This week in county government; In busy meeting, BOS approves new solar site; TJPDC adopts affordable housing plan, discusses broadband funding; Electoral Board tentatively approves early voting hours
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This week in county government: public meetings, August 9-14
Wednesday, August 11
James River Water Authority, Fluvanna County Public Library, 214 Commons Blvd., 9 am. (agenda packet)
The James River Water Authority will gather for its monthly meeting on Wednesday morning with plans to approve bills and hear an update on the Army Corps of Engineers’ permitting process. JRWA’s permit application to build a water pump station along the James River at Rassawek, the ancestral capital of the Monacan Indian Nation, is currently on hold.
After reaching an agreement with the Monacan, the authority is now exploring the possibility of building the facility slightly upriver on a site dubbed the “Forsyth alternative.” The authority is acquiring permission from landowners for archeological field work and conducting other due diligence.
Louisa County Water Authority, Public Meeting Room, 1 Woolfolk Ave., 6 pm. At publication time, an agenda was not publicly available. (public notice)
Thursday, August 12
The Planning Commission meets on Thursday with two public hearings on the agenda. The commission also plans to continue a discussion about towing yards.
Cooke Rail Park proffer amendment: The commission will hold a public hearing and consider the Louisa County Industrial Development Authority’s request for a proffer amendment to a previous rezoning of 800 acres in the Cooke Rail Park. The park, zoned industrial, is located north of Davis Highway (Route 22) between Chalklevel Road (Route 625) and Chopping Road (Route 623) in the Mineral Voting District.
With the exception of one parcel, the property is designated for industrial use and included in the Mineral Growth Area in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
According to its land use application, the IDA is requesting the amendment to allow a utility scale solar facility to apply for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP).
Last year, the IDA signed a ground lease agreement with Twin Oaks Solar LLC covering approximately 800 acres of the park. The agreement allows Twin Oaks Solar up to five and a half years to conduct due diligence for the potential construction of a solar facility. The lease stipulates a $45,000 up-front payment to the IDA. If the facility is built, the company would lease the property for $700 an acre annually for the life of the solar array.
The facility would require approval from the Board of Supervisors via the CUP process. County planning staff held a neighborhood meeting regarding the proffer amendment on July 14, which no one attended.
Bio-Cat rezoning: Planners will hear public comment and consider approval of Microzyme LLC’s request to rezone 23.43 acres of a 24.585-acre parcel (tax map parcel 52-29) from Commercial (C-2) to Industrial (I-2 GAOD). The property is located southwest of the intersection of Three Notch Road (Route 250) and Poindexter Road (Route 613) in the Patrick Henry Voting District.
Microzyme is requesting the rezoning to expand the operation of Bio-Cat, a biotechnology company that has operated on the property for 30 years. The rezoning will allow the company to expand operations, adding a 30,000 square foot warehouse, drive aisles, and accessory parking. Microzyme estimates the expansion will accommodate about 20 additional employees. The rezoning would also provide space for the company’s future growth.
Bio-Cat announced plans to expand its operations earlier this year. The company has long produced enzymes for agricultural use and since branched out into manufacturing human-grade probiotics.
The property is designated mixed use and included in the Zion Crossroads Growth Area in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. About 1.1 acres, located across Route 250 from the rest to the parcel, is zoned agricultural (A-2) and not included in the rezoning request.
Defining towing yard: The commission will continue a discussion about how to define and address towing yards in Land Use Regulations. Planners had a lengthy conversation about the matter at their July meeting. In the end, they sent Community Development Director Robert Gardner back to the drawing board in his attempt to draft a definition for “towing yard,” which is currently left out of county code.
Gardner explained in a memo to the commission that several people approached the county with an interest in establishing a towing yard. Because Land Use Regulations do not define or address towing yards, they aren’t currently allowed. Code does define impound lot but Gardner argued that serves a different function than a towing yard.
In his latest effort to define and address “towing yards,” Gardner incorporates towing yards, impound and repo lots into one definition and suggests they could be permitted on property zoned industrial under a Conditional Use Permit.
Additional information about Louisa County’s upcoming public meetings is available here.
Interested in taking your talents to one of the county’s numerous boards and commissions? Find out more here, including which boards have vacancies and how to apply.
