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Target date set in housing transfer
Pending HUD OK, Section 8 to move effective July 1

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Martinsville officials hope to be able to transfer the city’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program to the Danville Redevelopment & Housing Authority effective July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.

Depending on how long it takes the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to approve it, the transfer might take longer, according to Assistant City Manager/Community Development Director Wayne Knox.

Seated as the Martinsville Redevelopment & Housing Authority, Martinsville City Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution to seek HUD’s approval of the transfer. It will be sent to the federal agency along with other paperwork.

The resolution was adopted on a unanimous vote following a time for public comment on the issue during which nobody spoke.

If the transfer does not occur effective July 1, the soonest it could occur would be Jan. 1, Knox said.

Transferring Martinsville’s Section 8 program — which also serves Henry County — to the larger Danville authority would allow the city to close its Housing Services Office on Fourth Street. Amid tight finances, that would save the city up to $65,000 a year, officials have said.

Terry Ferguson, director of the Danville authority’s voucher program, said local Section 8 participants will be able to call a toll-free phone number to reach authority employees.

Employees sometimes may be sent to the Martinsville area to meet with recipients if that is determined to be needed, Ferguson said.

Danville’s authority plans to hold meetings with local Section 8 participants and landlords to explain what they can expect as a result of the transfer.

Ferguson said the Danville authority has a program that has helped about 35 Danville-Pittsylvania County households become homeowners. He said he hopes that program can be expanded to Martinsville-Henry County.

Also Tuesday, the council adopted a resolution recognizing the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce for achieving 5-Star Accreditation.

That accreditation level is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It recognizes a local chamber’s quality, expertise, leadership and positive influence on its community, according to the resolution.

The U.S. Chamber is a voice in Washington for more than 3 million businesses nationwide, according to its website. The local chamber is a member of the organization.

Only 3 percent of local chambers nationwide are accredited by the national chamber, and the Martinsville-Henry County organization is one of only five chambers in Virginia with 5-Star Accreditation, a document shows.

U.S. Chamber levels of accreditation include mere “accreditation” as well as accreditation with three, four or five stars.

The council also:

• Set a public hearing for its April 22 meeting on proposed amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance that would enable the city to accommodate new hybrid, light-industrial commercial development as the ordinance is revised.

The Martinsville Planning Commission recommended the amendments.

A major goal in revising the ordinance, Knox said, is to make it more flexible in accommodating new types of businesses and land uses that might arise in the future.

The current ordinance does not allow any land uses in the city that it does not explicitly mention as being allowed, a report shows.

• Proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, recognizing the Exchange Club of Martinsville and Henry County’s efforts to stop abuse.

April also was proclaimed as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, recognizing efforts by Citizens Against Family Violence to combat that problem.

• Proclaimed Tuesday as “Raymond J. Carr Day,” recognizing Carr’s service on the Martinsville Electoral Board from April 2008 through February 2014. His service included stints as the board’s secretary and vice chairman.

• Received semi-annual reports from agencies outside city government that received city funds this fiscal year, highlighting their progress at achieving goals.

• Postponed hearing a report on the uptown farmer’s market from its director, Pat Folio. She was unable to attend the meeting.

• Met in closed session to discuss the condition, use or possible acquisition or disposition of city-owned property. No action was taken afterward.


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