Booker was elected vice chair by a 3-2 vote over Supervisor Trish Eager, who received votes from Weaver and herself.

A month ago, Sheridan took a leave of absence from the Board for health reasons.  He said at the time he hoped to return to the Board by March.  So his presence at the meeting was a surprise to some.

After about an hour and a half of meeting in open session and another hour and a half of closed session, Sheridan announced around 7:20 p.m. that he was leaving the meeting.  “I am going to pass the gavel to Ms. Booker,” he said.  “I’ve been out past doctors’ orders now.”

It was Eager’s first Board meeting after being elected to replace former Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch as the Palmyra district representative.  She now has a say on the fate of the James River water project’s two special use permits, which have recently become charged by two lawsuits against Fluvanna.  Supervisors will vote on the permits on Jan. 20.

Before her term of office began, Eager declined to comment on how she planned to vote.  When asked after the meeting about her inclinations, she said, “I really don’t know.  This is my first meeting and I’m learning things [about the project] that I didn’t know.”

During the meeting supervisors encountered an unusual problem.  “I’m not sure how many of you know this, but there’s a county-owned storage tank in the middle of the river,” said Wayne Stephens, director of public works.  The 30-foot cylindrical storage tank used to be a part of the former Fork Union Sanitary District water treatment plant before 1972, when Hurricane Agnes destroyed the plant and washed the tank over two and a half miles down the James River.

The tank has sat there ever since, decorated on either end with yellow smiley faces, and regularly paddled around by canoers and kayakers.

Recently a few residents have approached Stephens about removing the tank from the river, he said.  But the aquatic salvage job is above the expertise of any county employee.  Stephens said he contacted various organizations who may wish to remove the tank for its scrap value, but none were interested.

So Stephens asked supervisors whether he should research the costs and logistics of hiring someone to remove the tank, which he expects is filled with silt, or let it be for now.

“It’s been in the river 43 years,” Stephens said.  “I was thinking seven more years it’ll have been there 50 years.  Maybe we could get it on the national [historic] register.”  The room burst into laughter.

Weaver suggested leaving it there till someone has a “major complaint.”  Booker asked why the folks who have mentioned it are bothered by its presence.

“Well, it doesn’t belong there, I guess.  It’s not natural,” Stephens said.  “You never can tell, in this day and age you may have someone who doesn’t want you to take it out of the river.”

County Administrator Steve Nichols agreed, saying, “I guarantee if we take it out there’s going to be people that will complain.”

“We could put the county seal on it,” Stephens suggested.

Supervisors decided to leave the tank for now.

In other matters:

Fluvanna resident Bob Dorsey called on supervisors to remove Fluvanna citizen representative Joe Chesser from the Board of the James River Water Authority (JRWA) because he voted on Dec. 30 to sue the county.  “The Fluvanna members of this authority are there to represent the interests of Fluvanna citizens,” but Chesser did not, Dorsey said, “unless this Board would have its citizens believe that they gave guidance to this member to vote to sue themselves and the citizens of Fluvanna County.”  Calling Chesser’s vote “a serious breach of trust,” Dorsey said it was “pretty clear” that Chesser voted in the best interests of JRWA, not Fluvanna.

Supervisors voted to move the Rivanna district polling location from the Lake Monticello clubhouse, which will be undergoing extensive renovations this year, to the Maple Room of the Lake Monticello firehouse.

Supervisors approved a $3,100 security system for the Pleasant Grove House museum, which recently suffered an unsuccessful break-in attempt.  The system will come a $390 yearly cost.

Cheryl Elliott, emergency services coordinator, reported that 200 to 300 ambulance transport calls have been run through the county’s new cost recovery system.  She expects the county will end up billing about 2,000 calls per year.

Supervisors appointed Howard Lagomarsino to take Eager’s vacated seat on the Planning Commission.

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