Reversion tops the proposed list of Henry County’s 2023 Legislative Agenda for the Virginia General Assembly. The Henry County Board of Supervisors will consider the proposal at its 3 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
Identified as the most pressing item on the list, the county would solicit input on “how to deal with the effects of the City of Martinsville’s reversion to a town. This action by the city will have severe and long lasting impacts” on the county’s fiscal condition, the proposal states.
In it, the county “strongly encourages” Virginia to “extend the temporary restriction on annexation following a city’s reversion to a town” to 12 years, up from the current 24-months, the draft agenda states.
Further, the county requests budget and statutory changes so that capital costs of reversion are equally shared. The proposal requests an amendment to the Code of Virginia and the budget to “allow for and fund at least a 25 percent match for costs associated with constitutional offices, jails and courthouse subject to construction” due to a reversion.
Also requested is that the state fully funds “hold harmless provisions” for Constitutional officers and schools so state subsidies remain funded at current levels or more for 15 to 20 years after the effective date of a reversion, and the lower Local Composite Index of Martinsville and Henry County would be used to calculate state education funding to county schools for 15 years, the draft states.
In economic development, the county encourages Virginia to develop new incentives that allow the state and localities to be more competitive with neighboring states, as well as additional funding “to enhance the high-tiered industrial sites in economically distressed communities.”
The proposal also requests increased support for public education, including added support to provide and maintain competitive teacher salaries, the continued support of the New College Institute (NCI) and Patrick & Henry Community College (P&HCC).
“We also support NCI’s ultimate conversion into a stand-alone four-year university or a branch campus of an existing four-year university,” the proposal states.
With respect to transportation and providing the draft list is approved, the county would ask for funds from the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the General Assembly for the Martinsville Southern Connector project, creating a direct route from the North Carolina line and the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre to the U.S. 58/220 bypass and support for the construction of I-73 (with construction to start in the county).
The draft includes sections on law enforcement/public safety, Constitutional officers and other areas of concerns, the latter of which asks the state to develop a master plan and build the Mayo River State Park, additional funding for the Children’s Services Act, changes to the Virginia Retirement System to help cover critical labor shortages, funds to help cover voting procedures that “have brought increased demands on localities,” and “maintaining and expanding funding and appropriate incentives to foster housing development, including workforce housing.”
Also, at its 3 p.m. meeting in the Summerlin Room of the Henry County Administration Building, the board also will consider:
*A resolution Honoring Terri Cook – Commissioner of Revenue.
*Awarding a contract for a Communications Microwave System.
*An Additional Appropriation of American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Funds for Employee Bonus Payment for the school division.
*Approval of the purchase of a fire truck for the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Department.
*Award of a contract for Electrical Consulting Services.
*A request for Carryover of FY’22 County Funds.
Supervisors are scheduled to hear:
*A monthly report on efforts to collect delinquent taxes.
*An update from the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.
The board may meet in closed session to discuss appointees to the Anchor Commission and Public Service Authority; pending legal matters; the acquisition/disposal of real estate and for discussion of as-yet unannounced industries.
Supervisors will meet again a 6 p.m. to hear a report on General Highway Matters, presented by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), a presentation from the Parks and Recreation Office and matters by the public.