County Administrator's BLOG

Stay up-to-date with King William County news and happenings from the County Administrator, Percy C. Ashcraft.

Feb 13

Nestle Purina Kitty Litter Plant Continues to Increase Production and Sales

Posted on February 13, 2024 at 10:53 AM by Christine Branch

Nestle Purina Kitty Litter Plant Continues to Increase Production and Sales

The Nestle Purina plant at Fontainebleau Industrial Park continues to be a bright spot in the County’s economic development effort.

 Plant Manager McKenzie Browning told County Staff on February 9 that production and sales continue to be steady each quarter dating back 3-4 years.  The Plant recently completed phase 1 of a $182 million expansion at the King William facility that produces cat litter.  The expansion adds 138,000 feet of factory space and creates 20 new jobs.

 Browning said employment has remained steady, with employees coming from all over the region.

 Looking ahead, Browning said Nestle Purina wants to continue to be a strong corporate partner for the community.   The company donated funds a few years ago to establish a dog park at the King William Recreation Park.  In addition, the company has partnered with King William Public Schools and the Regional Animal Shelter.

 King William is fortunate to have a staple in the business world within its borders.  The company was founded in 1866.

 

Bay Transit Announces Service Change for Non-Profits & Civic Organizations

Bay Transit has notified County Administration of a change in its service delivery pertaining to non-profits and civic organizations.

 The communication from Transit Director Ken Pollock on February 12 reads:

 Dear Colleague:

 Thank you for your ongoing support of Bay Transit over the years.  We are proud to be your public transportation provider.  I know that periodically you get requests from non-profits and civic organizations to facilitate Bay Transit providing them we free or discounted transportation for their event.  We have tried to accommodate these requests as much as possible.

 The Federal Transit Administration and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation have concluded that these trips fall into the category of charter service, and we are not a licensed charter provider.   Therefore, we will no longer be allowed to provide these trips unless they are scheduled with a licensed charter service provider.  We do sub-contract with VA Rides and can provide this service at the rate set by VA Rides.

 We are still allowed to provide your locality with very limited free service for specific county or town government activities and encourage you to contact us if you need us.   Please do not hesitate to call me at (804) 250-2019 if you have any questions.

 Kind regards,

 Ken Pollock

Transit Director Bay Aging

 

Permit Issuance Continues to be Brisk in King William Building Department

As most of the country has slowed down in both housing and commercial construction, King William County’s Building Department continues to be busy.

In January, 83 permits were issued at a total cost of construction of $484,266.36.  Trade permits dominated the requests at 72, with nine additional for Building permits.

Ten certificates of occupancy were given for Single Family dwellings.  There were 346 total building inspections and 19 plan reviews.

The County collected $12,437.54 in total fees for the month of January.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

We all know there could be a little more love and consideration in the world today.  As Valentine’s Day looms, here are some popular gifts for 2024:

  1. ‘A Year of Dates’ Cards
  2. Love Knot Stud Earrings
  3. Mini Cocotte with Heart Knob
  4. LEGO Flower Bouquet Building Kit
  5. ‘We’re Not Really Strangers’ Edition Card Game
  6. Wicker Picnic Basket Set
  7. Heart-Shaped Mini Waffle Maker
  8. Candle Warmer Lamp
  9. Essential Apron
Jan 31

King William Fares Well in Regional Economic Plan

Posted on January 31, 2024 at 11:48 AM by Percy Ashcraft

King William Fares Well in Regional Economic Plan

The Middle Peninsula Regional Planning District held its first meeting of 2024 on January 24 in Saluda.

 

A full agenda greeted the members of the Commission, including three first-time members from King William – BOS Vice Chair Justin Catlett, District 2 Supervisor Ben Edwards, and Citizen Representative Greg Henrich.

 

Included in the business of the Commission was a presentation by Staff member Curt Smith on the Middle Peninsula Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Update.  Smith cited the history of the report dating back to 2013.

 

The purpose of the report is to analyze relevant data to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) to the regional economy.

 

The report also provides a road map for addressing SWOT analysis outcomes and includes metric-based strategies developed with input from public and local industry stakeholders.

 

The report included positive information for King William County as it relates to its position in the Middle Peninsula.

 

According to Smith, King William and Gloucester County were the only localities to experience growth between 2010 and 2022. King William outpaced the State average 13.6 – 8.7 percent.

 

Another positive for King William in the report is that again it and Gloucester are projected to have most of the growth in the Middle Peninsula up to 2055. King William is estimated to grow by 40 percent; Gloucester 14 percent; Middle Peninsula counties 11.6 percent; and the state average is projected to be 26.4 percent.

 

Also in the report, the private economy is dominated by “Blue-Green” businesses that depend on natural resources. Of the major employers in the region, West Rock and Nestle Purina represent King William County and the Town of West Point.

 

Some other takeaways from the report:

 

  • 74.1 percent of those who make up the Middle Peninsula workforce leave the region every day for their jobs.

