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BY DONNIE JOHNSTON
In an unconventional move, the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to use Virginia Department of Transportation revenue-sharing money to fund the paving of secondary roads.
The supervisors voted 6-0 to seek $1 million in revenue-sharing funds for fiscal 2014. The county would add $1.1 million in local dollars in order to pave parts of five secondary roads, some of which have been on the six-year plan for two decades.
"Very few counties do this, but VDOT is very much in favor of the idea," said County Planner John Egerston. "Certainly for us it would be a new approach."
Since the economy took a downturn in 2007, VDOT has been drastically cutting back on funding for secondary road projects. This year, according to Egerston, Culpeper was allocated only about $128,000, barely enough to pave a quarter-mile of the county's 129 miles of gravel roads.
For Supervisor Sue Hansohn, Tuesday's vote was the first victory in a long battle.
"I've been trying to get some of these roads paved since I got on the board 17 years ago," she said after the meeting.
For several months, since it was determined that construction of the Western Outer Loop was fully covered with revenue-sharing funds, Hansohn has been pushing the idea of using revenue-sharing money for secondary roads.
"I don't think we can wait until times get better," she told her fellow supervisors yesterday. "In fact, we don't know how much longer VDOT revenue-sharing money will even be available."
Egerston came up with a list of five stretches of road that VDOT says it can pave in 2014 for $2.1 million. They include State Routes 681 (Jacob's Ford Road), 751 (Dragoon Road), 716 (Whippoorwill Lane), 626 (Holly Springs Road) and 746 (Settletown Place).
Egerston said all those roads meet the "rural rustic projects" criteria, which means that they can be paved with minimal realignment and without any new right of way purchases.
The board also discussed the possibility of seeking the maximum $10 million in VDOT revenue-sharing funds in future years to tackle more secondary road projects.
Supervisor Bradley Rosenberger was absent Tuesday because his grandson was undergoing surgery.
In other action, the board voted 6-0 to:
Appropriate $67,000 to fund upgraded employee pay scales.
Implement changes in towing policies, including uniform maximum towing charges.
Hold a public hearing on a new ordinance that would help comply with state methamphetamine lab cleanup rules.
Spend a maximum of $46,000 to upgrade the sound and video capabilities in the board room.
County Administrator Frank Bossio reminded