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The Board of Supervisors’ new to-do list contains eight items to work on throughout the next fiscal year.
County Administrator Rhu Harris introduced a list of Fiscal Year 2014 initiatives at the board’s Feb. 13 meeting. The supervisors voted unanimously to adopt them that afternoon.
The first item is to develop school and county capital plans using the debt service plan.
The county and schools debt service will decline significantly over the next five years, Harris explained, so the time to figure out how to reinvest those dollars is now.
The county has had to postpone several substantial capital projects since the economic recession began, including a new courts building.
Next on the list is the completion of the Comprehensive Plan update.
The Planning Department and Planning Commission have been working for several months on a new draft of the county’s chief land use and growth management document. It’s now at the point where it’s ready to be shown at a series of public workshops throughout Hanover so the commission can solicit feedback. The first is scheduled for 7 p.m., Feb. 26 at Hanover High School.
Harris said staff anticipates a formal Planning Commission public hearing on the Comp Plan sometime this spring. Early in FY14, which begins July 1, the plan should be passed on to the board for its consideration.
The Planning Department devotes a page of its website to the Comp Plan update, at www.co.hanover.va.us/planning/compplan2012.htm, and it has also set up a Facebook page focused on the update process.
The third FY14 initiative is to continue implementing new Chesapeake Bay and stormwater management regulations.
Harris said it will be a challenge to meet the infrastructure improvements mandated by the state and federal governments.
Much “uncertainty” still hangs over these regulations, he said.
“The rules and regulations are being written as we speak, but we do know that during the course of Fiscal Year 14 that those rules and regulations will be finalized and codified, and that we will need to bring back to you a proposal by which to meet the demands of the Chesapeake Bay stormwater requirements,” he explained.
For initiative number four, the county and schools will explore additional opportunities to share services.
Harris said the joint education committee has been looking for opportunities for efficiencies between the organizations. Currently, the focus is on the potential to consolidate finance and procurement activities.
“I think we will both see at the School Board level as well at the county level that that will be recommended to you as part of your upcoming budget process,” Harris said.
“There are other things out there that we feel are worthy of exploration. Can we find more efficiencies? Can we find ways to help serve each other in any number of other opportunities?” he added.
The human services strategic plan is due for an update, as it’s nearing the end of a five-year cycle.
“The demands for our human services agencies have really changed in the past four-plus years, and this will be an opportunity, I think, to look at what those changes have meant to us and how we can address those going forward,” Harris said.
Economic development is the focus of another initiative, which is to increase the local inventory of commercial property.
“We have quite a few businesses that are interested in Hanover, but our shelves of what to offer them are very, very limited,” Harris said. “We would like to come back and propose to you, hopefully, some ways to add product to those shelves.”
Hanover is currently in the process of trying to extricate itself from the U.S. Department of Justice’s election pre-clearance requirements under the Voting Rights Act. Staff expects this process to conclude in the summer, making it the next initiative for FY14.
Harris said that all the necessary information will be sent to DOJ in the near future, and the Justice Department will then conduct its preliminary review. Eventually, Hanover would hold a public hearing and petition the court.
The final initiative on the list is one recommended by Chickahominy Supervisor Angela Kelly-Wiecek, and that’s to update the county’s information technology (IT) strategic plan.
“New technologies and capabilities are certainly out there and have, again, changed our world considerably,” Harris said, noting the current plan runs until FY14.
Beaverdam Supervisor Bucky Stanley commented, “Some of these we have to do, but I see some really good things in this as far as schools working together with the county and the county working with the schools.”