By Carol Vaughn —
The Accomack County Board of Supervisors Wednesday approved an application form for volunteer fire companies to use to apply for COVID-19 relief.
The application period is Dec. 16, 2021, through April 15, 2022.
The board previously identified volunteer fire and rescue companies as a priority for use of federal funds coming to the county as result of the American Rescue Plan Act.
In October, the board voted to implement an assistance program whereby each volunteer fire company may receive $50,000 unless the company has not complied with the county’s audit requirement.
The program is open to all volunteer fire and rescue companies in Accomack County, but an application must be submitted to the Department of Public Safety.
The application form will be available on the county department of public safety website, www.acdps.net, under the Fire Commission and Funding Agreement tabs.
Once the application period closes, county staff will review all applications and respond to each volunteer fire company no later than June 1, 2022, with award of funds to happen no later than June 30.
Planning Commission Requests Additional Zoning Inspector
The Accomack County Planning Commission is asking the board of supervisors to consider adding funding in next year’s budget for another full-time zoning inspector.
The planning commission heard from several concerned residents of the Fox Grove neighborhood near Parksley at the Oct. 13 meeting, with speakers saying there are people living in travel trailers and sheds in the neighborhood.
The planning commission recommended adding another zoning inspector position, given non-compliance problems in Fox Grove and elsewhere in the county.
“For whatever reason, it seems that there is widespread non-compliance with zoning ordinance regulations throughout the County. The Planning Commission is especially concerned with non-compliance matters that jeopardize health and safety; such as people living in sheds,” said a Nov. 10 letter from the planning commission to the board of supervisors.
There currently is one full-time zoning inspector position for the entire county, according to the letter.
Social Services Requests Additional Money from County
Vicki Wheatley, director of the Accomack County Department of Social Services, spoke about the department’s request for additional money.
Because the state calendar year and the local budget calendar year do not coincide, the department sometimes can not predict the amount the state is going to contribute, which affects the local match required, Wheatley said.
The request for $45,244 is being made to bring the local match in line with the state’s allocation this year, according to Wheatley.
Supervisor Robert Crockett made the motion to approve the request, with Reneta Major seconding it. The motion passed with Harris Phillips abstaining.
The money will come from the county’s contingency fund.
Broadband Authority Awarded $12M
Accomack County Administrator Mike Mason told the board the Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority was awarded a $12.3 million VATI grant by the state.
A local match coming from the ESVBA and Accomack and Northampton counties is $3.3 million, bringing the total approved project budget to around $15.6 million.
The grant will enable the building of 269 miles of fiber for a total of 14,526 passings.
Around $2.2 million is designated for special construction, which includes helping to cover the cost to residences or businesses that require fiber drops longer than the standard length of 150 feet.
The project budget for work in Accomack County is nearly $8.4 million, with 146 miles of fiber to be laid and 9,333 passings.
The project deadline is 18 months from when the contract is executed, Mason said.
“I want to tell you how much the broadband authority appreciates Accomack County’s support of this project,” said Mason, who serves on the broadband authority.
Chairman Ron Wolff thanked Mason for his work on the broadband authority.
“I think everyone in the county is very satisfied and pleased to hear this news,” Wolff said.
Board Honors Bill Allen Sr.’s Life
The board of supervisors approved a resolution honoring the life of William “Bill” Allen, longtime director of the Accomack County Department of Parks and Recreation, who died Oct. 27. Supervisor Robert Crockett presented the resolution to the Allen family during Wednesday’s meeting.