Augusta County to appeal courthouse expansion decision, support employees and nonprofits

Augusta County to appeal courthouse decision before Staunton City Council

STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - In Augusta County, supervisors made some big moves Wednesday night.

Help is on the way for nonprofits and county employees, and plans for a courthouse expansion will be appealed to Staunton City Council.

The Augusta County Board of Supervisors is using two different pools of money to help those impacted by COVID-19.

Supervisors voted during a Wednesday night meeting to set aside $100,000 of CARES act money to help nonprofits. The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge will help dole out cash using a tiered award level based on nonprofit operating budgets before time runs out to use the funds.

“So you don’t have any time. So anybody’s who’s listening you gotta get this stuff in there right away. There’s no fiddling around,” cautioned Augusta County Supervisor Scott Seaton. “Don’t come at 12-15 and figure out if you’re gonna get this cause it won’t be there.”

Supervisors also voted for a one-time hazardous pay to county employees utilizing the year-end fund balance. County leaders had planned to give employees a 3% raise, but due to the impact of COVID-19 had to remove that from the budget. This move will give 238 full-time employees $2500 checks in November. Part-time employees will get half as much.

“All of our employees since the beginning of this pandemic have gone above and beyond,” said County Administrator Tim Fitzgerald. “Many have put themselves at risk daily out here in the community taking care of what we need to be taken care of.”

According to Fitzgerald, school leaders expect to consider something for their employees at a later time.

Arguably, the biggest vote of the night came when Supervisors unanimously decided to appeal this week’s decision by the Staunton Historic Preservation Commission to deny their Certificate of Appropriateness application for the five-story courthouse expansion in downtown Staunton.

Supervisor Michael Shull says without a solution, the issue could end up in front of the State Supreme Court in Richmond.

“There is one other option. The other option is we own the piece of land. We can tear the courthouse down and build one back on that spot,” said Shull. “So I hope that everyone will try to work together and work something out.”

Supervisors have 30 days to formally make that appeal to Staunton City Council.

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