You asked: Franklin is an independent city, not a part of Southampton County

Published 1:51 pm Saturday, September 8, 2012

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You asked: Franklin isn’t part of Southampton County, is it?

FRANKLIN—Franklin is one of Virginia’s 39 independent cities and isn’t part of Southampton County, however the localities share a court clerk, a sheriff and a commonwealth’s attorney.

“Franklin is considered a city of the second class,” said Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson. “Typically they will share constitutional officers.”

Franklin has its own constitutional officers, like commissioner of the revenue and treasurer, said Mary Jo Fields, research director at the Virginia Municipal League.

“Virginia is the only state with a statewide system of independent cities,” Fields said. “If you go to Maryland and to Annapolis, Annapolis is part of a county,” she said. “The county handles things like education and elections.”

Franklin has been an independent city since 1961.

She said cities in Virginia handle normal county responsibilities like overseeing elections, and providing water, sewer, street lights and garbage service.

Streets and roads in counties are typically maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, while cities maintain their streets.

Franklin and Southampton County have agreements with each other. Franklin Fire and Rescue serves residents along 258 in Southampton County and the county pays for city sewer at the Edgehill subdivision off North High Street, said City Manager Randy Martin.

Both contributed $100,000 annually to Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc., an agency that attempts to bring development to Western Tidewater.

Since 1985, both localities have shared net tax revenue generated by most of the businesses along Armory Drive, Johnson said. Southampton receives 50 percent of the revenue from the Route 58 interchange to the Lowe’s shopping center, he said.

Martin and Johnson said they have had one meeting to discuss future cost-saving possibilities. They both said it was too early to discuss what came out of the meeting.

“The next step is for Mike and I to join with the school superintendents to talk about opportunities for schools to work together,” Martin said.