Louisa supervisors elect chair, consider fire-rescue
The Citizen’s Scorecard: January 3 meeting of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors
Louisa's supervisors for 2012 are (seated, l to r) Vice-chairman Richard Havasy, Green Springs District; Chairman Willie Harper, Mineral District; Dan Byers (standing) Jackson District; Willie Gentry, Cuckoo District; Troy Wade, Louisa District; Tommy Barlow, Mountain Road District; Fitzgerald Barnes, Patrick Henry District
•Fitzgerald Barnes, Patrick Henry District supervisor, nominated Dan Byers, Jackson District supervisor for board chairman. Richard Havasy, Green Springs District supervisor, nominated Willie Harper, Mineral District supervisor. Byers withdrew his name, citing his single term on the board. Harper became chairman, and said that he looked forward to working with all of the board members in what would be “a challenging year.”
Havasy was elected vice-chairman. Board bylaws now limit supervisors to two consecutive terms as chairman. Willie Gentry, Cuckoo District supervisor, served as chairman in 2010 and 2011.
•Louisa District Supervisor Troy Wade, in is first meeting on the board, appointed Eric Purcell, former Louisa District supervisor, to the planning commission.
•At the suggestion of Gentry, the board approved resolutions honoring the service of P.T. Spencer, former Louisa District supervisor, and Gloria Layne, treasurer.
•Ken Dye, director of government and community affairs for Comcast, said that negotiations are ongoing to renew franchise agreements that the cable company has in Louisa County.
Harper asked about Comcast phone service–not provided throughout Louisa, and Dye replied that the company has “a growing footprint” and that “it will happen at some point.”
The new chairman also asked if there was any interest in providing service in the Lake Anna area, and Dye replied that he would research why the service was not available in the area.
•Supervisors approved two changes to the county employee handbook, grandfathering part-time benefits for refuse employees hired before the practice was eliminated and giving the county administrator the authority to close county operations in bad weather, after consultation with the chairman of the board of supervisors.
•Supervisors noted that despite the extremely limited Comprehensive Plan review process underway, several parcels at Wares Crossroads would be added to the Lake Anna growth area at the request of the economic development department.
According to a county memo, in 2010, Dickinson Land and Property LLC and Dickinson Investments purchased the properties–which are currently in use as pine planations, 10- to 15-years-old–with the long-term intent to develop commercial uses.
• Larry Zemke and Wayne Jones, of Windwood Coves, addressed the board during citizens’ information period and said that the neighborhood is working to secure high-speed internet for itself.
Zemke said that the county’s tower review fee of $4,500 for licensed tower consideration was a barrier to entry for smaller companies hoping to provide community-level service. Jones said that the neighborhood is ready to sit down and negotiate with the company, but that the fee was preventing the next steps from being taken.
Later in the meeting, Robert Dubé, county administrator, said that the type of radio-frequency based service Windwood Coves has considered would be considered an unlicensed tower, and cited a review fee of $1,250.
•J.R. Stallings of the Mineral District offered prepared and unprepared remarks regarding high-speed internet, and problems in county government.
•With support from Wade and Gentry, Tommy Barlow, Mountain Road District, made a strong stand for the authority of the Management Oversight Group.
The advisory committee was formed as the county took control of all fire-rescue operations in the county, and was intended to give the volunteers a formal means to influence the governance of emergency services.
Scott Keim, county fire chief, proposed using leftover grant funds to establish a self-contained breathing apparatus repair program, citing the potential savings and increased safety of fixing firefighters’ oxygen tanks in-house.
He reportedly presented it to the MOG members with no advance notice at the November meeting of the group, which has taken no formal action.
Barlow refused to support the measure without a formal recommendation of the MOG, saying that he considers it “an important part of the process.”
“I want to see and I expect to see a recommendation of the MOG, good or bad,” Barlow told Keim, when it comes to policy or procedures changes in emergency services. He later called the way the issue was brought to supervisors as “a circumvention of the MOG.”
Barnes countered that the MOG, like the planning commission, is an advisory body and that ultimate decision lie with the board.
“I’m gonna support our department heads,” he said.
Havasy said that the information had been presented to the MOG and that the lack of a formal recommendation was a “moot point” as there was no major opposition from the group.
Gentry backed Barlow, saying that the board needs to establish a good working process with the MOG. Wade, who said that he had researched the issue with firefighters in his district and other counties, said that he didn’t oppose the proposal, but supported waiting until the MOG offered a formal recommendation.
Byers said that this was the type of management decision that should be reviewed in the future with an eye for putting the decision-maker’s “feet to the fire” if it didn’t work out as advertised.
On the motion of Barnes, seconded by Havasy, the board voted 4-3 to approve the measure, and directed Dale Mullen, county attorney to review options to address questions of liability. AYE: Barnes, Byers, Harper, Havasy NAY: Barlow, Gentry, Wade
•The board unanimously agreed to a resolution honoring the life of Gail Martin, of the Jackson District, who was killed in a December car accident. The resolution is expected to be presented at the Saturday celebration of her life, scheduled at 3 p.m. at the Lake Anna Rescue Squad building.
•Supervisors met in closed session to discuss contract issues related to the landfill, a previously unannounced business, personnel issues, discussion of awarding a public contract, and probable or actual litigation.