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Barging from Kinsale?

Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 3:43 am

Tested to see if they will support a local business with an idea, the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors will have their chance really soon. This comes after one of the Northern Neck’s most prominent businesses has expressed interest in using the area’s waterways to create more jobs.

At the Feb. 11 Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors meeting, permission was given to the county administrator to begin explore the feasibility of barging logs from the eastern shore to the Kinsale. This in turn is expected to offer more jobs.

On Feb. 11, the county supervisors gave financial permission for county administrator Norm Risavi to begin working with Potomac Supply, Northern Neck Planning District Commission and Virginia Department of Agriculture on developing a financial plan in creating a barge system between Westmoreland County and the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The first phase would include applying for the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID Planning Grants).

“The raw material they have access to could potentially increase the number of jobs,” said Risavi, after his conversation with representatives.

In November, Potomac Supply was sold to American Industrial Partners to continue pallet manufacturing and wood-preservation operations in Kinsale. This came after months of litigation when the previous owners filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy citing financial troubles that began as early as 2007 and worsened with slumps in the forest products industry.  This forced about 100 workers to be laid off.

Potomac Supply is requesting the board assist with providing matching fund of $35,000, which Risavi said the county has in the Industrial Park Fund.

Vice Chairman Woody Hynson said the idea of shipping products by barge has been something talked about for quite a bit of time.

“I think it’s a good move and I think some logs need to find their home in Kinsale,” said Hynson.

“It looks on the surface to be a wise avenue to explore,” said chairman Darryl Fisher.

Risavi said the project would be done in phases before any funds are matched with the entities involved. The administrator said what representatives of this project are asking is for the county to match the grant with $35,000 that could be made available.

The board also approved an ordinance for the county sheriff to authorize auxiliary deputy sheriffs to assist the local agency not exceeding five members.

“This is just something we have not had and an opportunity to open a door to use resources in the county that we have not had,” said Balderson.

The sheriff said some of the areas the auxiliary deputies could assist in are with parades, festivals, high school events and maybe in investigations.

Hampton Oliff and Lewis Thompson, two retired law enforcement representatives, were in favor of the ordinance.

“The things I hear during the week happen on the weekends, Fridays and Saturdays,” said Oliff. “I think it’s a good idea. A lot of people are qualified and could give some input to him [sheriff].”

Sheriff C.O. Balderson said five individuals have already expressed interest in helping, all of whom have some law enforcement experience.

Thompson, who is an associate minister at Morningside Baptist Church, said he was a member of an auxiliary in Otero, New Mexico for 12 years.

“There were reserves to back deputies up especially in isolated areas and it’s a great program,” said Thompson.

“Two hunderd to one hundred years ago, I don’t think we got this country of ours under control in the western expansion if it wasn’t for something called a posse, which was volunteers, so I look at this the same way,” Hynson said. “I just hope it works out great.”

The board also announced that National Agriculture Week would be March 18-22 to be a day of praising agriculture and recognizing farmers for their work.

Recess was taken until the next meeting on March 11 at 6 p.m.

The board made the following approvals for the Westmoreland County School Board’s request to add 170,000 to the food service budget from the fund balance at the end of the 2011-2012 school year (separate from the fund balance leftover from last school year), appoint Jane Gaynor to the Wetlands Board, appropriation for vacant E-911 position omitted from original budget and health insurance changes.