstanding questions that I would like more information on. I am dedicated to supporting our public schools and our teachers, staff, administrators, and, most importantly, our students, but I am also dedicated to fiscal accountability and responsibility in order to keep our taxes low and fiscal burden on our residents at a minimum.

As always, you can email me at jmiles@buckinghamcounty.virginia.gov, or call/text me at 434-390-7023. I encourage and hope you will reach out and call or email me.

Board adopts responses, policies to combat COVID-19

First, I’d like to offer my thanks to County Administrator Rebecca Carter, Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Davis, and the entire staff in our County Administration for the hard, around-the-clock work they have been doing in response to COVID-19, protecting our staff and citizens. They truly deserve a big hand and tip of the hat, and please know they and we are working hard to protect our staff and citizens.

Please sign up for emergency alerts from the county here: https://member.everbridge.net/892807736725627/login, or call Cody Davis at 434-969-4242. This is a great resource during these unprecedented times.

Tonight, along with discussing the proposed fiscal year budget (which will be addressed in the coming days), the Board of Supervisors voted to do the following:

  • Confirm a Declaration of Emergency for Buckingham County.
  • Change the deadline to purchase county decals from April 15 to April 30.
  • Enact new protocol and policies to limit face to face and physical interaction with the public and staff, including closing the offices in the County Administration Complex and adding a telephone to the entrance to the county building with department telephone numbers and extensions. Staff will remain in the building and in their respective departments to assist you via phone, mail and email.
  • Encourage use of the drop box for bill payment. This secure box is in front of the County Administration Complex.
  • We are encouraging online activity (i.e. bills) and telephone communication between the public and departments, including county staff mailing documents to citizens if need be.
  • Working to forgive fees for payments on ATM, Debit, and Credit Cards and encouraging online payment of fees and bills until April 30th. You can make online payments here: https://pay.paygov.us/EndUser/LocationCode.aspx.
  • Not cut off water and sewer for non payment from customers for 60 days.
  • Suspend the rules and bylaws of the Board to allow for greater flexibility and access. Please know this is an evolving process in response to an unprecedented public health crisis. This allows us to make some changes to how the board operates, including live-streaming our meetings, and establishing a committed telephone service and email to submit public comment in a manner to urge public not to attend our meetings unless directly involved in a matter before the board. Those submitted communications would be made part of the record.

Note that the Board of Supervisors is planning on holding all scheduled public meetings and meetings remain open to the public, though the board encourages those who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has symptoms of the virus to not attend board meetings. Also take heed of any state or federal measures, including the governor’s limit on no more than 10 people in certain public places.

If you have any questions about any of this, or need clarification, please don’t hesitate to contact county staff, or email, call or text me at 434-390-7023 or email me at jmiles@buckinghamcounty.virginia.gov.

Lastly, my friends, please know that we will get through this together. And we are all in this together. This too shall pass. Believe in your fellow man and woman, our God and Savior, and always have hope. The darkest of night is always right before the dawn breaks.

UPDATED: March BOS Meeting, COVID-19 Updates, Six Year Road Plan, Growing Our Economy, Route 60 Study, and Budget Meetings and Taxes

We had a very productive March 9, 2020 Board of Supervisors’ meeting. Below are some of the highlights. If you need more information about a topic, please contact me.

Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC), and Economic Development Administration (EDA) Representative Lauren Stuldreher, as part of her visit to see Planning District 14 in tandem with our Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Review (CEDS), met in Buckingham with County Administrator Rebecca Carter, CRC Executive Director Melody Foster, and Zoning and Planning Director/Community and Economic Developer Nicci Edmondston.
  • Regarding the VDOT Six Year Improvement Plan, we proposed preliminary adding Avon Road, Pembleton Road, Old Fort Road, Hill Top Road and Plantation Road to the plan for surface treatment. Hunters Road and Red Road (the second half, last mile closest to Route 60) are currently on the plan and will remain as these projects have been allocated funding. The Board will meet again next month to sort out which roads from our respective districts we will add. If you have any suggestions as to road improvements and issues in District Four, please contact me.
  • As noted last night, back in February, county staff, myself, representing Buckingham on the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC), and Economic Development Administration (EDA) Representative Lauren Stuldreher, as part of her visit to see Planning District 14 in tandem with our Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Review (CEDS), met in Buckingham. This approval of the CEDS, which I predict will occur in the coming weeks, will be a huge step forward for Buckingham and CRC members. In addition, a CEDS is a prerequisite for designation by EDA as an Economic Development District (EDD), which will allow us access to millions of dollars in money for economic development, infrastructure, small business development, innovation and entrepreneurship, workforce development, etc. 
  • UPDATE: As you are aware, COVID-19 (Corona Virus) is spreading across the state and has been across the U.S. and worldwide. There’s a great deal of concern and alarm about this virus, but I’d offer that the best thing we can do (to avoid this AND the flu and other illnesses) is wash our hands, avoid large crowds, and limit contact with those who are ill or have medical issues. Today county staff put issued a notification email, text and call regarding COVID-19 and resources to empower our citizens to stay well. Please know our county staff are working with numerous agencies, namely the Virginia Department of Health, to ensure our safety and security. You can find more information about the state’s response, including the closure of Virginia’s public schools for two weeks, at www.buckinghamcountyva.org.
  • UPDATE: The Planning Commission Meeting has been canceled for March 16th.
UPDATE: THIS HAS BEEN CANCELLED: VDOT is holding a Citizen Information Meeting on Thursday, March 26 from 5-7 p.m. at the Ag Center on Route 60 regarding draft recommendations for potential corridor improvements along Route 60 through Buckingham and other counties. If you have interest in this, please plan on attending!
  • The Board of Supervisors is entering the budget season for Fiscal Year 2020-2021. As you know, much of what we do hinges on the actions of the General Assembly and their biennial budget, which will be voted on Thursday. I have been following this very closely, and there are many advantages and disadvantages to what the Governor, House of Delegates, and Senate are proposing. I will continue to update you on this. The Board will meet with the School Board on March 18 at 5 p.m. in the county administration complex, which will be followed by our budget work session at 6 p.m. I encourage you to attend if you have interest in how your money (tax dollars) are being spent! As I said during the campaign, I am committed to keeping our tax rates low and growing our tax base with new businesses while keeping an eye on ALL expenditures.
  • We had a handful of speakers during public comment, some of whom spoke about their opposition to the proposed ACP, support for Second Amendment Rights, and their disapproval of actions of the Virginia Legislature. If you ever wish to speak before the Board of Supervisors, please arrive to the meeting at least 5-7 minutes before 6 p.m. to sign up for comment in the lobby. I encourage public comment during our meetings.
  • Ashley Shumaker was appointed to the Planning Commission to Represent District 2.
  • We approved the release (which was already budgeted) of $50,000 to the Buckingham Volunteer Rescue Squad. This allocation was review was recommended by the Rescue Squad Committee, which includes county supervisors.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns or comments, please do not hesitate to call me or text me at 434-390-7023, email me at jmiles@buckinghamcounty.virginia.gov, or stop by and visit me. I’d love to hear from you.

CVEC Broadband is on the way, upcoming March BOS meeting agenda, and other items

We’re headed out of what seems to be an easy winter and a fast spring in Buckingham, and your Buckingham Board of Supervisors has a busy agenda coming up for our 6 p.m. meeting on Monday, March 9, 2020 in the Peter Francisco Auditorium at the County Administration Complex. I hope you can attend!

Before the 6 p.m. meeting, the Board will meet with VDOT at 5 p.m. to consider amending our Six Year Improvement Plan for state roads. I have many unpaved roads, including Red Road, Avon Road, Hunters Road, Knights View Lane, and others I plan on addressing with VDOT. If you have any road concerns, please contact me.

Here is a link to the full Board Agenda and Packet: http://buckinghamcountyva.org/Board%20Packets/2020/march%209%202020%20bos.pdf. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Items for consideration or action include a presentation to the family of the late Sallie Atkinson Mowbray, a special use permit for a commercial garage and sale of ag-related equipment on Meadow Creek Road, road matters (see above), an update on the fire department’s tractor pull plans for this year, a budget request from Piedmont Senior Resources, consideration of releasing funding for the Buckingham County Rescue Squad, and an update from our Noise Ordinance Committee.

I am happy to speak with you before the meeting about any agenda items.

Talking with and learning about our most important asset…our young people

It was great being with the children at the Buckingham Pre-School on Friday, along with those at other schools across the county.

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to tour the Primary and Elementary School, the Middle School and the Pre-School in Buckingham. Learning about the needs and successes of our public schools is so important, especially as we enter the season of the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget.

I am an ardent supporter of our public schools here in rural Virginia, with a focus on being financially prudent and responsible with an emphasis on keeping our taxes low.

