Ed. — Archived from the Sunday, April 11, print edition.
THE INDEPENDENT NEWS
COURTHOUSE — The Virginia Beach Agricultural Advisory Commission recently heard a briefing about canal and ditch projects in the rural southern city that are paid for, in part, by money from the city’s farmland preservation program, and it is possible the city, with input from locals, could change the prioritization of future projects.
Commissioners discussed the issue during a special meeting on Monday, March 15, after City Councilmember Barbara Henley raised concerns about costs and progress on projects. The commission meets next on Monday, April 12, though it is not certain the matter will come up again immediately.
The special meeting in March included a briefing led by Phillip J. Koetter, the acting director of the city public works department. Koetter said the southern canal and lead ditch capital program has about $2.4 million in funding, including $1 million from the stormwater utility program and $990,000 in funding from the Agricultural Reserve Program, or ARP, every year.
The meeting covered major projects, as well as work to maintain ditches along rural routes. Henley noted that some projects had not gone out to bid individually, though the larger general services contract through which such work is completed is bid out. The city may individually bid out one of the upcoming projects to see if that approach makes a difference in pricing.
Henley asked commissioners to reach out to the community to see what areas should be addressed. On Wednesday, April 7, she said she hopes to have a further discussion about prioritizing projects.
“That’s what I want to know out of that meeting,” Henley said.
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