Supervisors approve School Bus Road solar facility, hear update on fiber project
The Louisa County Board of Supervisors held a busy meeting Monday night, green-lighting a 60-acre solar array off School Bus Road, an addition to the Yanceyville Agricultural and Forestal District, and a tax exemption for single-use logging equipment. In addition, the board passed a resolution to defund the Mineral Volunteer Rescue Station, citing the unit’s failure to maintain adequate service levels.
The board kicked off the meeting with a pair of presentations. Dr. Denise Bonds of the Blue Ridge Health District updated supervisors on Covid-19, the impact of the Delta variant, and local vaccination efforts. Firefly’s Gary Wood briefed the board on its effort to bring fiber internet to unserved areas. (meeting materials, video)
A quick meeting summary:
School Bus Road solar facility approved: Supervisors voted 6-1 to approve Energix Aditya LLC’s request for a Conditional Use Permit to construct and operate a 60-acre, 11MW solar array on a 95-acre parcel (tmp 42 86A) near the intersection of Davis Highway (Route 22) and School Bus Road (Route 767). The property is owned by Pam Harlowe and Melonie Donovan. Patrick Henry District Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes opposed the CUP.
Throughout much of the approval process, Energix faced strong opposition from School Bus Road residents. At a Planning Commission meeting in May, more than a dozen people spoke against the facility, citing concerns about traffic during construction, potential declines in property values, displacement of wildlife, and other negative impacts on their quality of life.
At Monday’s meeting, no one opposed the site. Donna Bates, a School Bus Road resident whose property adjoins the proposed facility, told the board that neighbors opted to formally withdraw their opposition.
“We have been working with Energix for several months on whether to put the plant in our neighborhood or not. None of us oppose solar plants. We know this is the way of the future. We know that and we understand that. We just had a problem with putting it in a residential neighborhood,” she said.
Energix officials held several meetings with neighbors along School Bus Road and representatives from the Louisa NAACP to discuss the project, answer questions, and hear community concerns. Energix representative Dominika Sink told supervisors that the company agreed to several community proffers.
Sink said Energix plans to conduct annual soil and water testing to alleviate neighbors’ concerns about contamination, provide a walking trail on the property, host an annual gathering for neighbors, and provide about $87,000 in scholarship money, via the NAACP, to descendants of adjacent property owners.
The company will also carry out a video assessment to document the conditions of nearby roads prior to construction. Post-construction, the company will review road conditions and complete necessary repairs. During construction, Energix will use temporary signage and flaggers to ensure road safety and utilize a water truck and wash station to clean tires as needed. Energix is also exploring the possibility of a secondary entrance to the site off Route 22. The main entrance will be off School Bus Road.
The Energix project is the fifth and smallest solar facility approved by the board. Of the other four, both Dominion’s 20MW White House facility, off Davis Highway, and 88MW Belcher project, off Waldrop Church Road, are operational. Dominion sent a letter to landowners around the Belcher site, dated July 26, noting that the facility has “reached substantial completion” and “is in operation delivering clean, renewable energy.”
Last year, the board approved the county’s largest facility to date: the yet-to-be constructed 244MW Aura project slated for nearly 1400 acres owned by Louisa District Supervisor Eric Purcell and his father, Charles. The Aura project adjoins the Energix site. Earlier this year, supervisors okayed SolUnesco’s 111-acre, 15MW Apple Grove solar facility off Route 33.
Significant stormwater runoff and sediment control issues have plagued Dominion’s sprawling 1300-acre Belcher facility, which encompasses part of Harris Creek. In March, the State Water Control Board fined Dominion $50,000 for the unauthorized discharge of sediment into streams and wetlands surrounding Harris Creek.
After heavy rains sent significant runoff into Harris Creek’s tributaries in early June, Dominion lobbyist Sarah Marshall formally apologized to the county. At the board’s June 7 meeting, Marshall said that significant rainfall “caused heavy flow and increased turbidity in the water at the Belcher solar facility,” noting that Dominion failed to adequately communicate with residents and the county regarding runoff and sediment control. She detailed a mitigation plan to address the issues and noted that Dominion representatives planned to meet with impacted landowners. In the July 26 letter, the company stated that work at the site “will continue to reclaim affected areas with adequate vegetation.”
