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Paving questions leads to frustration

Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm

A citizen’s query concerning the paving of Pratts Lane, which he said is nearly impassable in bad weather, was met with shrugs during the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors meeting Oct. 10 in Montross.

Dave Brown, of the Virginia Department of Transportation, had just finished getting a resolution from the board needed to continue Rural Addition grants for the county when Stephon Ashton, speaking for his mother, Barbara, spoke up demanding to know when his road would be paved.

Ashton said a number of other roads had been paved but Pratts Lane hadn’t been although he and others had been pushing for it for years.

“Unfortunately, the process is slow sometimes,” Chairman Darryl Fisher told Ashton, pointing out that a road in his district took almost 20 years to get paved.

Brown noted that it couldn’t be paved until the local VDOT office has the money to do it. Fisher said that the next time the board meets to rank the priorities of road projects it will consider raising the priority of Pratts Lane, but that’s not a guarantee the road will be paved in the short term.

“There’s no way to speed the process up,” Fisher added.

Fisher asked Supervisor Dorothy Tate, who represents the third district where Pratts Lane is, to look into the matter.

Ashton, who said delivery trucks won’t come up his road and that chemicals sprayed on it to keep the dust down are carcinogenic, wasn’t satisfied by the responses he got and continued talking about the problem with Brown outside the meeting.

In other news, County Administrator Norm Risavi said that granting fireworks permits is normally an administrative task but a recent request from the Crackerjacks Fireworks Club was unusual enough that he wanted the board’s guidance on it. The club wanted to have three days of fireworks at the drag strip near Colonial Beach.

Daniel Clark, club president, pointed out that except for the county permit, the club had all the others it needed and had all safety precautions in place. In fact, he said, the club wrote the manual on fireworks safety that is used worldwide. None of that mattered to Supervisor Woody Hynson who told Clark, he was concerned about the part of the event that would involve guns and the chance of fire.

“You are going to have to do a whale of a sales job,” he said.

Clark said that the fireworks would be no noisier than the drag races conducted on the strip, but that did not seem to impress the supervisors.

“If it was our decision to make, the drag strip would not be in that location,” Fisher observed. “I don’t see how we could in good conscience ask [nearby homeowners] to tolerate any more disturbance.”

The board voted unanimously to decline the club’s request but asked Risavi to work with the club to find an alternate location.

In other business, the board asked that State Sen. Richard Stuart introduce legislation giving the county authority to provide relief from monthly wastewater management fees to certain citizens, such as the aged and indigent. The actual classes of people who might get relief were not yet defined because the county needs the authority from the state before it can act. Stuart said he will introduce a bill when the General Assembly meets in January.

The board discussed but took no action on a fire station in Stratford Harbour. It also sent to the planning commission a proposal to amend the county ordinances to delete the requirement that private septic systems be disabled when a residence ties into a public system. The supervisors noted that the older systems could serve as backups in case the public system had an outage. The Supervisors adopted a resolution memorializing Fermin Dixon’s contributions to the county, particularly the founding of the Westmoreland Rescue Squad.

Former Supervisor Russ Culver advised the board and all in attendance that the US Post office is considering closing the Mount Holly post office, which would be a major inconvenience to those who use it. He said there will be a public hearing on the question at the Glebe Harbor/Cabin Point Clubhouse at 3 p.m. Nov. 28.


County initiates online bill payment system

Utility payments may be paid through an on-line bill pay system.  This method must be initiated with the individual on the bill pay program by submitting an amount, what date it is to be paid and how often it is to be paid.  Once this is done the bank will deduct that amount and electronically deposit it into the County account.  This eliminates having to write a check, pay postage or take the chance it does not get into the office by the due date which results in penalty and interest being added.  The bill pay account should be set up to pay at least five days before the due date.  Electronic deposits are received daily.  Real estate taxes and personal property taxes may be paid this way as well, but only as a onetime pay.  This is a free service offered by most banks.  Payments may also be paid by credit card on line at www.officialpayments.com or at 1-888-272-9829.  This is an automated line which requires a jurisdiction code of 1053 and a bill number and does require a convenience fee based on the amount of the bill.The Treasurer’s Office is constantly seeking ways to make bill paying a little easier and more convenient for the taxpayer.