Isle of Wight board weighs in on SPSA budget shortfall

Published 5:43 am Saturday, January 10, 2009

At the first meeting of 2009, the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors elected Hardy District Supervisor James B. Brown, Jr., and Carrsville Supervisor Philip Bradshaw to serve as chairman and vice-chairman, respectively.

Rowland “Bucky” Taylor, executive director of the Southeastern Public Service Authority, was present to speak about SPSA’s anticipated budget shortfall. “Every bit of [debt] must be paid off by 2018,” said Taylor, citing the SPSA board’s “poor financial discipline” and taking on too much debt over the last few decades as some of the reasons for the present shortfalls.

“There are other dynamics that play into this,” said Chairman Brown. “I’m not picking on Suffolk, but they [do not pay] a tipping fee, and they are one of the fastest-growing communities around here, in terms of demographics … construction, construction debris. The board [in the past] did not anticipate those kinds of changes.”

An issue carrying over from the Dec. 18 meeting, a proposed boat docking fee of $500 at Tyler’s Beach, was a point of contention from citizens, who said that the dock had been funded from grants in the 1960s for the specific use of and safe anchorage for commercial fishermen and watermen. Prior to the construction of the docks, they said, boats were simply anchored to Tyler’s Beach.

“I don’t want to pay $500 and [have] to move someone’s boat out of the way and get mine in,” said fisherman Peyton Jones. Board members voted to redirect the matter to the department of parks and recreation and also look back to board minutes from the 1960s for information on how the docks were originally funded.

Transportation issues and concerns with VDOT were non-agenda items that were brought up by several board member based on discussions recent regional meetings.

Supervisor Stan Clark proposed that the board direct staff to pursue a course for Isle of Wight to obtain use for emergency vehicles of the limited access right-of-way on the Route 10 bypass road.

Supervisor Bradshaw suggested taking the matter directly to the state versus VDOT. “Take it through eminent domain and let the courts decide,” said Bradshaw. “Are they going to prevent an emergency vehicle from entering Route 10, which is the quickest way to respond to a citizen? They’re going to send a message to our citizens that their safety and their welfare is not a concern.”

Continual flooding on Route 460 in Zuni was also discussed, a problem that goes back decades, said Bradshaw.

Bradshaw said the problem of flooding began when the road was expanded to four lanes years ago, and that the culverts at the roads are not large enough to take in the water from the road.

“It is an emergency evacuation route and it is a VDOT issue that needs to be addressed. Our engineers said the culverts need to be replaced [and] expanded…it’s been studied and evaluated time and time again,” said Bradshaw, saying that the VDOT conclusion that the basin always has been and always will be flooded is “ridiculous.”

The board voted to direct staff to pursue limited right-of-way access for emergency vehicles along the Route 10 bypass. They also voted to permit Supervisor Bradshaw and Chairman Brown to meet with staff and citizens to come up with a recommendation for improvements on Route 460 to prevent flooding to the Zuni community.