Republican Willam Woody, who is challenging Patrick Henry District Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes in November’s election, raised the problems at the Belcher site at Monday’s meeting.
“There are questions about the tributaries and runoff. A perfect example is the Belcher project,” he said during the public hearing. “I went and stood in a field where the bottom land was basically destroyed by the runoff. (People) want to know that the citizens are being protected by the decisions made (by the board) now and in the future.”
Energix’s CUP includes a condition specifically addressing “soil stabilization,” which was amended during the meeting. The condition stipulates, in part, that the project must be developed in three phases “to ensure proper soil stabilization.” Phase one includes construction of an entrance and laydown area to support construction. Phase two requires the establishment of perimeter buffering and all temporary and permanent erosion, sediment, and stormwater management systems. Phase three consists of clearing and grubbing in the panel areas. Logging activity, which does not include the grubbing of stumps, is permitted at any time. All seeded areas require mulching or blanketing to ensure the establishment of vegetation. Energix also plans to have staff on site throughout construction to monitor its stormwater management system.
Note: This post has been corrected to reflect a July 26 letter from Dominion Energy stating that the Belcher solar facility is operational.
Board grants tax exemption for logging equipment: Louisa County loggers’ tax bills got a little bit cheaper Monday night as supervisors unanimously approved a personal property tax exemption for single-use logging equipment.
The exemption applies to machinery specific to logging like cutters and chippers. Trucks and trailers are not exempt. Louisa County already offers a tax break for farming equipment.
Ron Jenkins, Executive Director of the Virginia Loggers Association, was the lone speaker during the public hearing. He encouraged the board to adopt the exemption.
“We ask that you do this and we think it’s the strongest support you can give to our industry right now,” Jenkins said.
During a presentation in April, Jenkins told supervisors that local loggers have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic due to shutdowns and slowdowns at mills.
“This sector has the least leverage when mills slow down. Their product is unprocessed logs and there is no other market for that when there’s a mill slowdown,” Jenkins said Monday night.
After seconding the motion for approval, Mineral Supervisor Duane Adams, noted that agriculture and forestry have a $125 million economic impact on the local economy each year.
“This goes to the board’s commitment to the rural nature of the county and the ag and forestal economic base that we have here,” he said.
According to an estimate from the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office, the tax break could mean a $14,000 to $20,000 loss in revenue for the county annually.
Yanceyville AFD grows: Louisa County’s Agricultural and Forestal Districts continue to grow. At Monday’s meeting, supervisors approved the addition of 96.7 acres off Mount Airy Road to the Yanceyville AFD, which now includes eight noncontiguous parcels in south-central Louisa County. The property is owned by Mineral District Planning Commissioner John Disosway.
AFDs allow property owners to voluntarily prohibit development on farms and forestland for a 10-year period. The conservation tool has grown is popularity in Louisa County over the last several years. Since January, the county has added more than 10,000 acres to the districts.
In 2019, supervisors waived the $100 AFD application fee for a two-year period. Earlier this year, the Ag/Forestal and Rural Preservation Committee, which has been instrumental in advocating for the AFD program, asked the board to extend the waiver. Supervisors have not taken action on the request.
Firefly’s Wood updates supervisors on broadband plan: In March, Louisa County announced a partnership with Firefly, a subsidiary of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, and Dominion Energy to bring high-speed internet to every home and business in the county that wants it. At Monday’s meeting, Firefly’s Gary Wood provided a much-anticipated update on the project.
Wood told the board that Firefly is on pace to provide fiber internet access to all of CVEC’s Louisa County customers by the end of the year. The company’s Cash’s Corner and Zion substations are already in service. Construction is complete at the Henson Store substation and in-home connections are underway. Construction is ongoing for the Ferncliff substation and the Double Day substation, located across the county line in Orange, is next in the queue. Wood estimates that 2600 to 2800 of CVEC’s 3500 customers in Louisa have fiber access.
Firefly’s agreement with the county, REC, and Dominion will allow the company to bring fiber to customers beyond its service area. Firefly will act as the internet provider, using its own infrastructure as well as lines owned by Dominion and REC.
Louisa County is already seeing benefits from CVEC’s partnership with REC. Wood said that REC has begun “make-ready work” at its Shannon Hill substation and work at the Mount Hope substation will follow.
