By Staff Reports
Vice-chairman Debra Buchanan, of the Horsepasture District, and Joe Bryant, of the Collinsville District, voted against the motion.
The agreement approved Tuesday is consistent with, but contains more specifics than, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) previously agreed to by the localities.
For instance, the agreement specifies how the various constitutional officers in each locality will cooperate to ensure a smooth transition. The agreement also states the county will ask the Harvest Foundation to fund a “comprehensive study of the” Henry County school division following the dissolution of the Martinsville school division.
“Such study shall consider subjects including educational quality, the efficient use of facilities, racial and economic equity, costs, the consolidation of administrative functions, academic and pedagogical concerns, and student achievement. The Virginia Board of Education and the Virginia Department of Education will be invited to participate” in the study, the agreement states.
It also notes the need to redraw election districts, with the Henry County Board of Supervisors to “retain at least one seat on each body from entirely within the boundaries of Martinsville, provided that retaining such seats during any subsequent reapportionment or redistricting is consistent with” state and federal laws, population changes and the like.
A redistricting plan will be adopted “no later than the effective date of reversion,” the agreement stated. Afterwards, an election “shall be held to select members of the Henry County Board of Supervisors and the Henry County School Board from the districts contained” in the approved redistricting plan.
The new Town of Martinsville also will “undertake all actions necessary for the election of the town council members and any elected town officers of the new Town of Martinsville, consistent with applicable law,” the agreement stated.
“Martinsville’s transition from an independent city to a town located within and constituting part of Henry County shall be effective as of the date established by the Special Court,” according to the agreement.
With approval now from both localities, the Commission on Local Government (CLG), will preside over the next steps in the process, including public hearings scheduled for Sept. 7 to 9 at the New College Institute.
All meetings are open to the public.
The city is scheduled to present before the commission on Tuesday, Sept. 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The county will present before the commission on Wednesday, Sept. 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Public input will be accepted on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.
In other matters, the board:
*Endorsed the county’s participation in the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) Grant Program in collaboration with Carroll, Patrick and Franklin counties. The West Piedmont Planning District Commission will serve as the lead agency for the grant application. As part of the application, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be executed with American Electric Power and RiverStreet Networks to serve as potential vendors for the installation of infrastructure and deployment of services. The MOU does not create any legal or equitable obligations or rights to any of the parties involved.
*Held a public hearing and approved the transfer of the former John Redd Smith Elementary School to the Cherney Development Company to facilitate the development of apartments at the property.
*Held public hearings, and approved amendments, to the fiscal year 2021-2022 school budget and total county budget. The schools received $18,051,093.61 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), $462,698.24 from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and $171,431.52 from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA). The total budget amendment of $18,685,223.37 will cover costs for the essential instruction program, supplies, furniture, personnel costs, personal protective equipment, upgrades to transportation and upgrades to school HVAC and facilities. The county expects to receive $9,820,105 in ARPA funds. The intended use of the funds will be finalized once additional guidance is received from the U.S. Treasury Department.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $185,306 in funds from the General Fund and awarded a $199,985 contract to Paul R. Shively, Inc., for the demolition and removal of 13 duplex structures in the Villa Heights community that have been declared as drug blight. There was already $14,679 in funds allocated to the Collinsville District for the purpose.
*Established a 30-day comment period to receive input on the allocation of $16,743 in funds received by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office through the 2021 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. Sheriff Lane Perry said the funds will be used to pay for overtime for increased enforcement. The comment period is set to end on Sept. 27, 2021.
*Awarded a $238,285 contract to Bassett Office Supply for various furniture and fixtures for the new jail. Funding for the items is included in the overall budget jail project.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $8,000 in state asset forfeiture funds to cover travel expenses for the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
*Held a public hearing, and approved a rezoning request, for property located at 295 Bryant’s Lake Road in the Blackberry District. The applicant asked to rezone approximately 25-acres from rural residential district to agricultural district for a farm winery and for other agricultural uses.
*Held a public hearing, and approved a rezoning request, for property located at 5081 Kings Mountain Road in the Collinsville District. The applicant requested to rezone approximately 0.3-acres from commercial district to suburban residential district for it to be sold as a single-family dwelling.
*Adopted a resolution thanking Steve Isom for his 42-years of service to the county in the Information Services Department and congratulating him on his upcoming retirement on Sept. 1, 2021.
*Adopted a resolution celebrating the 50th year of operations for the Patrick Henry Volunteer Fire Department.
*Adopted a resolution recognizing September 11 as First Responder Appreciation Day in Henry County.
*Heard an update on the Henry County Fair from Roger Adams, director of Parks and Recreation.
*Received a report from Treasurer Scott Grindstaff concerning delinquent tax collection efforts. There was $78,756.13 collected during the month in 2020 personal property taxes and $98,255.46 collected in real estate taxes.
*Heard an update on general highway matters from Lisa Hughes, Resident Engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation.
*Approved an early day for county employees on the Friday before Labor Day.
*Heard from Eric Phillips, of the Iriswood District, during the public comment period regarding the availability of correspondence related to reversion. All documents and correspondence from the county are available at https://www.henrycountyva.gov/reversion.