little fork

Little Fork gets money for construction 

The Little Fork Volunteer Fire Department received a helping hand from the county in efforts to construct a much needed $3 million addition at its station off Rixeyville Road.

Every year, the eight volunteer stations receive $50,000 from the county for capital improvement projects. For the last four years, the county has put $200,000 – or $800,000 total – into a saving account with plans to provide the money to fire and rescue for capital improvement projects. On Jan. 5, the Board of Supervisors released half of those savings to aid in Little Fork’s mission to improve its facility.

The remaining half of the savings is being equally distributed to the other stations, meaning each station will receive $100,000 this year for capital projects.

The Culpeper County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association agreed that this is the best way to split up the savings.

So far, Little Fork Capt. Ralph Monaco explained the station has spent about $150,000 to get the site and building plans approved. The station has also received the go-ahead from the Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Transportation and the health department. He said a local bank is on board to make a $3 million loan that would see the department putting down 25% with annual payments around $100,000.

The department’s current facility is a 40-by-80 building that Chief Doug Monaco previously described as more of a garage than a firehouse.

The building is cramped, to say the least. Bunk beds are lined up a couple of feet away from trucks’ exhaust pipes. Gear is stored in a shed out back. There is no air conditioning. Not all of the vehicles fit in the station. That is just to name a few issues present in the 25-year-old building.

Upgrade plans call for new bunk rooms, air conditioning, office space, equipment storage, new bays and more. The department previously hoped to tear down the station and construct a new building. Plans, however, quickly shifted upon the realization that money for such a project would be impossible to raise.

So the department opted to construct the addition, an upgrade that Doug Monaco said would turn the station into a “spartan, bare-bones firehouse.”

Tax bill deadline expansion

Due to purported issues at the post office, the Board of Supervisors recently decided that any tax bills postmarked by Dec. 10 will not incur any penalties. The previous deadline was Dec. 7. Supervisor Tom Underwood said constituents have reported some payments that were dropped off at the post office on time were postmarked a couple of days late. 

Supervisors choose leadership

During the Board of Supervisors' first meeting of the year, Gary Deal was unanimously chosen to continue serving as the board’s chairman. Supervisor Brad Rosenberger was selected to replace William Chase as the board’s vice-chairman.

Deal thanked the board for having confidence in him to carry on in the role, saying it is a pleasure to serve alongside his fellow supervisors and “I’m really proud of this board.”

After the selections were made, Supervisor Jack Frazier said he wants Deal to “keep us all in the loop” because he was left out of the process of committee and chairman selection.

“I realize you don’t need me, but hey it would be nice to be included,” Frazier said. 

County delays decision on bonuses 

A county committee recently recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve bonuses for certain employees with high-risk positions amid the coronavirus pandemic. The supervisors during their January meeting, however, opted to table the matter and consider it during a future meeting. 

The Rules Committee recommended $750 bonuses for high-risk employees such as EMS workers, $500 for Animal Control and criminal justice services employees and $250 for other employees whose job duties put them at risk. County Administrator John Egertson said this would require a $55,000 county contribution. 

To include library employees and constitutional officers would require another $14,000. Including teachers would require an additional $300,000. Sheriff’s Office deputies were not included in the proposal as they received $500 bonuses from the state compensation board.

County extends deadline for parent grants 

With fewer applications received than expected, Culpeper County has extended the deadline for parents to apply for grants through the Childcare/Workforce Relief Program. Earlier this year, the county set aside $730,000 to make one-time payments to parents of children in grades k-8 who were negatively impacted financially from increased childcare costs when schools closed.

There are no income requirements to apply and applications can be submitted through 4 p.m. Jan. 18. During the first round of applications, 244 parents received $1,000 and are not eligible for the second round. 

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County road projects delayed 

Although 10 road improvement projects in the county were supposed to soon begin receiving  Virginia Department of Transportation revenue sharing funds, VDOT has delayed matching disbursements until fiscal year 2025-26. 

Improvement projects were supposed to begin this year on Settle Road, White Oak Road, Black Hill Road, Old Stillhouse Road, Wayland Road and Hazeland Road. The county has set aside $2.6 million for the projects while VDOT’s $2.3 million contribution has been delayed for three years.

The Board of Supervisors recommended that planning staff see if the projects can begin with the assumption that VDOT will be held responsible for their matching contribution in the future.

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