Northampton receives additional funds

Published 5:27 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2022

JACKSON – At a special called meeting here on June 29, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved several capital project ordinances to receive funds for various projects.

Stepping in the for the county’s finance director who was unable to attend the meeting, former Interim Finance Director Doris Garner presented the information to the board for consideration.

The first capital project ordinance was for the workforce development housing project in Jackson. The commissioners have been working to push the project forward for the past few years to provide more housing in the area, particularly for local teachers.

“The total cost of the project is $3 million, and these revenues are expected to be received through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development,” Garner explained.

She also clarified that the federal funds are a grant, not a loan.

The second grant ordinance was for the Phase 6 Water/Sewer project, specifically for construction, installation and equipping of modifications, additions, and extensions to the water system in the county.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is providing the $5,002,800 in funding.

“This is a grant project,” Garner said. “However, the construction portion of this project will be done through a commercial loan. At the conclusion of the construction, it will then be conveyed to USDA.”

The Phase 6 project has been in the works for the past few years. Once complete, it’ll bring water to more than 200 households, many of which are located in the north and eastern parts of the county.

The third ordinance up for consideration was a revision of the one approved earlier this year for new courthouse construction. In addition to the $14 million grant allocation from the state, Northampton County will also receive $5 million in federal funding from USDA.

Board Chair Charles Tyner said at a meeting earlier this year that the anticipated extra $5 million would be used to add an annex to the building to house the county’s tax department, Register of Deeds, and other administration offices. The vacated buildings after the move will then be utilized for expansion of the Sheriff’s office and the health department.

A groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the new courthouse was held in December 2021. The new building, which will be located on a 10-acre parcel on Jefferson Street (Highway 158) in Jackson, will include secure entrances and a secure elevator along with different offices, a multipurpose room, two courtrooms (able to seat 160 people each), and more.

The final ordinance for consideration was for the Gaston Wellness Center project, another project which has been in the works for the past few years. Unlike the others, however, the money received for this project will be a loan from USDA.

“We are expected to receive $10 million,” Garner reported.

That money will be appropriated to be used for engineering services, planning, legal and administrative services, and construction.

The board of commissioners have said in previous meetings that the goal of the project is to building a conference center on the site, located on Edwards Beach Road in Henrico, to provide access to county-sponsored recreation and wellness programs to citizens in the western end of the county. According to conceptual architecture designs, the building will also be able to house satellite offices for some county departments, including the health department, sheriff’s office, and department of social services.

The commissioners motioned to approve all four ordinances, and each vote was unanimously in favor.