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Greene opens the door for public-private partnership opportunities

STANARDSVILLE — The Greene County Board of Supervisors recently approved a set of guidelines that open the door for strategic public-private partnerships in the county.

The Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (PPEA) grants a public entity the authority to create public-private partnerships for development of numerous types of projects for public use, according to Mark Taylor, county administrator.

“Through such partnerships, for example, a private entity can contract to build and operate a community-serving facility on public property, paid for (in whole or in part) by user fees,” Taylor said in a memo to supervisors.

The guidelines also include the Greene County School Board for the purpose of educational facilities.

Taylor noted that possible projects include: public pools or recreational facilities; landfills; drinking water production and distribution systems; fire and rescue department facilities; education facilities, including stadiums or other facilities primarily used for school events; public safety buildings or improvements to those buildings; utility and telecommunications infrastructure; and broadband infrastructure.

Taylor said there is not a project before the county at this time that prompted these guidelines be written.

“The guidelines are a necessary first step to enable Greene County to even be able to consider prospects for public-private partnerships, which are an alternative form of procurement that is enabled by law here in the commonwealth of Virginia,” Taylor said during the virtual board meeting May 26.

Supervisor Dale Herring said he recalls discussing the possibility briefly in relation to broadband two years ago.

“I’m very excited to see this coming forward,” Herring said. “And, obviously, there are a lot of possibilities for the community.”

Supervisor Davis Lamb asked if the qualifying projects requirement would apply to the United Christian Academy, a private educational facility in Greene.

“No, sir, it does not apply to any private enterprises or private facilities or infrastructure,” Taylor said of PPEA. “The act is for public procurements pertaining to public educational facilities and public community facilities and infrastructure.”

Board Chairman Bill Martin said the county “probably should have had such a policy in place some time back, but better late than never.”

“If we were to ever get moving on a rec center and a public swimming pool, this is another opportunity,” he said. “If we were to build a public safety building or a new rescue squad or accommodations above the fire station — there are just all sorts of opportunities here for us that really we don’t have right now.”

The board approved the guidelines unanimously.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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