Members of the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors, County Administrator Rebecca S. Carter, Zoning and Planning and Community Development Planner Nicci Edmontondston, Assistant County Administrator Karl Carter, and CVEC Director Dr. Brian Bates celebrate the broadband announcement on Friday.

CVEC is expanding rural broadband in Buckingham and Central Virginia

In case you missed the big news, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative is expanding broadband internet in Buckingham and many other counties with using a $28 million USDA ReConnect Grant. Buckingham will see the first signs of expansion under this program.

This is great news for all of us here in Buckingham County and for CVEC’s customers and I am proud to support this great effort in getting high speed fiber optic broadband, not only to the Maysville District, but across Buckingham. This infrastructure will surely lead to more businesses locating here, more students able to complete research and do their homework more efficiently, more teleworking, and more growth overall in our county.

We are so grateful to CVEC, the USDA, our county staff, and everyone else who has worked so long and hard for this great milestone!

Read more here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/central-virginia-electric-cooperative/central-virginia-electric-cooperative-receives-28-million-reconnect-award-from-u/10158108115633899/.

Progress at Sewer Expansion at Sprouse’s Corner at Routes 15 and 60

Work is progressing very well at Sprouse’s Corner with the expansion and installation of sewer capacity for the four corners at that Route 15 and Route 60 intersection.

This will bring more businesses and industry to this vital intersection in our community and Buckingham.

Before sewer was expanded at the intersection of Routes 20 and 15, there was little to no business and industry. Since sewer was installed there, we have seen Food Lion, Lucky’s, Farmer’s Bank, McDonald’s, and many other small and local businesses open up shop. I am confident the same will happen at Sprouse’s Corner once our project is complete!

Contact me!

Should you have any questions, concerns, comments or would like to discuss more, please do not hesitate to contact me at 434-390-7023 (call/text), email me at jmiles@buckinghamcounty.virginia.gov, or stop by my house on Route 60.

Board of Equalization meeting dates, connecting more with broadband, Route 60, CRC work, and more updates

Months ago, it came to my attention that many landowners and homeowners in the Maysville District/District Four were concerned about their “Notice of 2020 Real Estate Assessment Change” from the County Reassessment Office, notably the increases in assessed values.

If you, as a taxpayer and homeowner or landowner, take issue with the assessment increase or decrease — I cannot stress this point enough — it is of the utmost importance for you to follow and understand the process by which you can appeal the assessment value.

The quick and short of it is that your values ARE NOT set in stone yet. Once the reassessment is completed, the values set by the assessors become the values used for taxing, subject to such changes can be made. You may appeal your assessment in writing or through a hearing with the Board of Equalization. The goal is of the assessment to maintain accuracy and consistency and to reflect current real estate market conditions.

According the Code of Virginia, the Board of Supervisors has no legal concern with the reassessment procedure. After the conclusion of the reassessment process, and during the 2020-2021 fiscal year budget cycle process, the Board of Supervisors will exercise its duty to set the tax rates for real estate, personal property, etc. for the fiscal year budget, and the real estate tax rate is contingent on the values set by the assessors.

This is the schedule of the Board of Equalization.

If you have questions or concerns about your assessment, you should contact the Commissioner of the Revenue at 434-969-4972 or visit http://www.buckinghamcountyva.org/commissioner.html.

Click here to learn more information on understanding real estate assessment values and the process. Also, you can refer to the Code of Virginia for more information at https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title58.1/chapter32.

Working hard for Broadband and high speed internet

Buckingham County has partnered with the Center for Innovative Technology’s Virginia Commonwealth Connect Broadband Team to work toward having more residents connected to high speed internet. This is a step in the right direction and one that I campaigned on and advocated for, toward empowering more residents, school children, and business owners to have the access they need to internet that will allow them to study and research, do business and sell products, and connect with each other.

In addition, Buckingham County has joined forces with the Virginia Local Broadband Network. This initiative is intended to serve as a platform for local broadband leaders to communicate, share strategies, and work with the Governor’s broadband team directly. I thank county staff for their hard work in pursuing these options.

I very much enjoyed meeting with representatives of the St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary during the Buckingham Chamber of Commerce meeting this week.

CRC Project Updates

I am very proud to represent Buckingham County on the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) as a voting member of the council and its treasurer. We met Wednesday morning in Farmville to discuss project updates, planning activities, grant applications, and other regional matters.

