This was a relatively short meeting, but a lot was said. Here are some of the highlights:
- Floyd Thomas: attended dedication of Loving monument in Richmond, which he called a “wonderful ceremony and a great tribute”. Thomas spoke with Peggy Loving, sole survivor of Richard and Mildred Loving, and they were both disappointed that the ceremony not held in Caroline. According to the Department of Historic Resources (DHR), an email that was sent from either Mr. or Mrs. Sili was the reason for moving the monument. “Whether we agree or not, this is about Caroline recognizing the sacrifice of a county son and daughter”. Thomas asked for another ceremony to be held in Caroline.
- Clay Forehand: gave an update of a regional alliance. No buildings over 100,000 square feet are currently available for purchase, but there are 40 acres of pad-ready sites in the region. Caroline has had some “troubles” selling land to manufacturers and factories. “We have a need as a jurisdiction to grow”.
- Jeff Sili: Mark Loving (Peggy’s son) was the only person contacted by DHR in the past 18 months, not Peggy Loving herself. As a constituent, he reached out to Sili for help contacting DHR and making sure that the plaque was as Richard and Mildred Loving would have wanted it. Mark Loving was asked for text of plaque, but he never agreed on the text that was proposed and said that the plaque should not go up. DHS could not get Peggy to respond for her opinion on text. DHR made the location decision on their own. Mark did not want text and neither did his grandmother.
- Reggie Underwood: offered condolences for Sgt. Blandenburg (spelling/name questionable), whose wife recently passed away. Underwood made clear that even though there had been some strong and passionate words between himself and Sheriff Lippa, they are not enemies and he continues to support sheriff’s office. He also stated that he will not tolerate racial slurs or comments from anyone “because it has no place”.
- Nancy Long: thanked everyone who voted in VA primary. “It was my sad honor a few weeks ago to attend, along with Mr. Forehand, the funeral of one of our firefighters. It was a lovely service and a good turnout.”
- Jeff Black: (continuing about funeral) Firefighter Johnson’s service was very powerful and very moving. He heard comments from some attendees that it was the best service for a firefighter that they had ever attended. Update on fireworks: Black has been meeting with Dr. Parker (school superintendent) and the Caroline County Chamber of Commerce; the Chamber is trying to work with some other 501-3cs to raise money for a fireworks display for July 4, 2018; Dr. Parker offered the use of Caroline High School for the display. County needs to pay fire/rescue/police for event.
- Resolutions and public comments:
- Recognition of Boy Scout Troop 1421 for Mattaponi River Cleanup
- Cleaned up trash and litter along shoreline and marsh, accessed through boat launch area. Two truckloads of trash, 12-15 tires, a car bumper, and a 100lb bird bath were removed. It was described as “hard work, but good to see people immediately using the area”. Stream Sweepers organized event and provided gloves and equipment for cleaning.
- Kevin Whiteman, County Building Inspector: MC Dean contacted Whiteman looking for students and graduates who are qualified for 60 jobs as electricians, plumbers, etc. MC Dean would provide job training, though not certification to be independent contractors.
- Consideration of the Reduction or Elimination of All FRED Transit Service in Caroline County:
- Several citizens, local board and committee members, as well as FRED employees spoke in support of keeping the system in Caroline. There were many verbal and written pleas for those unable to drive or with physical/mental impairments. A large portion of the FRED ridership in Caroline uses the bus to access work or healthcare on an almost daily basis.
- Currently, a $102,000 investment from BOS funds FRED in Caroline, but a fee increase fro $1 per ride to $1.25 per ride would mean less of an investment from the county next year. In Caroline, 3,500 residents have access, but only about 25 use the buses. Sili asked if money given to FRED should instead go to school systems. Underwood spoke of a county resident he knows personally who has to walk 1.45 hours to work, even in extreme Summer heat, and asked BOS to consider that “we owe a debt of service to our community” and that it is “not about the money, but about the good that we do.” Long called for the system to remain, but to be made more efficient with either more routes and times, or better use of the ones currently in existence, along with better advertisement.
- Currently approaching end of 5 year agreement; Long moved to enter into a 1-year contract and research better advertising and route improvements; all approved.
- Request from Caroline Library, Inc. for Library to Become a County Department:
- Amy Lily, director of Caroline Library, Inc.: the Library Board of Directors recently voted unanimously to request that BOS make the library a county department. This action would eliminate the library board and be similarly run to Parks & Rec.; Charles Culley explained that the library would benefit from employee services and have a better system to file grievances; Long had spoken with library board members, who expressed a need for the Friends of the Caroline Library to continue to exist for fundraising and community involvement. Sili asked for a unanimous resolution from the library board in writing to present to the General Assembly to move forward. Takeover, if approved, would be July 2018.