Board weighs recycling, not reorganization

At its monthly meeting Jan. 7, the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors elected its officers and representatives to other organizations, discussed plans for the money gathered from a donation form attached to county tax bills and debated the overhaul of the county’s recycling method.

Roger Welch was re-elected the board’s chairman and its representative to the Rappahannock Regional Commission. S. Bryant Lee remains the board vice-chair.

Ron Frazier continues as the board’s Planning Commission and Fire Levy Board representative, while Chris Parrish is the supervisors’ representative to the Rappahannock River Basin Commission. Parrish also serves on the Public Safety Committee with Mike Biniek.

An extra $10K

County Administrator John McCarthy informed the supervisors that the donation form attached to county property tax bills since April brought $10,481.45 in donations to the county.

The form also allows donors to request a category for their money to be spent on; McCarthy said the “no preference” category received more than $3,900, the most of any category. Other highly requested categories included schools, which received $3,500, and law enforcement, which received $1,900 in donations.

Under Virginia law, none of the donors’ requests can be binding, but the supervisors agreed last year that following donors’ wishes as much as possible would be their preference. McCarthy said he would prepare a report on possible ways to spend the donations in time for next month’s supervisors meeting.

Recycling with Fauquier?

One way that money might be put to use is paying some of the costs of the county’s proposed new recycling plan. McCarthy explained that the best way to reduce recycling costs would be to combine the county’s recycling with that of another county – preferably one that moves a larger volume of material.

“Fauquier County is very willing to do this,” McCarthy said Monday. Rappahannock’s neighbor to the east has almost 10 times the 7,000 inhabitants of this county.

Currently the county’s recycling is hauled away into Culpeper. Fauquier wouldn’t charge for disposal, McCarthy said, only to haul the material away (around $50 per load). Fauquier would also accept a wider variety of recyclable materials – including more types of plastic and fence wire – that Culpeper does not.

McCarthy said the county would have to purchase 10 roll-off recycling containers to make the plan viable. Nine containers would continually be in use, while one was kept empty as a spare. McCarthy said the containers would cost $6,000 each, but after that initial investment, the operation would save them enough money to make the recycling program “revenue neutral.”

“This sounds like the only responsible thing to do,” said Parrish. The new plan could be in effect as early as spring, McCarthy said.

The supervisors also unanimously passed a resolution of appreciation to Laura Overstreet, the recently retired tourism director hired four years ago to coordinate efforts to raise the county’s profile among potential visitors. “Laura did a tremendous job,” said Biniek. “There’s no doubt she will be sorely missed.”

Welch echoed Biniek’s sentiments as he signed the resolution. “Laura did a fantastic job. The results are really obvious if you look at the statistics over the last five to six years.”

The board also heard a request from Pay Snyder, president of RappCats, a local nonprofit that works to rescue, rehabilitate and find homes for stray cats in the county. Snyder pointed out that Rappahannock has a dog shelter, but not one that can take stray cats. Despite RappCats’ best efforts – they spay or neuter around 100 cats annually – Snyder said it’s a numbers game they can’t win. “There are just too many cats in the county for us to help.

“It’s not fair to people in the county because if they find a [stray] cat, their options are either to feed it or just ignore it,” Snyder continued. “There’s nothing the county can do to help.”

Snyder’s idea is to establish a small, privately run cat shelter to house many of the area’s cats, similar to the Rappahannock Animal Welfare League’s privately run dog shelter (to which the county contributes an annual contracting fee). Snyder also pointed out that of the 109 counties in Virginia, only 12 of them do not have cat shelters.