With the Clarke County Board of Supervisors already well into the budget planning cycle, the lawmakers spent a portion of Monday’s work session discussing two projects with big price tags; a proposed regional park and a citizen’s recycling convenience center.
Both projects are in the Supervisor David Weiss’s Buckmarsh voting district and Weiss said today that the County needs to decide by June on whether or not to accept a no-cost lease at the Stuart M. Perry Quarry site just east of Berryville for the recycling convenience center.
“We need to decide what we’re going to do and let Mr. Perry know” Weiss said.
But although the 20-year lease for the trash collection and recycling center site is being offered as a no-charge courtesy by quarry owner Denny Perry, little else about the project will be cheap. An engineering firm retained by the County to design the recycling center has estimated that the project will cost $500,000 for site preparation and equipment purchase. In addition, the recycling center would need to be staffed during its hours of operation.
“The key to success is having someone there who can develop a rapport with the citizens while monitoring what is being brought in” said Supervisor Bev McKay (White Post). “That way the person can explain where to take items for disposal that aren’t allowed in recycling center.”
But even though the convenience center would make recycling easier for residents in the northeastern section of Clarke County, the high cost likely means that the project will be pushed into the future.
“My concern is the cost of the project” said Supervisor Michael Hobert (Berryville).
Supervisor John Staelin (Millwood) also seemed concerned about the County’s growing budget wish-list. Staelin said that he doubted that the convenience center funding would be included in this year’s budget. If not, Staelin said, the County could still exercise the current no-cost lease option while budgeting the funding into future fiscal years.
The Supervisors also turned their attention to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority’s (NVRPA) proposal for a riverside battlefield park along the Shenandoah.
Supervisor David Weiss asked if it made sense to continue talking about the park given what he described as strong public sentiment against the facility.
“I have received hardly any positive responses for the park” Weiss said. “Before we go down the long road of discussing roads and other aspects do we need to make a policy decision on whether we want to spend the future money that a park will cost?”
The Supervisors, who expect to hear back from NVRPA executive director Paul Gilbert on concerns raised about the park at a recent public meeting, agreed to continue moving forward with the review process and plan to consider Gilbert’s expected February 16th responses at their next public meeting on February 21st.
Due to the high level of public interest in the park proposal, an already scheduled public hearing on a different topic will be heard at the Joint Government Center and, if necessary, the park information meeting may be moved to a larger and yet-to-be-determined location after the already-advertised public hearing.