 

  • The death rate in the region is higher than the birth rate by 4.6 percent.

 

  • Approximately six percent of the Middle Peninsula population moves out of the region every year, but seven percent moves in.

 

  • The Middle Peninsula is tied with the Northern Neck for the fourth lowest weekly wage of any Virginia region, an average of $891 per employee.

 

  • Government jobs make up 22 percent of the employment opportunities in the region.

 

King William County is certainly positioned well for future opportunities.

 

Updates Made to ‘Right on Red’ Law

“Right on Red” has been an acceptable driving technique for many years now. This familiar method of moving traffic more quickly through intersections has now been updated in the Commonwealth.

 

Staff at www.irishmegaphone.com published a great article on the subject. This is a great piece for young drivers, and also a refresher for veteran drivers.

 

Excerpts from the article:

 

”The right turn on red (RTOR) maneuver is a common practice for drivers across the United States. However, Virginia’s traffic laws regarding RTOR have undergone recent changes, prompting confusion and uncertainty among drivers. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the updated RTOR regulations in Virginia, ensuring safe and compliant driving practices on the state’s roadways.

 

“The RTOR maneuver allows drivers to make a right turn at a red light after coming to a complete stop, checking for oncoming traffic and pedestrians, and yielding the right-of-way. While seemingly straightforward, the legality and specific requirements of RTOR vary across jurisdictions.

 

“In Virginia, prior to the recent updates, RTOR was generally permitted unless explicitly prohibited by signage at an intersection. The new law, however, introduces stricter regulations and imposes additional obligations on drivers attempting to make right turns on red lights.

 

“Virginia’s RTOR laws have evolved over time. In the past, drivers had more leeway in executing the maneuver. However, concerns regarding pedestrian safety and traffic flow prompted the state legislature to implement stricter regulations in 2024.

 

“It is crucial to remember that RTOR is not always permitted in Virginia. Certain intersections may have signage explicitly prohibiting right turns on red. Additionally, drivers must always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and oncoming traffic, even when making a seemingly legal RTOR.

 

“The updated RTOR law in Virginia, effective January 1, 2024, introduces several key changes for drivers:

 

  • Mandatory complete stop: Drivers must now come to a complete stop before turning right on red, even if there is no stop sign or red light arrow. This eliminates any ambiguity regarding the required action at red lights.
  • Enhanced pedestrian safety focus: The new law emphasizes the importance of yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, even if they are not within the immediate vicinity of the turning vehicle. Drivers must exercise caution and ensure no pedestrians are crossing before proceeding with the RTOR.
  • ** stricter enforcement:** Virginia law enforcement agencies are authorized to increase enforcement of RTOR violations. Drivers who fail to comply with the new regulations may face fines and penalties.”

 

“Adapting to the new RTOR law requires a proactive approach from drivers. Here are some essential tips for safe and compliant driving:

 

  • Be extra cautious: Always approach red lights with caution and come to a complete stop before attempting an RTOR.
  • Double-check for pedestrians: Look carefully in all directions, especially for pedestrians in crosswalks, before turning right on red. Do not proceed if any pedestrians are present.
  • Yield the right-of-way: Remember that pedestrians and oncoming traffic always have the right-of-way, even when you have a green light or are turning right on red.
  • Avoid distractions: Refrain from using electronic devices or engaging in activities that divert your attention while driving, especially when approaching intersections.
  • Stay informed: Familiarize yourself with the updated RTOR law and any specific signage at intersections you frequent.”

 

“Navigating new traffic regulations can be confusing. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Virginia’s updated RTOR law:

  1. Does the new law apply to all intersections in Virginia?
     
    No, not all intersections in Virginia permit right turns on red. Always check for signage at the intersection. If there is a “No Right Turn on Red” sign, then the maneuver is prohibited regardless of the traffic light signal.
  2. What happens if I accidentally make an illegal RTOR?
     
    Violating the RTOR law can result in a fine of up to $200 for a first offense. Subsequent offenses may carry higher fines and even points on your driving record.
  3. Can I challenge an RTOR citation?
     
    Yes, you have the right to challenge an RTOR citation in court. However, it is important to have strong evidence to support your case.
  4. What if I’m unsure whether an RTOR is permitted at a specific intersection?
     
    When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Come to a complete stop and wait for the green light before making a right turn.
  5. Does the new law affect left turns on red?
     
    No, the new law only applies to right turns on red. Left turns on red are generally prohibited in Virginia unless explicitly permitted by signage.
  6. How can I stay updated on changes to traffic laws in Virginia?
     
    The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website is a reliable resource for information on traffic laws and regulations. You can also sign up for DMV email alerts to receive updates on any changes.”

Conclusion

“Virginia’s updated RTOR law aims to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow on the state’s roadways. By understanding the new regulations and practicing safe driving habits, motorists can navigate the changes smoothly and contribute to a safer driving environment for everyone. Remember, knowledge is power. By educating yourself about the updated RTOR law and implementing the driving tips provided in this article, you can ensure your compliance and safety on Virginia’s roads.”

