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Sadler suggests temporarily diverting road funds for Lafayette gym at budget meeting

Stonehouse Supervisor Sue Sadler said the county should consider temporarily diverting funding for roads in the county budget to help fund an auxiliary gym at Lafayette High School.

Sadler said the county should make the consideration at a town hall forum Thursday evening at the James City County Library off Croaker road.

“I am certainly appreciative of all of the strategic planning efforts that have been taking place around here. I’m certainly in favor of strategic planning. But one of our immediate needs that we’ve been hearing about throughout the community is the need for an auxiliary gym at Lafayette High school. I believe there was a rush to sign contracts for demolition to begin at James Blair without taking into consideration that Lafayette uses James Blair for our team practices," Sadler said.

"Supervisor Onizuk mentioned a possiblity of taking funding for roads for right now, taking that money in addition to perhaps the money we would save from our credit card fees and applying it towards an auxilliary gym at Lafayette High School," Sadler said.

In the fiscal 2017 budget County Administrator Bryan Hill proposes spending $1.5 million in efforts to get matching funding from the state for projects around the county. State officials have told James City County its unlikely major projects for local roads will get additional funding without matching funds.

Sadler said those funds for next year -- coupled with the $450,000 the county expects to save by transferring credit card fees to citizens who pay tax bill at the Treasuer's Office -- could be used to build a gym at the school.

Students, parents and teachers at Lafayette have advocated for the auxiliary gym, saying student safety is at risk because of having to travel and carpool to athletic events and practices.

Michael Hipple, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, cautioned against making changes to the financial plans outlined to bond rating agencies last month, saying deviating from the plan could result in being penalized.

"If we start changing certain things midstream, it may put up a red flag," Hipple said.

At the forum Thursday, Sadler asked the community to keep the family of a man gunned down at Farm Fresh on Sunday morning in their prayers. She began the meeting with a moment of silence and asked attendees to thank law enforcement for their efforts to keep the community safe.

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