Administrator says historic white post belongs to VDOT
Posted: January 16, 2013
The Winchester Star
BERRYVILLE — It’s official.
The Virginia Department of Transportation owns the historic white post in the village of White Post.
Clifton Balderson, Edinburg Residency Administrator for VDOT, told the Clarke County Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday afternoon that he found paperwork that gives the state highway department jurisdiction over the post.
The question of ownership came up last fall when the owner of a truck — which crushed the post in September — refused to pay $2,515 for its repair and replacement.
William French, of French Brothers Dairy in Woodstock, said he would not pay the bill until he was sure the owner of the post would sign a release form for the damages.
But neither Clarke County nor VDOT could tell him who owned the six-sided pillar that has directed travelers to Greenway Court, home of Lord Fairfax, for more than 200 years.
White Post is unincorporated, although there is a White Post Village Association in the National Historic Register community. Members of the association volunteer to do upkeep of the village and its small community parks.
Balderson told the supervisors that he had contacted French and told him about VDOT’s ownership of the historic landmark.
“I told him I could sign a release,” Balderson said, and that French could pay the bill White Post Restorations tendered, for restoration of the post.
Balderson said the repairs have been made to VDOT’s satisfaction. He said he would be talking to the village association about the possibility of making it the guardian of the post for VDOT, so the controversy doesn’t resurface if it is again struck by a vehicle.
“We don’t want to go down this road again,” he said.
In other business, the supervisors agreed that a joint technology plan to upgrade computer systems used by both the county and school system was acceptable and should be considered for funding.
The estimated cost of the upgrades to a variety of systems used by county departments, and completion of a telephone system to serve all government and school departments, is $600,000.
“There is a real opportunity for savings,” said Thomas Judge, head of the Joint Administrative Services department, which handles finances for both the county and the school system.
The plan will need to win the blessing of the School Board before it can move forward.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael Hobert said the Government Finance Officers Association has recommended that local governments create a single software system for all departments.
Larger jurisdictions have already gone to such a system, Hobert said, but the funding to make the switch is a challenge for smaller ones. Clarke officials are also concerned about the age of the computer systems in some departments.
The plan also calls for an energy management system that could control heating and cooling in all county buildings, to reduce energy consumption, and adding security systems to Clarke’s elementary schools.
Hobert said Del. Joe May, whose own company completed the same type of electronic integration, has suggested ways the county might get technical assistance in writing a request for proposals for such a system.
Hobert said the county has been told that an integrated system could save it money in the long run.
“That’s what put us on the path,” he said.
Attending the meeting at the Joint Government Center were Chairman Michael Hobert and supervisors Barbara Byrd, John Staelin, David Weiss and Beverly McKay.
— Contact Val Van Meter at email@example.com