 

Three Rivers Health District Receives ‘Public Health Ready’ Recognition; Asks for Public Input

An item from the latest Three Rivers Health District Newsletter:

The Three Rivers Health District has been recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for its ability to plan for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies. 

Three Rivers demonstrated these capabilities by meeting the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Health District joins a cohort of more than 550 local health departments across the country that have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR, either individually or as part of a region. 

PPHR recognition confirms that Three Rivers has a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan in place and that staff have the training to protect the health of the community during an emergency. Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a rigorous evaluation by peer review to assess their ability to meet a set of national standards for public health preparedness. These standards align with federal government requirements and other national best practices.

In addition, the District is seeking input from the public:

“In addition to the recent developments of our Community Health Assessment and Community Health Dashboard, we are looking for more input from the Community on how we can improve health outcomes across the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck. To see these new tools and take the survey, please visit https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/three-rivers/healthy-community/

Jan 10

Want to Serve Your Community?

Posted on January 10, 2024 at 5:37 PM by Percy Ashcraft

Want to Serve Your Community? Consider an Appointment to a Board or Commission

A big push is being made by the Board of Supervisors to encourage more County residents to become active on boards and commissions.

 

Currently, applications are being accepted for 8 local and 8 regional boards and commissions. Appointments are made by the Board of Supervisors for designated terms for each.

 

Serving on a board or commission is an excellent way to bring a personal perspective to County Government. The bodies are important to the overall operations of County and Regional government, and the input provided by individual members can lead to major policy decisions.

 

Interested citizens are encouraged to visit the King William website, Boards & Commissions page.

 

County Administration can further explain the subject matter for the various committees. Also discussing a prospective appointment with members of the Board of Supervisors is very important.

 

Early Voting Begins January 19 for Presidential Primary Election on March 5

The County Registrar’s Office has barely caught its breath after a very busy General Election last November, but now must turn its attention to a Presidential Primary Election on March 5.

 

Registrar Alison Fox and her Staff are preparing for Early Voting which begins on Friday, January 19 and extends through Saturday, March 2.  

 

County voters can cast their ballots in the Office of the Registrar in the Administration Building during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. The last two Saturdays before the Primary Election are also early voting opportunities, from 8am – 4pm on February 23, and 8am – 5pm on March 2.

 

Both Democratic and Republican primaries will be held.

 

Winter Preparation Tips from Congressman Wittman

Congressman Rob Wittman is passing along these winter preparation tips:

Friend, 
 
As we enter the coldest months of the year, it is possible that many areas of the First Congressional District will be hit by upcoming winter storms. To ensure you are prepared, I wanted to share some resources to assist you in keeping yourself, your family, and our communities safe in the event of extreme weather.
 
Important reminders for winter storms:

  • Stay off the roads as much as possible and only drive when absolutely necessary. Always give snowplows and responders the right of way on the road. 
    • If you must travel, know the road conditions before you leave by visiting 511virginia.org.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal burning device inside your home, garage, basement, crawlspace, or any other partially enclosed area.
  • Snow shoveling is a known trigger for heart attacks. Always avoid overexertion when shoveling.
  • Be sure to check on elderly or disabled neighbors and relatives.
  • Protect yourself from frostbite and keep yourself dry. Wear several layers of clothing along with a hat, mittens, and a scarf.

For preparing your home:

  • Make sure your home is properly insulated and check the weather stripping around doors and windows.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves in case of a pipe burst.
  • Have additional heat sources in case of a power outage.
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher accessible and check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors.
  • In the event of high winds, secure loose items around your property and trim any branches that could threaten your home.

For preparing your car:

  • Batteries lose power as temperatures drop, be sure to have them tested.
  • Check your car’s antifreeze level, have your radiator system serviced, replace windshield wiper fluid with a wintertime mix, and proactively replace your car’s worn tires and wiper blades.
  • Clean snow and ice off of your car entirely – including your trunk, roof, windows, and headlights – before driving.
  • Be sure to have an emergency winter weather kit in your car if you must travel. This could include items such as: 
    • Blankets
    • Enough water and snacks for everyone in the car, including pets
    • Boots
    • First-aid kit
    • Warm clothes and insulating layers (sweatpants, gloves, hat)
    • Shovel and ice-scraper/snow brush
    • Jumper cables
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Portable smartphone power bank
    • Traction aid such as sand or salt
    • Garbage bags

For more information on how to prepare yourself and your loved ones for winter weather, visit vaemergency.gov/winter-weather. If you will be traveling, check current road conditions by visiting 511virginia.org, calling 511, or reviewing the 511 Virginia mobile app.


For weather warnings, hazards, and updates, stay up to date with information shared by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)Virginia State PoliceNational Weather Service, and your local government. 

 

To ensure you continue receiving updates from my office, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter here.


Sincerely,