By Ted Shockley
Accomack’s popular but decrepit Folly Creek boat ramp will be renovated, thanks to an undesignated surplus in the county’s recently completed fiscal year.
The Board of Supervisors voted to use a portion of the $2.5 million in undesignated revenues to complete funding of the $481,000 Folly Creek project.
Part of the surplus funds will also complete the $1.4 million needed to renovate the exterior of the circuit courthouse, and update the building’s heating and air conditioning.
Another project partially funded by the surplus will be a wastewater line connecting Chesapeake Square to the Onancock sewer plant.
The improvements were due to better-than-expected revenues in real estate, personal property and sales-and-use taxes last year, said County Administrator Mike Mason.
County revenues were up just over $1 million, or 5.5 percent, in the fourth quarter of last year alone, he said. The fiscal year ended June 30.
He called it “one of the better years” since the 2008 recession.
The county’s emergency savings, which officials call the “rainy day fund,” now stands at $11.4 million, up from $1.2 million 11 years ago.
Board Chairman Donald Hart Jr. called the financial situation “very good news.”
Supervisor Paul Muhly wondered aloud whether out-of-state users should chip in to help fund Folly Creek ramp improvements.
At the ramp’s parking lot Muhly reported seeing “42 out-of-state trucks and trailers and boats at the height of flounder season.”
Other supervisors, including Robert Crockett, said many more locals use the ramp and said the county should be “embarrassed” at its condition.
“Folly Creek has been put off and put off,” Crockett said of the renovation project.
Supervisor Ron Wolff said the out-of-state boaters contribute to the economy, even if they don’t have to pay to use the ramp.
“They buy gas, they buy bait, they buy fuel,” he said.