October 13, 2009

7:00 PM – The regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council


The municipal government of the Town of Brookneal met with the following members present:


Phyllis Campbell, Mayor

James Nowlin, Vice Mayor

Richard Adams (came in at 7:08 p.m.), Kenneth Jennings, Tracy Meisenbach, Robert Jean, and Phillip Sheppard, Council Members

Buster Nicholson, Town Manager

Mike Crews, Public Works Director

Bobbie Waller, Clerk/Treasurer

Ricky Cousins, Police Chief






Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Kenneth Jennings, and unanimously carried, Council approved the agenda for the October 13, 2009, regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council.




Upon motion by James Nowlin, seconded by Phillip Sheppard, and unanimously carried, Council approved the September 8, 2009, Town Council meeting minutes




Mayor Campbell asked that the October 2009 treasurer’s report be filed for audit.





Be it resolved that motion was made by James Nowlin, seconded by Kenneth Jennings, and unanimously carried, authorizing the payment of the invoices for the period of September 9, 2009, to October 13, 2009, in the amount of $24,518.13.  Councilperson Jennings questioned some of the invoices including the Union Star bill for $161.00 for a public service notice pertaining to the flushing of the fire hydrants.  He asked Debra Ferrell from the Union Star why the newspaper did not print public service notices for safety issues at no cost.  She said she would check with Kelly Crabtree on this issue.  Mr. Jennings also asked the Town Manager to check on the cell phone service we currently have to determine if it is the best plan.



Jerry Reynolds, Town Auditor, was in attendance for the Council meeting and presented the FY09 Audit report.  He said that the year was a pretty ordinary year, and things have not changed much.  Councilperson Jean asked if the addition of the new town manager was helping in the area of separation of duties in administration.  Mr. Reynolds said it really does not help a lot since there is only so much separation you can have with all the financial processes being done by 2 or 3 people.  Mr. Reynolds said you would have to have 5 to 6 people to alleviate the note in the audit about separation of duties.  He said all the proper procedures are in place.  Councilperson Meisenbach remarked that the sale of the one building put the Town in a better financial position.  She asked Mr. Reynolds if in reviewing what the Town’s solid assets are, did he see any other items that might be unproductive that could be sold.  Mr. Reynolds said that that was not an area that he was an expert in, but the only thing he knew of might be the Kersey building.  Mayor Campbell said that that building is housing a lot of our equipment that was otherwise out in the weather.


Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Kenneth Jennings, and unanimously carried, the Council approved the FY09 Audit.




Linda Zielinski, who owns a business in Brookneal, appeared before Council concerning the new trash bill she had received for $15.00.  She said a lot of people also received this bill.  She said she works 7 hours per week, and she held up a “Food Lion” bag that was half full demonstrating how much she generates a day.  She said no one picks up her trash, and she did not know what day the trash pickup was.  She said she takes it home with her.  She said that she used to put her trash in the dumpsters, but there got to be people “picking” in them, so she quit doing this.  Councilperson Jean said that he was in the same boat as Ms. Zielinski, and that his business did not generate any trash either.  He said that he thought maybe a lower step rate for businesses that did not generate any trash should be looked at.  Councilperson Jennings said that the fees were kind of inclusive of doing business in the Town of Brookneal.  He asked the new part time town manager to take a look at this issue.  Councilpersons Jean, Jennings, and Adams agreed that this was a tough issue.  Councilperson Jennings assured Ms. Zielinski that the Council was cognizant of this issue and would be looking at it.  Public Works Director Mike Crews said that he was going to put some figures together on what it actually costs to dispose of the trash at the landfill.  He said Council wouldl be surprised at the figures.


Howard Wells of Booker Road said the repairs he made to the playground did not hold, but that he was going to hold off the project until spring since it would not get much use until then.


Chief of Police Ricky Cousins reported that the following tickets were issued since the last Council meeting on September 8, 2009:


1 ticket for speeding 1-15 miles over the limit

2 tickets for speeding 16-20 miles over the limit

5 tickets for speeding 21+ miles over the limit

1 ticket for 101 mph in a 55 mph zone

2 tickets for defective equipment

1 ticket for improper tags

1 ticket for no state inspection sticker

1 ticket for failure to yield the right of way

1 ticket for expired tags

1 ticket for no front tag

1 ticket for driving while suspended

2 violations for possession of alcohol by a minor

1 violation for possession of marijuana

1 violation for theft of property

4 violations for bad checks

1 trespassing at Food Lion


The Town police served an EPO for Halifax and assisted Charlotte County Sheriff’s office with a drug arrest.  Chief Cousins distributed a copy of a resolution regarding the renewal of the mutual aid agreement with surrounding counties and towns for review by the Council.  K-9 Ice did five scans for drugs during the month locating marijuana in one scan.


Councilperson Jennings asked Chief Cousins and Sergeant Carr why they both were on duty in attendance at the meeting tonight.  Sergeant Carr replied that he had heard that there may be an unruly crowd tonight due to the trash situation.  Councilperson Jennings told the officers that he thought that the town manager could present the important parts of the report to the Town Council without the officers being present.  He said he thought their services could be better used on the street.  Councilperson Jean said he agreed with Councilperson Jennings on the issue, but if there was something important that the Chief felt he needed to be here, then he could request that the Town Manager put him on the agenda.  Councilperson Meisenbach said she saw both sides of the issue, but she did not want a complete disconnect with the officers.  She said that the Chief should get with Mr. Nicholson to discuss this.  She said she would like to hear from the police at least once a quarter.  Vice Mayor Nowlin said he had mixed feelings on the issue.  He said he thought two officers were not needed at the meeting, but he felt a public meeting should have one officer in attendance.  Mayor Campbell left the decision to Mr. Nicholson and Chief Cousins to determine if a police officer is needed in attendance at the Council meeting.




Public Works Director Mike Crews said that fall clean up will be held October 26, 2009, through November 6, 2009.  He said that normally it is advertised via a paid advertisement in the Union Star, but Mayor Campbell questioned if it could be put in the community events section of the newspaper in light of previous discussions tonight.


Mr. Crews said he had Mr. Davis (Davis Tree Service) to look at the tree at the cemetery that needs to be taken down.  He said Mr. Davis will be giving him a quote.  He also told the Council that the new trash truck was ordered on October 2, 2009 and would take approximately 120 days to complete.




Town Manager Buster Nicholson updated the Council on the downtown grant.  Aaron Arnett from Arnett Muldrow and Associates will be in Brookneal on October 28, 2009, to finalize the economic restructuring plan for the downtown revitalization grant.  He also reported that the Town has received the donation waiver statements for the land from 13 of the 15 property owners.  This represents 17 of the 19 properties involved.  Embarq and First States Investors (owner of Wachovia property) have not yet returned their waiver statements.


He said the bid opening on the water project was held on October 6, 2009, and the apparent low bidder was Littleton and Associates at $992,000 for the water treatment plant.  The apparent low bidder on the water line project at the opening on October 9, 2009, was Haymes Construction at $1,888,529.52.  This will leave $1,457,616 of additional money left since the bid came in so low.


On the wastewater treatment project, the plans should be finalized by the end of November and ready for the bidding to start after that.  Mr. Nicholson announced that the Town office has begun auditing meals taxes on some restaurants in the interest of best business practices.  The Town Office is also doing a canned food drive to help the local BEAM food bank.


Councilperson Jennings asked Mr. Nicholson if he talked with the temporary employee that was still listed on the payroll as was requested at the last meeting.  Mr. Nicholson said he had done so.





Upon motion by Tracy Meisenbach, seconded by Robert Jean and unanimously carried, the council adopted the following resolution for the personal property tax relief act:




Town of Brookneal, Virginia


In accordance with the requirements set forth in VA. CODE ANN. §58.1-3524 C.2. and §58.1-3912 E., as amended by Chapter 1 of the Acts of Assembly (2004 Special Session I), Chapter 879 of the Acts of Assembly (2008) and as set forth in Item 503.E. (Personal Property Tax Relief Program) of Chapter 951 of the 2005 Acts of Assembly, any qualifying vehicle sitused within the Town of Brookneal commencing January 1, 2009, shall receive personal property tax relief in the following manner:


  • Personal use vehicles with assessed value of $500 or less will be eligible for 100% tax relief;
  • Personal use vehicles with assessed value of $501 to $10,000 will be eligible for 73 % tax relief;
  • Personal use vehicles with assessed value of $10,001 or more shall receive only 73% tax relief on the first $10,000 in assessed value;
  • All other vehicles which do not meet the definition of “qualifying” (such as business use vehicles, farm use vehicles, motor homes, etc.) will not be eligible for any form of tax relief under this program;
  • In accordance with Item 503.D.1. of Chapter 951 of the 2005 Acts of Assembly, the entitlement to personal property tax relief for qualifying vehicles for tax year 2005 and all prior tax years shall expire on September 1, 2006.  Supplemental assessments for tax years 2005 and prior years that are made on or after September 1, 2006 shall be deemed “non-qualifying” for purposes of state tax relief and the local share due from the taxpayer shall represent 100% of the tax assessable.





