By Staff Reports
The picture of reversion is becoming clearer as the Henry County Board of Supervisors and the Martinsville City Council both approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) during a joint meeting held at the New College Institute on May 26.
City council unanimously approved the MOU, while the vote was split 4-2 for the county.
Vice Chairman Debra Buchanan, of the Horsepasture District, and Joe Bryant, of the Collinsville District, voted against the motion.
The MOU will serve as a framework moving forward with more details to be released at a future date. The following is what we know for now:
For the purposes of the MOU, the term “at cost” will refer to out-of-pocket costs, such as insurance, maintenance, and utilities. Rent is not included for “at cost” expenses. Pro rata payments for any capital expenses may be applied for any long-term maintenance costs.
*The city’s constitutional officers will cease to exist upon reversion. The duties of the Treasurer, Commissioner of Revenue, Elections and Registrar, Jail and Corrections, Commonwealth’s Attorney, and all court systems will be absorbed by the county.
Office space occupied by the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the city will be offered to the county at cost. The county will be responsible for providing security for the office. Personal property of the Treasurer and Commissioner of Revenue will be retained by the city, except for personal property of the accessor. All of the other office space for the constitutional officers will remain titled to the city. Should the county need the space, it will be offered at cost.
The Town of Martinsville will no longer offer court services but will retain the facilities. The county will have the option to continue to use the General District Court space, along with the clerk space, at cost until the consolidation is completed. The county will be responsible for providing security for the court.
The sheriff’s office, jail, annex and prison farm will be offered to the county for use at cost. Sheriffs for the two localities will be responsible for figuring out the details of the transition, including work release.
*The city will no longer participate in the Department of Social Services or the local Department of Health upon reversion. Martinsville will continue to contribute and participate in the governing bodies of the Blue Ridge Regional Library, Economic Development Corp., Regional Airport Authority and the 9-1-1 Operations Center.
*Amendments were made to the revenue sharing agreements between the city and the county. The Bryant property will be removed from the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre agreement. Two adjustments were made to the Patriot’s Centre Industrial Park agreement. The Martinsville Industrial Park will now be included in the agreement, and Martinsville will now receive revenue earlier, to the date of reversion. Revenue will continue to be split between the two localities, with Henry County receiving two-thirds of the revenue and Martinsville receiving the other third.
*The Martinsville school system will be absorbed by the Henry County school system. Druid Hills Elementary School, Patrick Henry Elementary School, Clearview Early Learning Center, and the original old gym will be retained by Martinsville. Druid Hills will either be used as a veteran’s service center or for some other taxable purpose. The other two schools will be used for redevelopment plans. Martinsville High School, Martinsville Middle School and Albert Harris Elementary School will be transferred to the county. The auditorium at the high school will continue to be available for community use. Besides the auditorium, the Henry County School Board will have the sole responsibility of determining the use of the buildings that transfer to the county.
*The Town of Martinsville will continue to provide the same urban services as when it was a city.
*The Town of Martinsville will be responsible for all current debt, including debt on property transferred to the county, such as Martinsville High School. Additionally, the city agrees not to incur any additional debt on any of the property being conveyed to the county.
*The Commission on Local Government will make a recommendation for the effective date of reversion, which will be reviewed by the three-judge panel.
*Martinsville agreed to extend the moratorium on annexation to 10 years from the effective date of reversion instead of the two years required by statute. The extension is contingent upon continued retention of the Henry County Public Service Authority as a customer.
*The Board of Supervisors will have the full authority to establish voting districts and set the number of seats on the Board of Supervisors and school board, with at least one seat from entirely within the town limits.