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Jackson Creek to be dredged

by Larry S. Chowning

The Middlesex County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to approve a $97,575 bid from Docks of the Bay construction company to dredge a portion of the mouth of Jackson Creek in Deltaville.

The project will be 75% funded through a Port Authority grant. The board agreed to fund $13,125.

Keith Ruse spoke for landowners on the creek and said they will fund the other $13,125 to complete the project.

County attorney Mike Soberick told county supervisors not to accept the bid until the private sector has written the county a check for the $13,125. “That’s just good business,” he said.

Monica Sanders of Topping said she has “serious issues” with the county using public dollars to dig out a 9-foot channel in Jackson Creek when most of the other creeks in the county do not have but 4-foot channels. “It’s not fair that other creeks are not receiving the same attention,” she said.

Pinetop District supervisor Carl-ton Revere noted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is no longer paying for the cost of dredging creeks and that the county’s economy relies heavily on the boating industry.

Revere said Jackson Creek is an emergency situation and that Coast Guard radio dispatchers have been warning boaters about the shallow entrance to the creek.

Hal Muller of Urbanna said he feels the county is setting a dangerous precedent by providing county funds to dredge creeks. “You are taking us down a slippery slope,” he said.

Muller suggested a more businesslike approach to county funds being used to dredge creeks, and a committee be established to evaluate needs and funding methods.

Revere agreed that a procedure needs to be established for applying and determining which creeks should be eligible for dredging. He noted that the county is going to have to pick up even more of the dredging costs in years to come because grants such as the one received by the county for Jackson Creek will be harder to obtain.

“We’ve had people calling Betty [Muncy] in the county office asking how their own counties can get grants for dredging,” Revere noted.

posted 06.08.2011

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