Dominion’s portion of the project requires approval from the State Corporation Commission. According to the current project timeline, the utility plans to submit an application to the SCC in early 2022. Wood said Dominion would begin work on middle-mile infrastructure prior to that as it’s confident in approval.
Wood estimated that there are over 11,000 residents and businesses in Louisa County that currently lack adequate access to high-speed internet and are considered unserved, as defined by the state. Reaching these customers will require 1,200 miles of fiber and a roughly $72 million budget. Louisa County pledged $15 million to the project in March.
To help cover the hefty cost, Firefly, in partnership with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (see below), plans to apply for funding via the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative, a state grant program working to bring high-speed internet to unserved areas.
Ahead of the grant application process, Firefly is developing its Regional Internet Service Expansion project (RISE) in cooperation with localities, Dominion, and REC. The initiative hopes to bring high-speed internet to more than 25,000 Virginians across a 12-county region.
As part of that project, Firefly is asking residents to fill out a survey and, in some cases, conduct a simple internet speed test to help determine which addresses are unserved. The deadline for the survey was August 7 but Wood indicated the company would accept submissions beyond that date. He noted that residents who don’t have reliable internet service at their home can take the survey anywhere and indicate their lack of service, adding that the survey is key to demonstrating which areas lack adequate internet speeds.
Wood is scheduled to speak again at the board’s September 7 meeting to discuss funding and secure the county’s backing for the regional project and VATI grant. He said that taking a regional approach to the grant process would likely help the application “score” higher and increase the chance for a sizable award. Firefly hopes to secure $50 to $60 million in VATI funds.
“This is a one-time opportunity because of the funding that’s been made available at the federal level and the state level to get this fixed,” Wood said. “We are committed to it and we are glad to a good partner in Louisa County.”
Defunding the Mineral Volunteer Rescue Station: With little public discussion, the board voted 6-1 to defund the Mineral Volunteer Rescue Station. The adopted resolution states that “while the County is grateful for Mineral Volunteer Rescue Squad's dedication, the entity has experienced recent challenges in its efforts to maintain reliable service levels, and career-staffed units are providing the majority of the response in the district.”
The resolution notes that the de-appropriation will not impact service in the area and volunteers at the Mineral Rescue Station are welcome to volunteer at other stations in the county.
According to County Administrator Christian Goodwin, supervisors pulled over $4,000 in funding remaining from the FY21 budget and more than $48,500 in FY22 funding. Goodwin said, via email, that the unit had answered 76 calls last calendar year and 34 this year.
In motioning to pass the resolution, Mineral District Supervisor Duane Adams said pulling the funds provides the station with “an opportunity to rebuild its volunteer base and get a fresh start.” He added that the funding loss doesn’t do away with the station or its charter.
Scot Newton, representing the Mineral Volunteer Rescue Squad, opposed the move during public comment. Newton said that the unit is working hard to rebuild after problems in the past. While he acknowledged a drop off in calls answered last year, he said the unit was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and pointed out that volunteers responded to well over 200 calls in both 2018 and 2019.
Mountain Road District Supervisor Tommy Barlow was the only board member to oppose the de-appropriation.
“I understand not spending taxpayer dollars when calls are not being answered. But, these stations have fluctuated over the years and I think the de-appropriation might send the wrong message to our volunteers,” he said.
Bonds briefs board on Covid, encourages vaccinations: Dr. Denise Bonds, Director of the Blue Ridge Health District, briefed the board on Covid-19’s resurgence locally and continuing efforts to increase vaccination rates.
Bonds said that after cases plateaued this spring, they are again on the rise in Louisa County and beyond. She attributed the resurgence to the highly-infectious Delta variant.
“What we’ve seen in the last few weeks is an upward trend in numbers. This is not unique to Louisa,” she said. “The Delta variant has proven to be quite a problem for us.”
Bonds said that the variant is far more infectious than the original Covid virus and even those who are vaccinated and may be asymptotic can carry a heavy viral load. She told the board that the best way to fight the virus is to get vaccinated and also encouraged mask-wearing indoors.
“I am here tonight to plead with everyone to get vaccinated if you haven’t been. The Covid vaccines are highly effective. They prevent hospitalization and death,” she said.
As of last Monday, 49.4 percent of Louisa residents have received at least one vaccination dose while 44.8 percent are fully vaccinated, Bonds said. Louisa ranks last among the BRHD’s six member localities in the percentage of vaccinated residents.
