Published 10:17 am Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Members of the Heartland Regional Industrial Facility Authority voted during their Jan. 23 meeting to re-elect Gary Walker as chairman of the authority, Amelia County Administrator A. Taylor Harvie III as vice chair and Lunenburg County Administrator Tracy Gee as secretary. The roles of treasurer and fiscal agent would fall under the responsibilities of Charlotte County.
Walker asked if the board was interested in nominating other members for the positions.
“I would like to say it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you all had somebody else you were willing to do this stuff,” Walker said. “I’m willing but I’m not campaigning.”
Near the end of the meeting, members of the board discussed potentially installing a public comment period.
Charlotte County Administrator R.B. Clark introduced the subject.
“Economic development builds on itself,” Clark said, “this past year has found traction … and I say if we get into this new year and it continues to build on itself, then you get some strength in that economic development, makes us feel better about spending money.”
“This is a public entity, right?” Timmons asked. “It’s a political subdivision of the state, so it shouldn’t have public comment time.”
“That’s not a requirement in the state code,” Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett said. “Now there is a bill in the General Assembly this session.”
Bartlett questioned the idea, noting the authority operates differently than a board of supervisors meeting and suggested that public comment instead go to the respective counties.
“On the board of supervisors, there is a purpose because the citizens are the voters of that board of supervisors,” Bartlett said. “That’s not true in this organization. It’s a roundabout way, but the way to have public comment for the citizens would be back to their board because they don’t elect the members here.”
Clark spoke in favor of the installation.
“When I was in (Virginia Economic Development Partnership) VDEP, every time we had a meeting, the chairman asked for public comment,” Clark said. “Nobody else said a word in eight years, but he asked. I don’t know why. It wasn’t a requirement, but we did. It can’t hurt anything.”
Authority members said public participants will have three minutes to provide comment.
Clark noted that the discussion would need to be pertinent to the industrial park.
“I think it ought to be germane to the agenda,” Clark said.
Rather than making a motion to vote, Walker suggested to add the public comment period for the next meeting agenda. Representatives agreed that members of the public would have three minutes to speak during the public comment period.