"Without support and funding from Harvest, we would be unable to develop, promote and sustain initiatives to address health issues and work toward a healthier future for Martinsville and Henry County. "
- Barbara Jackman, Executive Director - MHC Coalition for Health and Wellness
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Funding request OK'd

June 29, 2011

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

The Henry County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved seeking funds for a grading project aimed at helping attract companies and jobs.

The board approved a request from Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC), to write a letter in support of an application for a $700,000 grant from the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

Heath said the funds will be used to grade Lot 2, a more than 25-acre tract and the largest nonrail pad remaining in the Patriot Centre industrial park.

The grading is estimated to cost $950,000, Heath said.

The board also approved splitting the $250,000 local match required for the project, with the EDC and the county each contributing $125,000 if the grant is approved.

“We have no guarantee that it will be approved, but I think it will meet” the tobacco commission’s criteria, Heath said.

In an update, Heath also told supervisors the EDC is working with a total of 21 projects, including 14 in the inquiry stage (companies that have not visited the area) and seven in the active stage (companies that have visited the area).

Also at their 3 p.m. meeting Tuesday, supervisors:

• Approved a request from Dale Wagoner, director of Henry County Public Safety, to request a variance from the state office of emergency medical services to extend the test/training time for Seth Helms, a long-time member of the Fieldale-Collinsville Rescue Squad. The 30-day extension was needed because Helms has been in the Army.

• Awarded a $31,054 contract to Rodney Wood Construction, low bidder on a project to rehabilitate a home on Fairy Stone Park Highway in the South Street Neighborhood Improvement Project.

The South Street Housing Rehab Board approved the project June 23.

• Heard from representatives of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Blue Ridge, who thanked the board for supporting the organization.

• Heard comments from the Rev. Tyler Millner, pastor of Morning Star Holy Church. He asked for an explanation of why the county did not support the funds to conduct/update a feasibility study as well as the economic benefits of a consolidated school system. Millner also suggested the board create a community summit group to study job creation and help further economic development by working with faith-based groups as well as economic developers and other officials.

He also asked supervisors to consider creating or co-creating a summer jobs program for students. He also asked them to tap the potential and resources of the 200 African-American churches and congregations in Martinsville and Henry County and explore ways the faith-based community can help address community issues.

The board did not respond to Millner’s comments.

• Approved using a total of $81,587 remaining in the contingency fund at the end of fiscal 2011 for certain projects, including a $7,000 contribution to each volunteer rescue squad and the EMS supplemental (staff) program and using the remaining $39,587 for unsafe structure demolition. Those funds will be equally distributed among the six county magisterial districts.

• Awarded a $21,400 contract to Shively Electric to replace lights at the Jaycee Park tennis courts.

• Approved a $121,081 transfer appropriation for the Henry County School Board from the facility category to the debt service category from funds left over from the Magna Vista High School roof project, which was funded by Recovery Zone Economic Development Bond funds.

• Approved a resolution to opt out of “line of duty” insurance coverage through the Virginia Retirement System Line of Duty Program.

The 2011 General Assembly shifted the obligation for paying “Line of Duty” benefits for sheriff’s deputies, paid public safety personnel and volunteers from the commonwealth to the locality, effective July 1, 2011. The board previously approved a resolution to enter into an agreement and join the Virginia Association of Counties’ Group Self-Insurance Risk Pool for coverage of these benefits for the next 12 months at a cost of $46,200.

• Heard an update from county Treasurer Scott Grindstaff on delinquent tax collection efforts.

As of May 31, the county had collected nearly 96 percent of 2010 personal property taxes and nearly collected 93 percent of 2010 real estate taxes.

• Approved multiple transfer appropriations for the school board totaling $1,105,000 to help finish several projects.

Funds were transferred from the instruction, administrative/attendance and health, operations and maintenance, and contingency categories to the transportation and facility categories and are earmarked to buy nine 65-passenger buses and one 24-passenger bus; complete the installation of access controls at all schools; complete lighting upgrades at Magna Vista in conjunction with the HVAC upgrade; and replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in the Laurel Park Middle School auditorium.

• Approved transferring $4,000 from the building inspection salary and wages cost center of the Planning, Zoning and Inspection budget to the street signs and expenses cost center to buy additional supplies for making street signs.

• Approved requests from Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry for an $8,000 additional appropriation from insurance payments for repairs to some patrol cars and an additional $650 appropriation into the police supplies line item. The funds are from reimbursements of towing expenses incurred by the sheriff’s office while processing evidence.

• Met in closed session to consider appointees to the Parks and Recreation Board, Roanoke River Basin Association and Southern Area Agency on Aging Board; and to consult with the county attorney on pending legal matters, the acquisition/disposal of real estate and unannounced industries.

After the closed session, the board reappointed Mervin Brown Jr. to the Parks and Recreation Board and appointed Mark Ivey Jr. to a three-year term, beginning July 1, to the Southern Area Agency on Aging.

Vice Chairman H.G. Vaughn did not attend the meeting.




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