Bonds said that residents can get vaccinated at the Louisa Health Department every Tuesday without an appointment. She also noted that vaccines are available locally through CVHS, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Louisa Family Practice, Fork Union Family Practice, and Jefferson Pharmacy in Fluvanna.
BRHD has a mobile vaccination unit and public health workers are eager to travel to make vaccinations more convenient, Bonds said, noting that the agency needs community support to find locations to set up the mobile unit. Currently, the unit visits Lake Anna Tractor and Hardware every Friday afternoon.
In addition, the district conducts place-based vaccinations in partnership community agencies and organizations. BRHD is also working with UVa to vaccinate homebound residents.
For more information about getting vaccinated, call the Blue Ridge Health District’s hotline at 434-972-6261 or find the closest vaccination site to you by clicking here.
Barnes calls for committee to study workforce housing: Patrick Henry District Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes asked the board to form a committee tasked with exploring suitable sites for the development of workforce housing.
“I’ve been really concerned about our teachers, our firefighters, and our maintenance people being able to afford somewhere to stay,” he said, nodding to rising housing costs in the county.
In late July, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger secured $775,000 in federal funding for Ferncliff Place, a proposed mixed-income affordable housing community that Louisa County hopes to build in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville. The funding is included in a House appropriations package that has since moved to the Senate for consideration.
Barnes wants the committee to study the best location for such a community, noting that a developer might be willing to proffer land for affordable housing. In a phone conversation with Engage Louisa this week, Barnes said that his goal is to fully investigate all possible sites for workforce housing, including county-owned parcels, to ensure the best outcome.
Board chair Bob Babyok agreed to Barnes’ request. Supervisors plan to discuss the committee at their next meeting on Tuesday, September 7.
Board tables vote on BZA alternates: The board briefly discussed the possibility of appointing three alternates to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The seven-member BZA, which hears appeals of county zoning rulings, has faced challenges getting all its members to recent meetings.
While the BZA only requires a quorum to conduct business, Vallerie Holdings LLC, which has been contesting a county ruling regarding stairs and a deck that violate setback requirements, has declined to have its appeal heard by less than the full board.
State code allows for the appointment of alternates to the BZA. The board tabled a vote on selecting alternates, instructing County Attorney Helen Phillips to explore the process further and present her findings at the next meeting.
TJPDC briefed on broadband grant, adopts affordable housing plan
The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission gathered virtually Thursday night and considered a crowded agenda. Deputy Director David Blount briefed commissioners on TJPDC’s plan to apply for a Virginia Telecommunications Initiative grant, in partnership with Firefly, in an effort to deliver fiber internet to unserved areas. The commission also formally adopted the Regional Housing Plan, culminating four years of work on the project.
A couple highlights from the meeting:
TJPDC to apply for VATI grant: TJPDC plans to apply for a Virginia Telecommunications Initiative grant in partnership with internet provider Firefly, Deputy Director David Blount told the commission.
Via its Regional Internet Service Expansion project (RISE), Firefly, a subsidiary of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, is partnering with Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, Dominion Energy, and local governments to install fiber internet infrastructure across the region. Firefly will act as the internet service provider, using its own infrastructure and lines owned by Dominion and REC.
The grant could serve as a critical funding source for Firefly and its partners as they work to deliver fiber internet to thousands of unserved residents across 12 Central Virginia counties.
The General Assembly allotted $50 million for the VATI program in FY22, a significant increase in funding from previous budget cycles. But, with the influx of more than $4 billion in federal pandemic relief funds, courtesy of the American Rescue Plan Act, VATI’s resources will likely grow exponentially.
Governor Ralph Northam announced in July a $700 million commitment to expanding high-speed internet in rural areas. That allocation is included in a budget bill currently working its way through the legislature.
The General Assembly convened a special session on August 2 to appropriate ARPA funds. The House of Delegates and Senate are expected to vote on the final budget bill Monday.
TJPDC will act as the lead applicant and administer the grant if received. VATI guidelines require that government entities apply for funding in partnership with private internet providers.
