By Linda Cicoira
Accomack and Onancock officials reached an agreement this week that will credit about $44,000 in fees overpaid by the county due to a defective meter for the Central Accomack Sewer System.
The amount is half what was initially requested by the county for charges paid between March 2017 and September 2018. Since then the county installed a new meter. The money will be credited for future charges, officials said.
Representatives of the two governments have been meeting to discuss the issue since May and determined a split of the bill was fair to both parties. Votes to that effect were made Monday by the town council and Wednesday by county supervisors. John Custis, Onancock’s lawyer, and County Attorney Cela Burge will review the current contract between the two entities so that future mitigations go smoothly.
In another matter, Zane Hadzick, of FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), presented a plaque to the supervisors to honor the county surpassing minimum standards in locally administrating the National Flood Insurance Program. Accomack has a rating of six, which Hadzick said is the highest in any jurisdiction and has saved more than 1,000 flood insurance policy holders $177,576 annually.
The supervisors also agreed to send a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam to ask for funds for Accomack schools to help the schools offer competitive wages to teachers, thereby increasing retention rates. In the Northern Virginia area, 18 school divisions receive the monies. “Accomack County faces many of the same obstacles,” according to agenda documents. “Accomack competes against lower Maryland localities, particularly Worcester County,” where “property values and per capita income are vastly superior.”
An update regarding the Northern Spur Water & Wastewater Project was given by Deputy County Administrator Stewart Hall. It involves extending services from Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital up the road to the Shore Bank building, behind Chesapeake Square Shopping Center to the pond near ANEC. Plans and specs have been written and pending agency reviews will be put to bid in February with bid openings in March. Hall said the project should be completed by the end of 2019.
“It’s going to open doors for that whole area,” Chairman Robert Crockett said. “It’s a huge investment for the county.”
Five of nine members of the Accomack Planning Commission were reappointed. The terms were set to expire at the end of the month. Those who were put back to work were Roy Custis, Lynn Gayle, David Lumgair, James Arnold, and Angela Wingfield.
Karen Emerson, of Onancock, was appointed to the Eastern Shore of Virginia Resource Conservation and Development Council to fill the unexpired term of David Vaughn, who resigned several months ago. The supervisors are still looking for someone to fill another seat that will become vacant when Kenneth Savage’s term expires Jan. 1.
“I believe the best thing available on the Eastern Shore of Virginia is its great environmental resources,” Emerson wrote in an application. “I would like to have an opportunity to help others appreciate what we have.”
Because of term limits, Gina Crockett was not eligible for another stint on the Eastern Shore Community Services Board. Eve Belote, of Melfa, expressed interest and was appointed.
It was also reported that full-time EMS staff were stationed at Melfa, Saxis, and Greenbackville Dec. 3. In addition, work on the county airport runway and lighting rehab project has been completed. The runway reopened Dec. 7.
Accomack officials were recently notified that property damage during Hurricane Florence did not meet the financial threshold for recovery from FEMA, County Administrator Mike Mason said. The road that washed out at Hillsborough, near Belle Haven, was damaged a couple of days prior to the storm, he said.
By Linda Cicoira