CHRISTIANSBURG – The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to dissolve the Shawsville Volunteer Rescue Squad at its Monday, May 8 meeting.
The area will now be served by Montgomery County EMS departments.
The Shawsville Volunteer Rescue Squad served eastern Montgomery County in support of providing emergency services to the area’s citizens for decades. The board expressed their gratitude for the volunteers’ many years of service to their community.
“They have really provided great service to the citizens of eastern Montgomery, and we definitely want to recognize that,” said Supervisor Fijalkowski. “Especially that any volunteers that wish to continue, they have that option to continue volunteering with the county EMS.”
Reimbursements in the amount of just over 2.1 million dollars to the Montgomery County Public Schools were unanimously approved by the board of supervisors during Monday night’s meeting as well.
Annie Whittaker, Deputy Superintendent, requested the funds from the supervisors for CARES/ESSER and insurance reimbursements to the school operating fund. According to the resolution presented at the board meeting, CARES/ESSER funds are to cover the FY 2022-23 retention bonus for non-SOQ (Standard of Quality) positions and ESSER position salaries and benefits. Specific information on the reimbursement requests can be found on the county’s meeting agenda at www.montva.com.
“There are two different reimbursements,” Whittaker explained to the board. “One is from insurance, as you know, we had some significant weather issues over the holiday at winter, so that is, we pay it out of our operating and they reimburse us. The other is ESSA reimbursements, again we pay it out of operating and they reimburse us the funds after we have spent them.”
“Sometimes it just gets confusing if you are spending money that is coming out of operating, but it was not actually designated for operating. You could be in a deficit if you already spent that money,” Chair Sherri Blevins expressed.
Also on Monday, Brea Hopkins, Director of Planning and GIS Services, addressed the board to request a special use permit for a lighted park; Auburn Park located at 3595 Riner Rd. in Riner.
“We do propose the installation of lighting for the fields,” said Hopkins. “It does consist of the following lights: 21 sixty-foot poles, 1 seventy-foot, and eight 80-foot poles for a total of 144 downcast lighting fixtures. So, additional lighting does create a safer place for our kids to play. They will be LED lights, they will only be on during use . . . and shielded to only light the areas needed and prevent glare.”
Additional information presented by Hopkins stated that the park and recreational department will regulate play hours and when lights will be on, but all games will end prior to 10 p.m.
Board members responded with a few questions for Hopkins, following her presentation. April DeMotts asked if the lights would be programmable from the government center office, similarly to a previous park in the area. Hopkins confirmed this would be the case.
Supervisor Todd King asked about the size of the field in response to a previous citizen request. Hopkins explained they are looking at extending softball field two for the purpose of accommodating the 13-18 age group of boys.
“We’re looking at changing one of the fields from a 225-foot fence down the line to a 300-foot, 350-foot in the center with a 90-foot base pass, to accommodate traditional baseball sized field; 90-foot bases and 60-foot pitching mound” Bradley St. Clair, Assistant County Administrator added.
The BOS approved the special use permit for the installation of the park lights with unanimous approval from all seven board members present.
In other county business, David Clarke, Virginia Department of Transportation Residency Administrator, updated the board on road improvements and repairs. Citizens can expect to see piping replaced, tree clean-up, road patching, and ditching repairs in various locations of the county. High Top Road has been completed. Some of the other roads VDOT is currently working on are Huffville Road, with work expected to be completed on 615/Christiansburg Pike Road as well. Clarke shared that Blacksburg’s Glade Road, although expected to be done, will not be completed this year.
“The only six-year plan project that is going to occur this year is the bit of Craig Mountain Road that we have in between the end of pavement and where we did about a half-mile section a few years ago; we are going to connect that about one-third mile gap,” Clarke said.
Additional areas on the schedule for VDOT work are Taylor Hollow off of Luster’s Gate and the design of Poplar Hill.
Board members joined Clarke recently on a driving survey of the county’s roads. Fijalkowski thanked Clarke for riding with the board members in surveying the county’s roads.
“When you hear about a lot of these roads that aren’t in our own districts, which we all know our districts fairly well, it really benefits us to get a good idea what’s involved, and by having you there riding with us, you can really give us the realistic opinions that you’ve seen through your own experience” Fijalkowski said.
Citizens spoke in response to the board’s real estate tax rate deduction and budgetary appropriations’ decisions during the citizen comment period of the meeting.
“I’m not one who enjoys paying high taxes, but I am also intelligent enough to appreciate the things that make Montgomery County a great place to live.” Matthew Fentress, of Christiansburg, said. “I hold in high regard the men and women of our country and our county that wear a badge and protect the families of Montgomery County.”
Fentress went on to discuss the impacts to the ACCE program, teachers and staff, and reductions from the contingency funds.
Bob Beard, Christiansburg, spoke in support of having a revenue neutral budget, presenting statistics to the board in support of his argument.
Wayman Pack, of Riner, expressed, “how have we not progressed, but regressed to get to our current state? If one side of the board argued for a $0.70 rate and the other for a $0.73 rate, in my naivete, believed that the parties would cooperate and try to reach a compromise solution.”
Supervisor Todd King, just prior to the close of the meeting, expressed to the board members that “if you haven’t seen the school board meeting from last Tuesday, I would encourage you to watch that, because I wasn’t too happy with some of the words that were said in that meeting.”