City to seek disaster status

Published 9:19 pm Monday, January 2, 2012

The Suffolk City Council will consider a resolution asking the governor to declare the city an agricultural disaster area during its Wednesday meeting.

The regular meeting begins at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers, 441 Market St. It is preceded by a work session at 4 p.m.

The resolution would ask Gov. Bob McDonnell to declare the city a disaster area, a move that would open the door for federal agricultural disaster relief for farmers.

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Many farmers experienced low yields in crops this year because of a dry summer, heavy rainfall at inconvenient times, damage from Hurricane Irene and other factors.

Also during the regular meeting, the council members are expected to approve an ordinance to accept a donation from John C. Holland Enterprises for the purchase of equipment and materials for the Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue.

The “donation” is part of a fine imposed on the business by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality because of a sidewall collapse at the landfill during a heavy rainstorm a couple of years ago.

Proprietor Holland, who died last month, didn’t want to give the fine to the DEQ, he said last year. A provision in state law allows a portion of the fine to be used for a local environmental project. The money will be used to stock a mass casualty response bus and to purchase supplies to respond to hazardous material incidents.

Also, the council will consider a resolution to initiate a rezoning of property at 1217 N. Main St. The former health department site has been targeted for redevelopment and has a potential buyer lined up.

During the work session, the only item on the open session agenda is an update on a renovation and expansion project at the animal shelter. The project currently is under way, and staff members are working from a nearby trailer during construction.