Board OKs money for sheriff

Shenandoah County’s next budget now includes federal asset-sharing money for the sheriff.

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to amend the fiscal 2016 budget appropriation to include asset forfeiture or sharing funds. The board approved giving just over $1 million from the funding source to Sheriff Timothy C. Carter. The resolution increases the total county budget to $110.02 million.

Supervisors Cindy Bailey and Marsha Shruntz voted against the motion to approve the resolution. Chairman David Ferguson, Vice Chairman Conrad Helsley and Supervisors Steve Baker and John R. “Dick” Neese voted in support of the resolution.

The Sheriff’s Office receives asset forfeiture funds through joint operations with federal law enforcement agencies. The sheriff must ask the Board of Supervisors for the money and he provides the board with a detailed list of how he would spend the funds.

Carter made several changes to his request removing items and thus decreasing the amount of money he seeks. Much of the discussion at the meeting Tuesday focused on the sheriff’s request to spend some of the money on data collection software that deputies and police officers with the towns would use at the processing center at the former county jail in Woodstock.

Last month the board adopted the fiscal 2016 budget but did not include asset forfeiture funds in the appropriations after Helsley raised questions about Carter’s request, specifically about some of the different categories in which the sheriff plans to spend the money. Bailey and Shruntz at the time also voted against the budget appropriation resolution, citing their opposition to the amount the county and the school system would spend in the next fiscal year.

Also at the meeting, supervisors:

  • Denied a request by the Edinburg Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses to refund $1,435 in fees paid to the county for building permits. The board voted 4-2. Ferguson and Baker voted in support of the request. Bailey, Helsley, Neese and Shruntz voted against the request. The organization recently reconstructed their place of worship north of Edinburg. A resolution adopted by supervisors in 2006 allows religious groups such as churches to request a refund of such permit fees within a certain number of months after paying the charges.

    Supervisors debated whether or not to grant the refund because the organization made the request after the deadline. However, the board has in the past granted a refund made after the deadline. The board discussed the request at its work session Thursday and members agreed to consider rescinding the refund policy altogether.

    Ferguson argued that the county didn’t have a good system in place to notify groups who might be eligible for the refund. Ferguson said it’s inappropriate to penalize the Edinburg group when the board has granted the refund, even after the deadline, in the past.

  • Approved a five-year lease agreement with Edinburg allowing the town to use approximately 1.7 acres of land as a public dog park as proposed by a local group. The land is part of the larger tract associated with the former Edinburg School now operating as Charterhouse UMFS. The land is included within the existing lease agreement between the county and Charterhouse.
  • Voted 5-1 on a resolution approving the Virginia Retirement System Hazardous Duty Retirement Multiplier. The resolution increases the multiplier from 1.7 percent to 1.85 percent. The multiplier is a factor used to determine how much of an employee’s average final compensation will be used to calculate his or her retirement benefit. The increase takes effect July 1. The fiscal 2016 budget includes $69,039 to cover the increase. Bailey voted against the resolution.
  • Voted 6-0 approving a request by the Shenandoah County Historical Society to place a memorial sign for the Alms House on county park property in Maurertown at a cost of $4,927 to cover design and installation. The money will come from unspent funds in the current budget for the cost of county farm utilities. The county lost the historic Alms House in a fire in April 2014. The Alms House served as a place for the county’s poor and later as the home for the Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter and area homeless people.
  • Voted 6-0 to schedule a public hearing on a proposal to move the Toms Brook area polling location from the Toms Brook Volunteer Fire Department to the Round Hill Church of the Brethren.
  • Voted 6-0 to rescind the board’s policy of granting refunds to certain organizations for permit fees paid to the county

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com