County OKs budget, tax increase

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, May 24, 2017

In quick succession, the Southampton County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved: the $58.87M budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018; an increase of three cents on the real estate tax, making the rate 85 cents per $100; the fees for water ($28 monthly for first 4,000 gallons), sewer ($36 monthly for first 4,000 gallons) and solid waste ($200 annually). The water and sewer each went up $1 from the previous fiscal year.

The budget includes the school’s portion, which is $32.27M for the next fiscal year. The supervisors also agreed to appropriate $74,881.27 from the general fund to the school operating fund. That money will go toward such line items as instructional costs, materials and supplies, retiree health insurance premiums, tutorial salaries, FICA benefit and necessary travel.

During public comment, the issue of whether or not to renovate the courthouse dominated the time. Jason Fowler of Courtland asked what’s the exact reasoning for a third courtroom: a [legal] requirement or convenience?

Joe Vick of Capron said, “I’m in favor of keeping courthouse in its place … Call off the referendum and just renovate our courthouse.”

In public hearings, the board had a joint hearing with VDOT on establishing a priority list for secondary and unpaved roads. The members also OK’d a conditional use permit for Kyle Prendergast in Capron to establish Queenie Swamp Kennels LLC. This matter had already been before the Planning Commission and had recommended approval.

Jonathan Bowen’s request for rezoning to allow horses on his property in Sedley met with opposition from neighbors. Issues of odor, water and the possibility of the animals getting out of their fence were among the concerns. Ultimately, the board chose to postpone a decision until it had a chance to hear from Bowen, who was not present.

Concerning Planning’s recommendation to lower the speed limit on Route 58 where several businesses are located, the board decided to wait until VDOT has published its new study.