Accomack Endorses Equal Rights Amendment

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By Linda Cicoira — Accomack supervisors unanimously agreed Wednesday to urge the General Assembly to vote in favor of Virginia ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). 

They also approved more than $1 million in carryover funds for the school division, including $210,000 for a contingency fund, a previous contention between the supervisors and the school board because the supervisors said the county rainy day fund could provide for the division in the case of an emergency. No one spoke at the public hearing. The policy to allow the appropriation was approved by the board last year.

The action regarding the school and the ERA vote came without fanfare or discussion. An ERA resolution that was prepared was not read aloud as resolutions sometimes are. Instead, it was linked electronically in a grouping of other matters merged for a single vote in what is usually a timesaving effort.

Later in the session, both County Attorney Cela Burge and Vice Chairwoman Reneta Major spoke about it.

“I just wanted to thank the board that we are in agreement about the ERA,” said Major, who brought up the matter last month. “It was prudent for us to go on record. Not just because our neighboring county did, but because we wanted to be part of that history-making as well.” Major was referring to last week’s action by the Northampton supervisors.

The state Senate approved ratifying the amendment Tuesday, in a 26 to 14 vote. The measure has gone to the House, where it failed last year. If approved, Virginia would become the 38th state or the last needed for ERA to become ratified. Opponents say the amendment can’t be passed because it missed the 1982 deadline.

Burge said the House sent it to the Privileges and Elections Committee Wednesday. That panel will meet Friday (today), she added.

The supervisors also appointed David Lumgair, of Craddockville, to the county’s Economic Development Authority to the position left vacant by the resignation of Chairman Wesley Edwards which was announced in an email last week without explanation. Jack Tarr, of Chincoteague, was reappointed to the panel.

The supervisors also supported a grant application for the new library in Parksley. They dedicated $2 million for the project and approved the figure being used to obtain matching funds. Supervisor Paul Muhly reported the library board plans to meet on Feb. 25 to order construction plans before bids will be solicited. 

Chairman Donald Hart complained about the former Central High School building in Painter being derelict with windows being broken out. “I wish we’d never sold it,” he said. Supervisor Harris Phillips said Bloxom Elementary, which also no longer belongs to the county, was in the same condition. They asked county staff to contact the owners to ask if they would fix the problems.

The board authorized grant applications to the Virginia Port Authority for $125,000 each for Quinby and Greenbackville harbors. The money would be used to replace deteriorated docks and bulkheads.

The board granted extensions for two conditional use permits that will allow more time for SunTec to start construction on its 180-acre solar project in Tasley. Two longtime Eastern Shore families, the Nordstorms and the Van Kesterens, are working on a plan that will allow Hog Island sheep to graze between the panels. A spokesperson reported they were trying to find ways to bring costs down and that the project had taken longer than anticipated.