By Brandon Martin
The Henry County Board of Supervisors received the county’s audit report at the final meeting of 2019.
The audit was conducted by Creedle, Jones and Alga, P.C., and was for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
A representative of the firm apprised the board of the report, which stated in part that “the respective financial position of the governmental activities, the business-type activities, the discretely presented component units, and each major fund of the County of Henry, Virginia, as of June 30, 2019, and the respective changes in financial position and cash flows thereof for the year then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted.”
In other matters at their meeting Tuesday:
- Supervisors and school board members who emerged victorious in the November election were sworn into office, including supervisors Debra Buchanan, of the Horsepasture District; Tommy Slaughter, of the Reed Creek District, and Ryan Zehr, of the Ridgeway District were all sworn-in. School board members included Francis Zehr, of the Ridgeway District; Cherie Whitlow, At-large member were sworn into their respective offices. Terri Flanagan, of the Horsepasture District, and Teddy Martin II, of the Reed Creek District also won their reelection bids, but could not attend the ceremony. Also sworn in were Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Nester, Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry, Commissioner of Revenue Linda Love, Treasurer Scott Grindstaff, and Soil and Water Conservation Directors Darryl Holland and Andrew Barker.
- A representative from the National Weather Service followed the audit presentation by explaining the steps that the county took to become a “StormReady Community,” a community preparedness program that encourages government entities to prepare for severe storms.
- Grindstaff briefed the board on tax collection efforts for the year. As of Nov. 27, 93.48 percent of personal property taxes to the amount of $46,024.71 have been collected along with 95.32 percent of real estate taxes which totaled $66,387.08. He also delivered the monthly reports which included information on the fund summary of expenditures, the summary of expenditures by cost center and others.
- Supervisors also heard financial matters from staff, that included a request for the appropriation of additional funds for the 2020 Census, a section of the Dick and Willie Passage, the Commonwealth Attorney’s office and the Sheriff’s Office.
- Staff asked the board to appropriate grant funds of $10,000 received from the Harvest Foundation to promote participation in the 2020 Census. The grant will allow the county to collaborate with the West Piedmont Planning District Commission and the City of Martinsville to encourage residents to complete the 2020 census.
- Grant funds of $320,600 from the Harvest Foundation are being sought for the planning, designing, and engineering Section 6A of the Dick & Willie Passage Trail. This section of the multi-use trail will extend from the end of the trail near Mulberry Creek to the trailhead on Spruce Street. Once this section is complete, the Dick & Willie Passage Trail will be more than 10.5 miles of continuous paved trail.
- Nester also requested additional funds. “I am requesting that $650 be appropriated from my asset forfeiture account into the professional services…to cover the cost of a real estate title search by Land Records Research, LLC,” said Nester in a letter to the Henry County Board of Supervisors. “I would also like to request that $1,416 be appropriated to my ADP Equipment…to cover the cost of a new desktop computer, Microsoft Office license, and Adobe Professional license for one of the new attorneys that my office anticipates hiring in the very near future.”
- The Sheriff’s office is looking to use grant funds to contact out $196,106 to Safeware, Inc. for the purchase of a mobile elevated surveillance platform. The Sheriff’s office had previously been awarded an FY2019 State Homeland Security Program grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “It’s completely portable, pulls behind a truck and you bring it in like a trailer frame,” said Perry. “You can raise it up and I’d say you’re about 30 feet in the air. It gets you to the point where you can see fights in the area or people moving from one area to another. You can radio this information and watch traffic in-and-out.”
- The Animal Control division is also slated to acquire $29,494 for a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Truck. Matt Tatum, director of Henry County Department of Public Safety, requested a $139,915 contract be awarded to Vest Sales and Service, Inc., for the re-chassis of an existing ambulance module. Tatum also asked the board to adopt a resolution for the County’s Emergency Operations Plan. The plan is required by state law to be updated by the end of the year. The plan has been updated to reflect changes recommended by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and other best practices.
- Roger Adams, director of Parks and Recreation, provided an update on the plans for a county fair in 2021. He used the meeting to reveal the logo that will be used to help market the event.
- The final agenda item before closed session was to approve the school board’s request that the county take ownership of the parcel where John Redd Smith Elementary School is located, dependent on the school board’s conveyance of the deed on the property and authorizing the county administrator to execute the deed. The goal is to see if the facility can be redeveloped for residential use, which would help address the ongoing shortage of suitable workforce housing in the community.
- The board will hold its 2020 Organizational Meeting on Jan. 2 at 5 p.m., to schedule the year’s meeting dates and elect a chairman and vice-chairman for 2020.