Henrico sets final hearing on community development needs for March 26

Henrico County will hold a final public hearing Thursday, March 26 to help guide the county’s use of federal housing and community development funds over the next five years.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in room 2031 of the Henrico County Training Center, 7701 E. Parham Road. The hearing had been scheduled for Feb. 26 but was canceled due to winter weather.

Henrico will use the input of residents and others to prepare the Fiscal Year 2015-2020 Consolidated Plan and an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice. The plan will establish priorities for the use of federal Community Development Block Grant Program, HOME Investment Partnerships Program and Emergency Solutions Grant Program funds. Henrico will submit the plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this summer, pending approval by the Board of Supervisors.

Henrico receives more than $2 million in the federal funding annually for services, programs, facilities and other assistance to low- and moderate-income residents, as well as people who are homeless or have other special needs. The funds have supported a variety of initiatives, including housing improvements, home purchase assistance, neighborhood recreation facilities and after-school programs.

For information, call (804) 501-7640 or go to www.henrico.us/revit. The webpage includes a link to an online survey. To request a special accommodation at the meeting, call (804) 501-7640 by March 24.



Free tax-preparation service for qualified residents

Families and individuals who earned less than $53,000 last year can receive free assistance with their 2014 income tax returns at locations in Henrico County and throughout the metropolitan region.

Metrocash, a coalition of local nonprofit, business and government organizations, is hosting 12 sites, including two in Henrico. IRS-certified tax preparers and other volunteers will help qualifying taxpayers prepare and file their federal and state returns at Dumbarton Area Library, 6800 Staples Mill Road, 4-8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays through April 9; and Fairfield Area Library, 1001 N. Laburnum Ave., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays Feb. 7-March 14. A complete list of sites and their operating hours is available at metrocash.org.

To receive assistance, participants should bring photo ID, Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number cards, copies of tax returns from 2013, W-2 and 1099-R forms, and any other income tax-related documents.

In addition to getting help with their taxes, participants will learn if they are eligible for the Earned Income Credit (EIC), a tax benefit that could boost a federal refund by more than $6,100 for families with at least three children and nearly $500 for individuals. EIC eligibility is based on income.

Last year, Metrocash volunteers helped area residents file more than 3,000 tax returns, generating nearly $995,000 in EIC funds and $2.7 million in federal refunds. Metrocash estimates the free service saved its clients more than $600,000 in preparation fees.

More information is available at the Metrocash website and by calling 211.



Henrico Extension to offer free vegetable gardening workshop April 4

The Henrico County office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension will hold a workshop Saturday, April 4 to help residents start or improve a vegetable garden.

The Vegetable Gardening Jumpstart Workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the Extension Office’s demonstration kitchen in the Human Services Building, 8600 Dixon Powers Drive. The workshop is free and open to the public. To register, call (804) 501-5160 by Friday, April 3.

The workshop will show new and experienced gardeners how to reduce their grocery costs and eat a healthier diet. Home gardeners and participants in Henrico’s community garden program, Gardens Growing Families, are welcome.

The Henrico Extension Office also is accepting applications for Gardens Growing Families. Applications are available at the Extension Office and at henrico.us/extension/gardens-growing-families.  Individuals and families may grow their own vegetables in plots at the Lakeside Garden, at Vale Street and Michael Avenue, near Lakeside Avenue.  Fees range $10 to $65 per year based on household size and income.

For information on the workshop or community garden program, call (804) 501-5160 or go to henrico.us/extension.



Registration for Henrico Junior 4-H summer camp begins with March 28 open house

The Henrico County office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension will hold an open house Saturday, March 28 to begin accepting registrations for the 2015 Henrico County Junior 4-H Camp.

The open house will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the Extension office at the Human Services Building, 8600 Dixon Powers Drive. The residential camp, which is open to boys and girls ages 9 through 14, will be held July 20-24 at the Jamestown 4-H Educational Center, near Williamsburg.

Early registration is strongly encouraged because space is limited and many classes fill quickly. The cost of the camp is $242 and includes a T-shirt, lodging, meals, programs, instructional class materials and transportation by chartered bus. Scholarship assistance may be available. Registration forms are available at henrico.us/extension and may be submitted at the open house or by mail.

The Junior 4-H Camp provides youths with a fun learning environment while they make friends and discover the outdoors. Activities include swimming, archery, sailing, canoeing, basketball, forestry, marine science, volleyball, shooting sports, fishing, robotics, campfires and crafts. The camp’s theme for 2015 is “Road Trip!”

The Jamestown 4-H Educational Center occupies 16 acres of woods and open spaces along the James River. Amenities include air-conditioned lodges and cabins, archery and rifle ranges, a swimming pool, a floating dock, a ropes course and an amphitheater.

Accredited by the American Camp Association, the camp is operated by adult and teen counselors and a staff that includes lifeguards, recreational leaders, a dietician and a medical attendant. Parent volunteers are needed. For information, call (804) 501-5160, send an email to henrico4-h@vt.edu or go to henrico.us/extension.



Inclement Weather Delayed Opening

Henrico County General government, Public Libraries and Recreation & Parks facilities will open at 10 am, Friday, March 6.

Refuse collection on normal schedule today. Springfield and Charles City Rd public use areas opening at 10 am. Shane Rd recycling opening at 11am.



Fairfield meeting March 18 to detail Cobbs Creek Reservoir plans

Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting Wednesday, March 18 to provide an update on plans for the Cobbs Creek Reservoir, a regional water supply that will be designed to serve Henrico County’s water needs for the next 50 years.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave.

County Manager John A. Vithoulkas and representatives of the Department of Public Utilities will join Thornton for the discussion and will answer questions.

For information, call (804) 501-4208.



Registration for Henrico Citizens Academy opens March 23

Henrico residents can get a firsthand, comprehensive look at county operations and services at the 2015 Henrico Citizens Academy, scheduled for six sessions in April and May.

The free, 15-hour program will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. each Thursday from April 23 to May 28. Residents can register at connect.henricorecandparks.com beginning Monday, March 23. They also can sign up at the Division of Recreation and Parks office in the Human Services Building, 8600 Dixon Powers Drive.

The academy is open to 35 residents, with space reserved for seven individuals from each of Henrico’s five magisterial districts. Participants must be 18 or older. Residents placed on a waiting list from the 2014 academy will be offered a position in the upcoming program.

Classes are led by Henrico officials and staff and take place at a different county facility each week. Classes typically feature a presentation and discussion, facility tours, equipment demonstrations and other activities. Topics include community and economic development; human services; public safety; libraries, finance and recreation and parks; and schools.

“Local government has a more direct impact on the lives of residents than any other level of government,” said Deputy County Manager for Administration Joseph P. Casey. “The Citizens Academy gives our residents insight into the full scope of operations and services Henrico County provides every day.”

Casey noted that academy alumni will have the opportunity to remain engaged and provide further assistance to the county.

For more information call (804) 501-4370 or email kle@henrico.us.



Refuse Pickup Schedule

Refuse pickup is delayed one day with Friday routes scheduled for pick up on Saturday.

 



Henrico Community Revitalization cancels hearing

Because of the inclement weather, the Henrico County Department of Community Revitalization has canceled a public hearing scheduled for tonight to receive input on the Fiscal Year 2015-2020 Consolidated Plan. The plan will establish priorities for the county’s use of federal funds for services, programs and other assistance to low- and moderate-income residents.

The meeting had been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Belmont Recreation Center, 1600 Hilliard Road. 

A make-up date has not yet been determined. Additional information will be available at henrico.us/revit