Phyllis L. Campbell, Mayor






Bobbie A. Waller, Clerk/Treasurer



Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by James Nowlin, and unanimously carried, the Council adopted the following resolution for the sidewalk grant applied for by the Town Manager:






WHEREAS, the Town of Brookneal recognizes the importance of exercise to the well being of its school children, and


WHEREAS, the Brookneal Elementary School is located within the Town of Brookneal and in a residential neighborhood, and


WHEREAS, the Town of Brookneal also recognizes that there is an opportunity each school day for students to walk and/or bike to and from school if there were sidewalks and other pedestrian friendly amenities in the vicinity of the school, and


WHEREAS, the Virginia Department of Transportation has a grant program that promotes walking and biking activities through the funding of infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks, electronically controlled street crossings, pedestrian crosswalks, and safety training for k-8 school children, and


WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Town of Brookneal to apply for these funds in order to provide needed improvements around the school which will allow children to actively participate in walking/biking to and from school on a daily basis.


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town of Brookneal strongly supports the goals of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes To School Program and hereby directs its Town Manager to actively pursue this grant opportunity.




______________________________      ___________________________________

Phyllis Campbell - Mayor         DATE                  ATTEST Clerk of Council

Town of Brookneal



Physical Development Committee Chairperson James Nowlin said that there was discussion about the matching grant that was suggested by the Lions Club for either the playground equipment or the community building.  Councilperson Jean said that he had talked to the American Plastics facility in Town about fixing the slide at the playground.  They would do it in exchange for the use of a dumpster for a year.  Councilperson Meisenbach questioned bartering with a business.  Mr. J. D. Puckett noted that the Town would have to do an acceptance of a donation from the business.  Mayor Campbell asked the Physical Development Committee to meet with Mike Morris at American Plastics about the playground equipment and work out the details.  Mr. Jennings said that he would still like to see that playground upgraded and updated with new stuff.


Mr. Nowlin said that the gazebo at the community building either needs to be painted or refinished since it has been in place for a while now.  He put it out for the committee and the Council to consider.


Mr. Nowlin also announced the Lions’ Club time capsule was supposed to be buried this Saturday, October 17, 2009, but the stone to be placed over the burial site is not quite ready.  However, they are still going to have the ceremony at 2:00 p.m. and bury the capsule at a later date.  The president of the Lions Club asked that the time capsule be stored in the Town Office building for safekeeping until it can be buried.  Consensus was to allow the Lions Club to do this.  Mr. Nowlin also asked the Town if they wanted to put something in the time capsule.  Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Kenneth Jennings, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to put items from the Town in the time capsule including pictures of the projects going on in the Town.


Mr. Nowlin said that the committee along with the Town Manager needs to take a look at the community building and the work that needs to be done to that building.  He also said that that he would like to point out that the doors of the Town Office need work, and that was discussed some time ago, but was pushed “under the rug” at the time.


Councilperson Meisenbach said that she had had a couple of citizens request that the Town look into getting recycling bins to “go green.”  She also discussed putting up fencing around the air conditioning units at the community building.


Councilperson Jennings asked about the fire hydrant behind the school that is not working.  Mr. Crews said that the one at the corner of Harrison Street and Forest Street works, but it leaks.  Mr. Jennings presented a recommendation to have that one fixed.


Mr. Crews said that he has to purchase conduit and wiring for the flagpole at the community building in addition to what has already been mentioned earlier.  He wanted to make the Council aware of this.


Upon motion from Robert Jean, seconded by Richard Adams, and unanimously carried, Mayor Campbell announced that the October 13, 2009, Council meeting was adjourned.





___________________________                  ____________________________

Bobbie A. Waller                                             Phyllis L. Campbell

Clerk/Treasurer                                               Mayor

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