The CRC provides a variety of technical and program services to member local governments. They include grant application assistance, management services for program implementation, development/update of Comprehensive Plans, transportation planning, and land mapping and Geographic Information System (GIS) services.   

With the CRC’s direct assistance, the Town of Dillwyn is under contract with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for an awarded grant for a housing rehabilitation project. The two remaining homes as part of this grant funded project, will be put to bid once all inspections and ownership has been resolved. Also, as part of Dillwyn’s Phase IV Extended/Phase V of its VDOT funded Streetscape Project, once cost estimates have been worked out, the revised work plans and cost estimate will be submitted to VDOT for approval to advertise the project.

Route 60 Closure

I’d like to give a big hand, thank and commend Central Virginia Maintenance and Pipeline Services, Transco Pipeline, VDOT, our local and state law enforcement, and others involved in getting the pipeline that crosses Route 60 at Whispering Creek completed so soon this month. Despite heavy rain, crews worked around the clock, literally 24 hours a day, to get the job done and on time! Many thanks to them for their hard work.

Census Information

Survey regarding small business spaces

Attention all small business owners, freelancers, entrepreneurs, remote workers, craftspeople, and creatives. Mid-Atlantic Broadband and GoVirginia need community input on proposed innovative office space in Southern Virginia.  Those who take the survey have the option to remain anonymous or to be entered to win a $50 Visa gift card. The survey is available exclusively online at www.investsova.com/survey.  This study is designed to gauge whether or not there is a need for additional coworking and makerspaces, the spaces’ desired offerings, and also the amount people would be willing to pay as a member or occasional user of such a space.  This region-wide study of market demand for coworking and makerspaces is being conducted by The Institute for Service Research, a full service market research and economic modeling firm with extensive experience in Southern Virginia. The study is part of a larger innovation and entrepreneurship strategy being developed by Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) and Longwood University supported by funding by GO Virginia Region 3.  MBC and Longwood are urging people who plan to relocate or who currently work or live in the Southern Virginia Tobacco Region to complete the survey. The region includes Buckingham County. 

February 10, 2020 Board Meeting Summary and Updates

We had a long but very productive Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020! We heard from many, many people, and took actions to continue to promote business growth and better protect the citizens of our county. Below is a summary of actions we took. If you want more information from the full board agenda, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

It was great chatting recently with our State Delegate, Del. Matt Fariss, regarding issues of local and state importance.
  • I offered the motion, which passed unanimously, to appoint myself, District Three Supervisor Don Matthews, key county staff, Ron Hudgins (representing Kyanite), and businessmen and woman Sandra Moss, Keith Steger, Pete Kapuscinski, and Gary Cline to the newly-appointed Buckingham Business Development Committee. Zoning and Planning Administrator and Community Development Director Nicci Edmondston will serve as chairman of this facility. I am very proud of this initiative that Supervisor Matthews and I have been working on over the past several weeks. As I said Monday night, in Buckingham, though we face challenges like any other rural Virginia locality, we have lots to be excited for, and that is our upcoming review and rewrite of the Comprehensive Plan, which guides our future and details what we want the county to look like; the great potential of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, especially with regards to the gas tap; and the new position that Nicci Edmondston is filling in terms of her role in growing our economic development.
  • We graciously accepted another $200,000 donation from CAT Action Team to go toward efforts to improve our current Animal Control Facility.
  • Katie Lewis, who lives on Knights View Lane in the subdivision between the high school and middle school off of High School Road, proposed that the county take in the private road into the VDOT State Roadway System. VDOT will review this and report back.
  • My motion to adopt a resolution in honor and memory of the late Sallie Atkinson Mowbray passed unanimously.
  • The board unanimously adopted a motion I offered to allow the Sheriff’s Office to use a small portion of the former Love Landfill off of Andersonville Road for the purposes of a Shooting Range for only law enforcement officers. See details on the proposal on page 69 here. I visited all 20-plus homes that would be closest to the proposed shooting range along Andersonville Road, and an overwhelming majority were supportive of the Shooting Range, but some were concerned about noise. We did not vote on any funding or funding mechanisms, but only to allow permission to use the property (county owned) for this purpose. See below for answers to questions you all who I visited over the weekend posed.

I would like to thank you for the support you are giving to the Sheriff’s Office and the time you’ve taking to speak with the citizens along Andersonville Rd. This email is to address your concerns about the proposed firing range. 

