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Time of supervisor meetings questioned

by Larry Chowning

Public comments at the February 7 Middlesex County Board of Supervisors meeting ranged from urging supervisors to change their meeting time; to giving more funds to schools; to recommending Deltaville consider becoming an incorporated town; to Dominion Power transmission lines.

Four people spoke on changing the meeting time. Dawn Moore of Topping said she is a single, working mother and is often unable to attend the 3 p.m. first Tuesday of the month regular monthly meeting of the supervisors. “I have to depend on the newspaper, which I believe to be reliable information,” she said. “However, there are times when I want to comment on things and I think [because the meeting is at a time when working people cannot attend] you are trying to do things with as little input from the public as possible. I feel the main meeting time should be moved to 7 p.m.”

Supervisors meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 3 p.m. for their main meeting, and at 7 p.m. when there is a need for public hearings.

Robert Jackson of Urbanna agreed with Moore. “The time of these meetings is inconvenient,” he said. “My personal opinion is that you are deliberately holding these meetings so working people cannot attend. I think it is unfair, inconsiderate and shameful.”

John Koontz of Hartfield also agreed that 3 p.m. is not a good meeting time for working people. He said he tries to come to the meetings, but cannot always get there on time because he has to pick his children up from school. “It is hard for me to get here on time,” he said. Koontz is self-employed.

Jeff Perkins of Topping noted he was attending his first supervisors meeting and that he cannot attend regularly because he has a job. “I had to take off from work to come here today,” he said.

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Moore encouraged supervisors to spend more county funds on schools and to drop the idea of using county funds to pay for central water and sewer. “You did a study in Deltaville on building a water system and the citizens there told you no!” she said. “Now you are doing a study on a sewer system. From what it looks like [to me], Deltaville needs to be incorporated, like Urbanna, and they can deal with that (water and sewer) with their own dollars. I do not, now or will ever, agree that my taxes in this county should be raised for an area issue that has no effect across the [entire] county.

“I want to see this county be proactive in investing in our children,” Moore continued. “We need to give these children something to look forward to or [we will need] to increase our jail funding. I understand jail officials can look at third grade reading scores and determine the future need of the number of beds needed in the jail.”

Jackson suggested the county drop “right now” the feasibility studies for Deltaville water and sewer. “It’s going to mean thousands of more tax dollars and the people down there have already told you that they don’t want it. The way you all spend money, you’d think it grows on trees,” he said.

Perkins spoke in favor of the board continuing its efforts to have Dominion Power bury its power lines across the Rappahannock River and not string them on towers.

Monica Sanders cautioned supervisors there are current bills in the State Legislature “right now” that, if approved, would allow Dominion Power to place lines and electric poles on county and public owned property without zoning or county input or approval. Sanders said she feels the county should oppose this.

posted 02.15.2017

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