County extends lease on Clary compactor site

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County leaders bought more time Tuesday for residents who use the trash compactor site near Strasburg.

The Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 at its meeting to enter into an amended lease with Patricia Hockman and Hockman Farms LLC that allows the county to use approximately 18,000 square feet of property at 3377 John Marshall Highway, north of town. Hockman Farms covers approximately 144 acres near the Clary community.

The amended lease calls for a change in the term to one year and an increase in the monthly rental rate from $500 to $700, Vice Chairman Richard Walker said. Chairman Conrad Helsley commented on the reason the board considered extending the lease.

“What this does is allows us more time to look at sites we maybe already have looked at and evaluate a little better and take some of the pressure off what we may or may not do in the future,” Helsley said.

The board’s action comes as county officials try to keep convenience sites in operation on private property. The county recently closed its convenience site in the St. Luke area when the property owners decided not to renew the lease. The county has since restored the property to pasture land as required under the lease.

County Administrator Mary T. Price stated in an email Wednesday that officials and the board have met in closed session to discuss potential sites in an effort to find a replacement for the St. Luke facility.

Leases with the Hockmans for the Clary site and the owners of the St. Luke property expired Dec. 31, 2016. While the owners of the property in St. Luke chose not to renew the lease, the Hockmans allowed the county to continue to use the Clary facility through Dec. 31 this year while officials and the board looked for another site, Price said.

The lease period with Hockman Farms begins Jan. 1 and ends Dec. 31, 2018. The lease allows the county to construct and maintain improvements, with the landlord’s approval, that enhance the appearance or operation of the center. The agreement also allows, but does not require, the county to install a 6-foot-high fence around the site that restricts public access to the rest of the landlord’s property.

At the beginning of the meeting, supervisors voted to add to the agenda a closed session in which the board intended to discuss the possible acquisition of property to replace the Strasburg area trash compactor site. The board came out of the closed session, voted to add approval of the lease to the agenda and then took action on the agreement.

Also at the meeting, supervisors voted to:

• Allocate almost $65,000 to the Sheriff’s Office to cover salary increases for agency employees. The board voted at its Aug. 8 meeting to allow for an increase of up to $65,000 for the salary increases, of which up to $40,000 would come from the county’s general fund. The sheriff’s asset forfeiture fund would cover up to $25,000 of the cost. The sheriff also said at the time that the asset forfeiture funds would cover fringe benefit increases associated with the salary changes. Information provided to the board Tuesday shows the county would use $40,000 from the unassigned fund balance and $22,982 from the asset forfeiture fund to cover law enforcement salary increases with $1,758 from the asset fund to pay for the fringe benefits.

• Approve a resolution of recognition for the Shenandoah County high school chapters of the Future Farmers of America. The resolution recognized the students’ participation in the state competition at Virginia Tech this past summer and the national competition in Indiana in October. Participants who received state and national recognitions attended Strasburg, Central and Stonewall Jackson high schools. Helsley and District 2 Supervisor Steve Baker helped recognize the FFA participants from Strasburg and Central high schools who appeared at the meeting.