- Members of the BoS to be included in county health insurance plan;
- Borrowing for new school delayed;
- BoS adopts resolution in opposition to “biosolids” application in NKC;
- Next’s year’s taxes and fees presented; no citizens testified;
All NKC Supervisors were present in person. The meeting was live-streamed via Facebook, with up to 40 people watching at any given time.
There were no citizens’ comments, and the VDOT Residency Administrator’s report was provided to the BoS in written form.
Board Member Health Insurance
The state allows members of the BoS to receive the same benefits as county employees; the BoS used to get health insurance coverage, but decided in 2004 to stop receiving the benefit. The cost to the county to provide health insurance to the BoS would range between $42,900 and $71,700 depending on the coverage they select. After a short discussion, during which it was clarified that participation by any individual supervisor would be voluntary, the resolution was approved with only John Lockwood voting “no.”
Borrowing for New Elementary School
Ted Cole of Davenport summarized the current options for borrowing $37 million for the new school, including seeking our own stand-alone bonds from a bank or joining the state’s pool. There is a deadline this Wednesday for the pool, but no deadline for stand-alone financing
County administrator Rodney Hathaway offered that the construction contract states that construction needs to begin June 1 in order to meet the schedule.
School Superintendent Brian Nichols put in a plea for the new school, gave facts and figures supporting the need and explained that there would be a cost to any delay.
BoS chair Patricia Paige, citing uncertainties in the current and future situation, said it would be prudent to defer this issue until a later date.
No action was taken.
Biosolids Application Permit
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is considering renewal of a permit to apply biosolids and waste water treatment sludge to a 200-acre farm in Mr. Evelyn’s district in NKC. The county is considering a resolution opposing the renewal of the permit.
Thomas Evelyn expressed his opposition to the resolution.
John Lockwood said reports have found biowaste to be a potential threat to our drinking water that should be taken seriously.
The resolution opposing the renewal of the permit was approved with only Mr. Evelyn voting “no.” The county administrator will send notice to DEQ. It is DEQ who will make the decision on the renewal.
Pine Fork Park Refinancing
Ted Cole of Davenport reminded the BoS of the terms of an offer to refinance the $3.2 million bond held by BB and T bank for the construction of Pine Fork Park. There will be $66,00 in fees that will be wrapped into the loan balance; the refinancing will result in $11,000 annual savings to NKC in debt service. The BoS voted unanimously to go ahead with the refinancing.
Suspension of AFD Application Processing
Mr. Hathaway presented a proposal to suspend the processing of Agricultural and Forestal District (AFD) applications; They take up a lot of the staff’s time and the pandemic is likely to result in considerably reduced revenue for the county. There would be a 0ne-year hold on new AFD properties; current AFD’s would not be affected. The BoS approved the proposal unanimously.
Proposed Tax Rates and Fees
Mr. Hathaway presented the currently proposed tax rates and fees for the coming year. The real estate tax rate is proposed at 0.82%, which would constitute a six-cent increase from the equalized rate of 0.76%; however the staff is looking to cut this rate. The Bottoms Bridge ad valorem tax is slated to decrease from 0.15 to 0.13, a 13% decrease.
No one signed up to testify in the hearing about the tax rates or fees, but Bill Francavilla sent written comments asking the BoS to consider the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and to lower the rates as much as possible.
No action to be taken until the May 27, 2020 work session.
John Lockwood announced that the Proclaiming Grace Outreach (PGO) is still operating and accepting donations.
Patricia Paige announced that the NKC Department of Social Services (DSS) is operating “full speed ahead” and has 19 volunteers to help those in need with shopping and light yard work; they have received only 4 requests for such help so far.
Ms. Paige also thanked Colonial Downs / Rosies for providing 20,000 free meals to essential employees in Virginia, including public health employees, first responders and those working to serve the community during the coronavirus outbreak.
The meeting was continued until 9 am on Friday April 17 for further discussion of the budget.
Official Delay of School Borrowing
At the continuation of the meeting, Thomas Evelyn officially moved to defer action on the borrowing for the new school. His motion states that
“The proposed deferment is due to the fragile state of our current economy due to the Coronavirus, unpredictable interest rates for long-term borrowings, and the participation requirements of the program.” He further moved that “the Board of Supervisors consider participating in the Virginia Public School Authority financing pool program during the fall application cycle or bank financing within the next six months. The New Kent County Board of Supervisors recognizes the need for the construction of a new elementary school, and that providing high quality education to students within our community is a priority. We will continue to work with the School Board over the next six months to make the best decision for the residents of this County.”
The motion passed with only Mr. Tiller voting no.
After further discussion of the budget, the April 29 work session was cancelled and the meeting was adjourned.
Prepared by Charles Karow
NKC Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda: (http://va-newkentcounty.civicplus.com/625/NovusAgenda).
Meeting Schedule: The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, May 11, 2020 and the
next work session at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 *Cancelled*, both in the Boardroom of the County Administration Building.