The Jan. 7 Craig County Board of Supervisors meeting marked the first for newly elected members Rusty Zimmerman of the Craig City District and Casey McKenzie of the Craig Creek District.
Simmonsville District representative Martha Murphy was appointed as chairwoman of the board, and New Castle representative Jesse Spence as vice chairman.
Though he was not in attendance at the meeting, former chairman Fred Craft was honored with a plaque, as well as former board member Keith Dunbar. David Fridley, the county’s retired animal control officer, was also honored with a plaque of service.
Several motions were approved by the board, including one in support of New Castle Town Council’s proposed Main Street resolution. Through the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the town will be adding additional marked parking spaces on Main Street. The project will include handicap parking spaces, crosswalks, as well as a two-hour parking limit.
“My understanding is that businesses located on Main Street petitioned the council asking that this action be taken,” said Craig County Administrator Clay Goodman. “They’re trying to address some parking issues, because of the lack of patrol, parked vehicles can be there for a long period of time.”
However, some members, including newly elected sheriff Trevor Craddock, expressed that two-hour parking may be difficult to patrol, due to limited deputy resources.
“The good news is that there is a parking issue in New Castle,” Goodman added. “I’ve worked in communities where unfortunately it wasn’t an issue, because there wasn’t a lot of activity. I think town council is trying to address expansion, and move forward in a constructive way to help small businesses.”
The project will most likely begin in the spring, after the road is resurfaced.
In other news, Phyllis Sizer of the electoral board addressed the board regarding a change in voting precincts. During the November election, when the county had to purchase new voting machines, a couple of polling location merged. Due to unfit conditions and lack of handicap accessibility, Sizer hopes to move the Marshalls Store Precinct to Bethel United Methodist Church. The precinct will not be ready by the March 1 precinct, but will be ready for the next general election, and for a potential June primary.
The board passed a resolution seeking continued operation of Catawba Hospital. Goodman said the situation came to the board’s attention by a former board member who was an employee of Catawba Hospital. Tom Gates, the Roanoke County administrator, passed a similar resolution, as the hospital is technically located in Roanoke County.
However, due to the high volume of hospital workers from Craig County, the board thought it was appropriate to pass a resolution of their own.
“It is a major employer, but also provides needed and important mental health services to Roanoke County, and not only that area, but this region,” Goodman said.
The resolution will be forwarded to Del. Greg Habeeb.
Also at the meeting, Craddock, who currently only has six deputies on his force, voiced his support for making the new animal control officer a sworn deputy position. The resolution passed.
“It would basically provide the sheriff’s office with and additional sworn deputy,” Goodman added. “We would still have the need for the animal patrol officer duties to be filled.”
The officer would still need to complete the 32 weeks of training required to become a sworn deputy. Craddock and Goodman agreed that it makes sense, because not only will it provide an additional deputy, but that it will allow the animal patrol officer to be armed, and allow them to address issues as soon as they arrive on the scene, rather than wait for another officer to show up. Animal patrol would remain the officer’s primary duty.
Finally, Craig County Emergency Services was awarded a grant to purchase a new ambulance. The board sought the grant through the Western Virginia Emergency Medical Services Council, for an amount of $219,831.20, based on 80 percent state revenue, and a 20 percent local match. The funds have officially been appropriated, and now the vehicle will be ordered. The county will keep their current 2002 vehicle as a backup.
The FY 2017 County Budget Schedule was reviewed by the board, and must be adopted by June 30.
The next Craig County Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 4.