Southampton sets bond hearing

Published 9:22 am Saturday, September 12, 2009

COURTLAND—Southampton County will hold three public hearings this month, including one on a proposal to issue up to $7.5 million in bonds to help pay for the construction of Riverdale Elementary School.

Other public hearings will address designating areas of the county as enterprise zones, and reallocating funds to improve Virginia Route 688, Rose Valley Road.

The public hearings will take place during the next Board of Supervisors meeting, scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Sept. 28.


Southampton County Administrator Michael Johnson said Friday that the bonds, which would be issued through the Literary Fund of Virginia at 2 percent interest, would not increase property taxes. The bonds would be used to pay off a $7.5 million temporary note the county sold in 2006 for the construction of Riverdale.

“It’s a refinancing, that’s all it is,” Johnson said. “When we sold the bonds for Riverdale back in 2006, we went ahead and made an application to the Literary Fund, which is the cheapest source of money for projects. It has a long wait list, and no locality can borrow more than $7.5 million for each project. Our number has finally come up, so we’ll use the funds to pay off the temporary note we issued in 2006.”

A resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds is on the meeting agenda.


Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. is in the process of putting together an application for Southampton County to be designated an enterprise zone with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Tommy Miller, business development manager for Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc., said the three areas are being considered are property in the Southampton Business Park, the future Turner Tract industrial park, and an area from downtown Boykins to the Town of Branchville.

“It’s a grant program that the state has been providing since 1982,” Miller said Friday. “It is designed to help stimulate job growth, commercial and private investment, and revitalization and renovation projects.”

Miller said businesses in an enterprise zone can receive grant money based on real property investment and the numbers of jobs those businesses create. The state will select four enterprise zones in 2010.


Southampton also seeks to amend its priority list for secondary road improvements and the fiscal 2010 Secondary and Unpaved Road Construction Budget with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The priority list and budget currently call for widening Virginia Route 671, General Thomas Highway, from two to five lanes from Delaware Road to Shady Brook Trail, just past the Hercules chemical plant.

Instead, the county wants to improve Rose Valley Road from its intersection with 671 southward to just past the future entrance of the Turner Tract industrial park.

“This is to improve that short section of road to accommodate the truck traffic that will be generated by the industrial park,” Johnson said.

Rose Valley Road would be widened to handle bigger trucks, but would still be two lanes, Johnson said. Also, the road crossing at the CSX Railroad would be improved. An access road leading into the industrial park itself is not included in the Rose Valley Road project.

Construction could begin on Rose Valley Road in the early spring, Johnson said.