The deadline for the VATI application is September 14, according to Blount. He said Firefly is currently conducting a public information campaign and survey to pinpoint unserved residents in the 12-county region, which stretches from Amherst to Madison and east to Goochland and Louisa, and includes all of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District. The state defines “unserved” as residents who can’t access internet speeds above 25 megabytes per second for downloads and three megabytes per second for uploads.
Blount said VATI grants are expected to be awarded by the end of the year.
Commission adopts affordable housing plan: The commission formally adopted the Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership’s affordable housing plan, “Planning for Affordability: A Regional Approach.” The plan was developed over a four-year period, using funding from Virginia Housing, and provides a roadmap to addressing the area’s housing needs and ensuring that “every resident can find access to safe, decent, affordable housing in communities of their choice.”
The plan draws on meetings with stakeholders, incorporates census data, and surveys localities’ land use policies to make recommendations on how best to address the affordable housing gap both regionally and in specific jurisdictions.
Regional Planner Nick Morrison, who was involved in developing the plan along with other TJPDC staffers and CVRHP board members, presented the document to the the board at Thursday’s meeting. He noted that in the coming year, TJPDC would provide support to localities interested in implementing the plan’s recommendations.
The plan recommends, in part, that government entities increase partnerships with local housing agencies to add to the stock of affordable units in the area. TJPDC Executive Director Christine Jacobs said that the commission was awarded a $2 million grant from Virginia Housing, which will enable it to work toward that goal.
The funding is designated for the development of 10 new affordable units for each $1 million and must be used in partnership with nonprofit, public, or for-profit developers. TJPDC will first identify local housing priorities, goals, strategies, and available resources then identify and select partners, Jacobs said. The commission will look for opportunities for innovation, eco-friendly, and universal design elements for the units.
Electoral Board discusses early voting hours, split shifts for some poll workers
The Louisa County Electoral Board gathered for its August meeting Wednesday morning and preparations for November’s elections took center stage.
A few meeting highlights:
Search for new Registrar’s office: Since at least late last year, Louisa officials have been on the hunt for a new home for the cramped Registrar's office. According to Registrar Cris Watkins, there may finally be progress in that search.
After informing the board at its July meeting that the Registrar’s office would stay put through November’s election, Watkins said Wednesday that, per County Administrator Christian Goodwin, officials are working on a plan and there should be news about a new office location by December.
The current office, located just off the main lobby in the County Administration Building, has long been used as a site for in-person absentee voting. When the Commonwealth shifted to a 45-day “no excuse” early voting period last year, the office proved too small to accommodate the onslaught of voters.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the board discussed how they will handle early voters in the upcoming election period. In July, the board decided that the County Administration Building would serve as the county’s lone early voting site but a final decision hasn’t been made on whether voting will take place in the Public Meeting Room, as it did last year, or in an adjacent space.
Early voting hours: The board voted unanimously to adopt the following voting hours for the early voting period, which kicks off September 17.
Friday, September 17 through Saturday, October 30 (Closed Monday, October 11, in observance of Columbus Day)
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Wednesday, October 20 and Wednesday, October 27, 8:30 am to 7:00 pm
Saturday, October 23 and Saturday, October 30, 9 am to 5 pm
Early voting location: Louisa County Administration Building, 1 Woolfolk Ave., Louisa
The board decided to extend voting hours to 7 pm the last two Wednesdays before Election Day (Tuesday, November 2) and left open the option of adding additional hours at its September meeting. Watkins and board members are keeping an eye on decisions made in neighboring localities regarding early voting hours in hopes of minimizing voter confusion.
Split shifts for some poll workers: The board unanimously approved changes to a longtime policy that requires all election officers to work the entire day on Election Day, prohibiting split shifts.
Board members opted to launch a pilot program that offers some election officers the option to work a half-day shift. Based on feedback from elections officers, the board believes the change might help attract new poll workers and keep other longtime workers on the job.
“Based on my conversations with several chiefs, the feeling is they would get more people to work,” Jeanne Wolf, the board’s vice chair, said.
“Let’s try to meet the needs of election officers,” Board Secretary David Koegle added.
State code allows some poll workers to work part of the day on Election Day but requires that poll chiefs and assistant chiefs remain on duty the entire day. Before launching the pilot program, Louisa County only allowed split shifts during the early voting period.
The board plans to discuss the policy with election officers during upcoming trainings and determine who is interested in working a half-day shift.
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