The noise issue will be dampened greatly by the 12’ feet tall berms and the trees surrounding the range. The closest residence to the range is 718 yards away. At that distance, only a faint “pop” will be heard from each round fired. No training at the proposed range will violate the county noise ordinance. Aside from building an indoor shooting range, the design of the range is the best we can do to eliminate as much noise as possible. As for notifying the residents surrounding the range when is in use. The standard operating procedure is to place a red flag and signage indicating “Range In Use” at the front entrance to the landfill on Andersonville Rd.  

All Sheriff’s Deputies are issued a pistol (40 cal.), patrol rifle (223 cal.) and a shotgun (12 Ga). As directed by DCJS, each Deputy most qualify with all three firearms. Firearms qualification will take place 4 times a year that will also include night time qualification. However, specialized firearms training will be conducted as well. This type of training will include training with other Law Enforcement Agencies such as Virginia State Police and Conservation Police as well as Animal Control Officers. Other types of range use will consist of test firing firearms that have been repaired prior to re-issue and required firearms re-qualification once a Deputy has returned to duty after an injury. Also testing of new firearms and ammunition. In the event a new Deputy is hired, that Deputy will have to qualify with all three firearms prior to duty assignment or prior to attending the Police training academy. 

Unless things change in the future, only Law Enforcement and Animal Control Officers will be training on the range and a DCJS certified firearms instructor will be on site during all range use. According to EPA guidelines, no vapor barrier is needed unless we decide to construct a permanent structure that will be inhabited by humans. 

As to lead deposits at the range, the EPA does not consider lead discharged into dirt berms as hazardous waste until the range is no longer in use and the lead is not cleaned up. A lead abatement process needs to be in place in the event the range is shut down for whatever reason. The EPA has addressed this issue in the Best Management Practices guidelines. This abatement can be handled in a few different ways. First, a lead abatement company can be hired to separate the lead from the soil. Once cleaned up the soil will be redeposited on the berms and the lead sold to a recycling center. Average cost for an abatement company is upwards of $30,000 for berms containing at least 1 million rounds of ammunition. At the current staff of the Sheriff’s Office, it would take approximately 20 years before the agency would fire a million rounds into the soil. Second option is to rent a shakerscreener on an 8 to 10 year interval and use county employees as well as county equipment to recover the lead and redeposit the soil. This will  allow for the county to sell the lead to a recycle center. Rental costs for the shaker varies. Third option is to purchase our own shaker and use county equipment and manpower to clean the berms as needed. The cost of a shaker the size we would need is approximately $12,000.

  • The board approved Stephanie Rainey Roach, a realtor and former construction business owner, to serve on the Board of Zoning Appeals, representing the Maysville District. I am proud to have nominated her.
  • The board made additional appointments to our Ad Hoc Noise Ordinance Committee, which include Supervisor Joe Chambers and Supervisor Donnie Bryan, the sheriff, citizen Eddie Slagle, and other county staff. We have heard from you on this subject and are taking action.
  • During discussion on inviting the School Board to a joint meeting at 5 p.m. on March 18, 2020, I noted that I would like school officials, not only to bring budgetary plans and narratives, but also to offer the Board of Supervisors insight into their past and foretasted division enrollment of students, along with efforts for all schools to reach full accreditation. I think these factors are crucial and vital when planning ahead for the future and budgeting. I am very much-pro education and I think public education is the great equalizer, and I want to see the successes of our schools and how they can be aided as well. I look forward to a robust conversation with the school board in March.

  • During the VDOT portion of the meeting, I brought up the following road issues:

Median sign down on 15 head north at Sprouse’s Corner

Walton’s bridge status on 602

Red Road project (the other half of the roadway will have to come from Rural Rustic funds, which I plan on putting forth for consideration in the Six Year Improvement Plan).

Rough patches and pot holes on Spencer road at Ranson Road and at bridge on Spencer road 

Width of bridge over Rosney Creek. VDOT says the bridge was built to VDOT Specs.

  • Ten people spoke during the public comment period. Topics included our Second Amendment Rights, which I support, the solid waste facilities, the new library, litter and junk cars, and the Colonial Pipeline improvement project that is resulting in the detour this week.

Other items

CTE & Electives Open House –Buckingham County High School is having a CTE and Electives Open House for 8th graders and their parents on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, from 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM. Click on the Read More link for details.

Buckingham Preschool Registration — Buckingham Preschool is holding its registration on Friday, March 13, 2020, and Friday, March 20, 2020. For times and additional requirements, please click on the Read More link.