Proposed mobile units for office cause stir among Supervisors

A plan to bring the Nottoway Voter Registrar’s Office back to the courthouse complex has been derailed and possibly ‘demolished’ by District Two Supervisor John Roark, who says the estimated $115,000 for mobile units would be a “waste of taxpayers’ money.”

Supervisor Roark also says the plan -- which includes razing the old Registrar’s office (Knott House) and placing two mobile units in its place -- would interfere with a space utilization study that proposes building a new Sheriff’s Office at that same location.

“I will NOT vote to approve this...If we can go over there and tear that building down and prep the site,” Roark declared at Thursday night’s Board meeting, “we can go over there and build a new Sheriff’s Department instead of throwing this money in the ditch and purchasing trailers.”

Supervisor Roark also suggested that such a dollar figure would be better spent digitizing boxes of files taking up space in the Administrator’s Office.

“We need to get to 2020,” Roark said, suggesting the office was behind the times.

Supervisor Steve Bowen said he’d like to see the Sheriff’s Office built where it’s more visible and that the former Registrar’s Office is such a location.

Supervisor Lynn Shekleton agreed. “I’m not comfortable with how this fits into the overall plan for the complex,” she said of the mobile units, calling them a “temporary fix.”

But Board Chair Helen Simmons said that with the COVID-19 pandemic and declining revenues, “We don’t know when we’ll be able to move forward” with a longerterm plan. She also said that currently -- because the Registrar’s Office is located inside the former Burkeville Elementary School -- the County is at the mercy of the School Board’s schedule.

Assistant Administrator John Prosise, who presented the plan, said Registrar Angela Stewart “finds the mobile units acceptable.”

Mrs. Stewart, who was in the audience, said “We would like to come back to Nottoway. We’re going to have to find a place.”

Bowen said the Sheriff’s Office has needed more space for years. “Walk in that Sheriff’s Office...It’s narrow...I don’t know how they even get through there with a weapon.”

Supervisor Roark suggested hearing more from the School Board on the division’s projected time frame for Burkeville Elementary, which some have suggested as a possible site for a new career technical education program.

Division Supt. Dr. Tameshia Grimes was in the audience and assured officials that no timeline is set for needing the Burkeville building. She said discussions are still ongoing with Amelia County regarding the Amelia Nottoway Technical Center (ANTC).

County Administrator Ronnie Roark said that no matter which office is built at the old Registrar’s site, an engineer will be needed because two sewer drainfields are located behind the former Registrar’s Office. “We don’t have any more land over there to dispose of waste.”

Registrar Stewart took the occasion to update Supervisors on the Nov. 2020 elections. “We are one hundred percent current -- every voter, every ballot, everything. We’re good by the State Dept. of Elections.”

Supervisors agreed to holdoff on making a decision until after a joint meeting with the School Board, which wants to meet with Supervisors to discuss a leaking roof at the ANTC and other issues.

Blackstone Courier Record

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