County adopts amended budget calendar

By Brandon Martin

The Henry County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to adopt an amended budget calendar during an April 28 meeting.

County Administrator Tim Hall said that he had originally planned to have a work session scheduled on May 7, but that he was also open to the board members submitting comments through email as well, which will assist in county efforts to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Chairman Jim Adams, of the Blackberry District, polled the rest of the board to see if they would be open to amending the calendar and removing the scheduled work session.

“I don’t recall a work session that lasted over 20 minutes anyway,” he said.

Ryan Zehr, supervisor of the Ridgeway District, said that he would support the change.“I’m fine with sending them to Mr. Hall prior to, and just doing away with the budget work session,” he added.

Similarly, Debra Buchanan, vice chairman and of the Horsepasture District, said that the May 7 meeting was unnecessary.

“We pretty much know what the budget is going to be,” she said. “It’s going to be flat for right now and any comments that we will send (Hall), he can address them.”

In addition to the removal of the work session, a public hearing has also been scheduled. Hall said that the county would begin advertising the public hearing on May 10 with plans to have the actual meeting on May 18 at 7 p.m.

Unlike most public hearings, the general public will not be able to physically voice concerns during the meeting. Instead, Hall said that his staff has developed two ways for residents to submit comments to be read aloud during the May 18 meeting.

Those interested in providing comments can submit them through email at budget2020@co.henry.va.us or call (276) 634-4699.

According to Hall, the only people with access to that phone line will be himself and the Deputy County Administrator Dale Wagoner.

“It’s not ideal and I don’t ever want to do it again,” Hall said. “We think unless things have returned to normal by then, this is the best way to approach it.”

Additionally, Hall gave updates on the county and COVID-19. So far, he said the county has halted any discretionary spending, travel, and implemented a hiring freeze unless the position is essential, like law enforcement or public safety.

Hall also said that he doesn’t plan on entertaining any furloughs or layoffs to his staff who he said is adjusting to working from home really well.

“Whatever you give them, they adapt and make it work,” he said, adding that morale is high among his team.

In other matters, the board:

*Awarded the sole-source contract for $135,000 to Allied Protective Glazing, LLC, for materials and supplies needed in the construction of the Henry County Adult Detention Center.

*Approved the additional appropriation of Fire Program Funds in the amount of $194,524 and authorized the disbursement of the funds to Horsepasture Fire Department for the purchase of a new tanker-style fire truck from Fouts Brothers, Inc.

*Awarded a contract in the amount of $20,000 to Dragonfly Consulting, LLC, for work as the county’s legislative liaison from July 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021.

The firm will provide services like testifying before the General Assembly on behalf of the county, assisting in monitoring the state budget impacts to Henry County, and assisting in the development and presentation of the county’s annual Legislative Program.

*Awarded a contract to Summit Design and Engineering Services, PLLC in the amount of $45,000 for the Fieldale Recreation Center Feasibility Study.

*Awarded a contract to Thomas P. Miller and Associates in the amount of $30,000.00 to develop a lodging facilities market feasibility study and prospectus.

*Appointed Paul Setliff, Richard Reynolds and Herman Haley to the Planning Commission to four years set to expire March 31, 2024; appointed Lee Cochran to the Henry-Martinsville Department of Social Services Board with a four-year term set to expire on May 31, 2024.

The Henry County Board of Supervisors unanimously votes to award a contract to Allied Protective Glazing, LLC, during an April 28 meeting.

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