Supervisors give go-ahead on referendum

Published 9:38 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved directing County Attorney Richard Railey to proceed with the necessary steps to put a referendum on the ballot for Election Day, which is on Tuesday, Nov. 7. The question to be put before county residents is “Should the courthouse be removed to 30100 Camp Parkway and shall the Board of Supervisors be permitted to spend $26.5 million therefore?” The only choices are Yes or No.

Designated as site 7, the area where a new courthouse could be built — if voters agree — is by the Virginia State Police office. The other would have been Site 4 on Jerusalem Road. Supervisor Dr. Alan Edwards said he was among the people on the Courthouse Committee who voted 8-3 for No. 7 on July 12.The owners of the No. 4 location had reportedly met with Railey five days after the committee and give a lower asking price by more than 68 percent on the land, which would have reduced the projected capital cost for acquisition and development by more than $1.2M. But that new offer came too late for the committee to review.

Vice chairman Ronnie West said he believes the group “made a decision in good faith, and fellow supervisor Barry Porter recommended accepting that resolution.

The board was also unanimous in taking up an option agreement with the trustees of New Life Church to buy 59.39 acres of property on Camp Parkway, where a new courthouse might be built. The up-front option fee is $5,000 and a purchase price is $145,000 if the option is acted on within 90 days of the referendum.