Daily Archives: July 18, 2009

County considering tobacco money for parking deck

Smyth County and Marion officials are eyeing a possible blend of state and federal money to help offset local costs for the construction of a parking deck in Marion.
Smyth County Director of Community Planning Sally Morgan told the county supervisors Tuesday “the Virginia Tobacco Commission has reserve funds to match stimulus money. We’re investigating that.”
The Town of Marion has applied for a $1 million DHCD grant and voted last month to pay either $500,000 toward construction of a parking deck or half the cost if construction costs below $1.5 million.
The DHCD grant would cover the $500,000 contributions by both the town and county in their joint construction of the deck.
Todd Christiansen, a deputy director with the Virginia Department of Community Development, met last week with local officials. “Todd said he would write a letter explaining it is a match, that the deck is an integral part” of the overall downtown and historic district improvements plans, Morgan said.
Town of Marion spokesman Ken Heath said the message from Friday’s meeting is that while a number of steps remain to be taken to secure funding approval from DHCD, “the project is very much alive.”
But Supervisor Marvin Perry was troubled by a revelation that came out in Friday’s meeting, Christiansen’s “condition that the money be spent in two years,” Perry said. “I don’t like the lack of control.”
County Engineer Scott Simpson said the “idea has been that the deck would be built toward the end of the courthouse project. We didn’t expect to start on the deck for three and a half or four years.”
Morgan said all DHCD block grants have a 24-month limitation, and stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is even more restricted.
Simpson added that if the county were successful in obtaining a tobacco commission grant, the commission would likewise want the money spent sooner than later.
Morgan said a possible extension will be discussed with DHCD.

Tobacco farmers get short shrift

Tobacco farmers get short shrift
BS Reporter / Mysore July 18, 2009, 0:08 IST

Gates rejects tobacco ban for troops in combat areas

Here’s one war American soldiers won’t have to fight overseas anytime soon: