Northern Neck News

Follow Northern Neck News on Facebook and Twitter and visit our website CONNECT S e r v i n g t h e ‘ H e a r t o f H i s t o r y l a n d ’ s i n c e 1 8 7 9 • J u n e 1 6 , 2 0 2 1 • W a r s a w , V a . INSERTS WEEKEND WEATHER LOCAL $1.00 Weekend Forecast Friday Saturday Sunday See FLOOD, page A5 86°/70° 91°/69° 85°/68° Richmond County received $876,000, the first half of its fund- ing from the American Rescue Plan. A second tranche in the same amount is expected in early 2022, bringing the grand total to over $1.75 million. Localities have been given broad flexibility to decide how to use the money to best address the needs in their communities. Some uses outlined in the guid- ance include supporting public health costs, replacing lost pub- lic sector revenue, providing pre- mium pay for essential workers, and investing in water, sewer, and broadband. Richmond County administra- tor Morgan Quicke unveiled a preliminary plan for the fund- ing that includes using $325,000 to cover the county’s remaining share of the costs for the regional broadband project with Dominion and All Points Broadband. About $225,000 is outlined for first responders, and $300,000 is pegged for office renovations. Quicke also factored in $200,000 for County Bucks, a program Richmond County and Warsaw launched during the pan- demic that offered residents $50 in vouchers to spend at local busi- nesses. Quicke said both businesses and citizens liked the program, and it’s one that helps everybody. With $200,000 devoted to the pro- gram, he expects to be able to fund it for at least 2021 and 2022. But Quicke has asked Warsaw to contribute from its American Rescue Plan funds, and then it may be possible to also offer County Bucks in 2023. Warsaw hasn’t yet received its American Rescue Plan funds but is expecting its first tranche to be nearly $771,000 and to come down the pipeline over the next couple months. Rappahannock Community College (RCC) is inviting the public to a rib- bon-cutting ceremony for the newly-reno- vated tennis courts on the Warsaw campus, Tuesday, June 22 at 1 pm. The event will also be live-streamed on RCC’s Facebook page. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation today announced the opening of the first grant round for the new Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund. During the next 90 days, communities across Virginia will be able to apply for $18 million in grants to address the effects of recurrent flooding, sea level rise and extreme weather. “Today, Virginia is taking an important next step to combat flooding — the most common and costly natural hazard we face,” Governor Ralph Northam said. “The Community Flood Preparedness Fund will provide an estimated $75 million a year to improve the resilience of our Commonwealth, including targeted funding for Virginia’s most vulnerable and underserved communities.” Virginia announces $18 million Community Flood Preparedness Fund Richmond County unveils plans for ARP funds Last Friday, many living on the Northern Neck became the sudden owners of waterfront property as weather conditions conspired to create a powerful deluge that resulted in massive flooding all along the Neck. While the area around Montross was the hardest hit in terms of rainfall, conditions at the Chandler’s Mill Pond made sure everyone downriver from it shared in the trouble. The cause behind this was a cold front that had come screeching to a halt in the area, and was left sandwiched between two moist air masses. The fact that it had rained the day before did not help matters, leaving the ground saturated and unable to absorb the rain. The water troubles got even worse, however, when the Chandler’s Mill Pond Dam, already in bad shape from torrential rains last November, gave way, allowing a massive torrent to blast downstream through the Chandler Mill Run, Cat Point Creek, and County Bridge, undermining the titular bridge in the process. At the pond itself, Route 3 was completely covered over. By Richard Burrell Northern Neck knackered by Friday Floods Richmond County drivers try to stay afloat Massive flooding overtook the roads in Richmond County. By Michelle Smith Grants will help communities statewide address recurrent flooding, sea level rise, and extreme weather RCC invites public to much- antcipated ribbon-cutting You’re invited See INVITATION, page A2 Lack of Lancaster boat tax a boon to county By Michelle Smith The 1st Annual Juneteenth Celebration Fair will be held on the Pavilion grounds at Rice’s Hotel/ Hughlett’s Tavern on Saturday, June 19, 2021 between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm. Sponsored by Interracial Conversations NNK, MACorps, Inc., and Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern, the fair will feature a his- tory corner, food and craft ven- dors, kids’ activities, music, and voter registration. Just in time for students to be fully vaccinated before school opens in September, the Three Rivers Health District will offer free doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine which has been approved for children over the age of 12. Juneteenth recognizes the day (June 19, 1865) that Union sol- diers arrived in Galveston, Texas to deliver the news that the Civil War had ended and all 250,000 enslaved people within Texas were free. Two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Major General Granger Gordon read General Order Number 3 declaring that all slaves were free with “abso- lute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the con- nection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor”. Celebrate Juneteenth this weekend Lancaster’s FY22 budget leaves the boat tax at zero. Sacrificing that revenue is not only making the county more attractive to boat owners, but it’s also increasing the squeeze on the Middlesex’s marina industry, say business owners on both sides of the Rappahannock River. Marina owners report positive results In March, as Lancaster was working on its budget, marina owners in the county provided the board of supervisors with an update on the impact of having zero boat tax. Clay Holton, owner of Chesapeake Boat Basin, said from 2015 to 2020, his slip rentals grew an average of 19 percent. Land storage went up 31 percent, and labor sales increased 16 percent. Labor sales offer “the biggest bang for your buck as far as employment,” Holten explained, noting he’d added four employees and had ads out looking for at least two more techs. Furthermore, Holton announced “a big dock expansion project” that involved tearing down the existing boathouse and dock to build an all-floating structure. And his company was searching for property to build a shop to con- centrate on boats under 33 feet. “Service and winter storage business has gotten so big, we’re about to explode,” Holton told the board. Bruce Sanders, owner of Rappahannock Yachts said before Lancaster slashed its boat tax, it was necessary to sell every customer on the benefits of bringing their boat to Lancaster. “I spend absolutely no time now trying to convince people to come to my yard because of the boat tax,” he said. And Rappahannock Yachts has gone from being seasonal to having enough restoration work to make it a 12-month business. “No one is going off on unemployment,” Sanders told the board. During discussions to revisit Lancaster’s boat tax, marina owners have tried to sell the idea that foregoing boat tax allows the county’s marinas to attract boats that would otherwise go to surrounding counties like Middlesex. Illustrating this point, Sanders told the board one boat owner transferred a 54-foot motor yacht from Deltaville to his boat yard, and it provided enough work to have at least one man dedicated to it every day for six months. “All is well. The momentum is good. The boat business across all lines is strong. And one of the main factors is the boat tax,” told the board. Yes, Middlesex is feeling it Lancaster is pulling the bigger, nicer boats that could bring a higher potential tax in Middlesex, said Jon Farinholt owner of Fishing Bay Marina in Deltaville. With two boatyards and a marina, Farinholt used to have over 25 employees. Now, he’s down to 15. See BOAT TAX, page A2 See PREPARE, page A2 Mr. Joe Thompson will present a reading of General Order Number 3 at the fair. See JUNETEENTH, page A2