September 13, 2011


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, Robert Jean, Tracy Meisenbach, and Barbara Laprade Council Members

Russell B. Thurston, Town Manager

Bobbie Waller, Clerk/Treasurer

Mike Crews, Public Works Director

Ricky Baldwin, Chief of Police

Absent: Mark Wilkes, Council Member



Mayor Campbell opened the public hearing at 7:02 p.m. on the Town's intent to apply with USDA for funding of a proposed police vehicle for the police department. Howard Wells, of Booker Road, spoke in favor of the application, as well as Martha Wilson, of East Forest Street and Janie Seckman of Carson Street. No one spoke in opposition to the application; therefore, Mayor Campbell closed the public hearing at 7:03 p.m.


Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by James Nowlin, and unanimously carried, Council approved the agenda for the September 13, 2011, regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council with the following addition: 1) Resolution for the 50th anniversary of the Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Home.


Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Richard Adams, and unanimously carried, Council approved the August 9, 2011, Town Council meeting minutes.


Mayor Campbell asked that the September 2011 treasurer's report be filed for audit.


Be it resolved that motion was made by James Nowlin, seconded by Richard Adams, and unanimously carried, authorizing the payment of the invoices for the period of August 10, 2011, to September 13, 2011, in the amount of $33,984.67. Councilperson Meisenbach asked in the light of the recent earthquake if the Town did have earthquake coverage. Mayor Campbell said she would have to check on that and bring back the information to the next Council meeting.


Janie Seckman, of 116 Carson Street, said that when they were replacing the water lines on Carson Street, they stopped 40 feet from the last house on Carson Street, and that house did not get new water lines. She said that since the new water meters were put in, people all over town are having water leaks. She said that she was told when they put in the new water lines that they did not disturb water lines going into your house. She said her meter was moved from its original location to another location farther back, so she wanted to know how they did not disturb her water lines. She said she developed a leak after that, but the Town had taken care of her high bill. Public Works Director Mike Crews said that there were several residences in Town that did not get new water lines with the funding that the Town received. He said it has been addressed, and he said if funds were available those residences would be added. He said if not, the Town may have to apply for another grant to get that done. Mr. Crews did not know why her water meter was moved, but said he would check on it.

Ms. Seckman also asked about the water pressure being so low. Mr. Crews explained that the Hunter Road tank was taken off line for painting and sandblasting the end of August. He said that the Hunter Road tank is the highest in elevation; so therefore, the water pressure throughout the town is significantly different. He said the Hunter Road tank should be back on line by the end of September.

Mr. Crews also said the doors on the Town offices have been replaced and that Lynchburg Avenue is being paved and will be paved down to the Bank of Charlotte County.

Mr. Crews also said that there are about 100 water meters left to put in for Phase 2 of the water project. He said that the Rush Street project is presently waiting on VDOT's approval to move forward with the bidding process. He said he did not receive any bids on the 1985 trash truck when he put it out to bid in the Union Star.


Police Chief Ricky Baldwin presented the police report for August to the Council members. He said they were working on a theft case at the car wash. He also said that former police chief Kurland Roark was arrested for DUI by Officer Mitchem last week. Chief Baldwin presented a copy of the proposed changes to the open air burning regulations from the Campbell County Fire Marshal's Office. Councilperson Meisenbach noted that on the changes there was a section about burning of grass clippings and leaves that said "the location of the burning is not less than 300 feet from any occupied building unless the occupants have given prior written permission." She noted that this would pretty much do away with any burning any town. Chief Baldwin agreed that it would. He said they told him at the public safety meeting that Brookneal could make the regulations stricter than they were, but Brookneal could not make it any less strict than what the County ordinance says at this point. Chief Baldwin suggested that Mr. Thurston contact the county administrator's office with any issues or questions the Council has.


Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Tracy Meisenbach, and unanimously carried, the Council approved a resolution honoring the 50th anniversary of Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Home.

A verbal vote was taken as follows:

Ms. Laprade Aye Mr. Jean Aye

Mr. Adams Aye Mr. Nowlin Aye

Ms. Meisenbach Aye

Mayor Campbell




WHEREAS, we proclaim this 17th day of September, 2011, Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation Day in recognition of their 50th anniversary,

WHEREAS, the Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation has achieved the milestone of fifty years of continuous, loving, faithful service, and

WHEREAS, this great achievement has been reached by the collective efforts of many individuals and entities passionate about bringing hope and healing to young people and families in need, and

WHEREAS, this accomplishment reflects the ability of the Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation to successfully fulfill an important, life-changing ministry, and

WHEREAS, the Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation has, and will continue to have an important role in shaping the lives of young people through the loving delivery of services aimed at physical, mental, social and spiritual development, and

WHEREAS, on numerous different occasions during the past fifty years the leadership, staff and residents at the Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation have been an active part of their local communities through service projects aimed at improving the quality of life.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Brookneal Town Council does hereby extend its sincere congratulations to the Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation for fifty years of valuable service to distressed children and families.

BE IT ALSO RESOLVED, that the Brookneal Town Council is extremely proud of the work conducted by the Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation and recognizes the positive impact the organization has had, and continues to have on families in our local community and throughout this great country, congratulations on a job well done.

_______________________________________ ________________

Phyllis L. Campbell, Mayor, Town of Brookneal Date


Town Manager Russell Thurston said that he had promised Kathy Lunsford that he would advise the Council of her property on Carson Street that did not get a new water line. Since Ms. Seckman discussed that earlier, he did not discuss this matter further. He said the Town did receive a settlement from the insurance company of the gentlemen who hit the new light pole in front of Brookneal Tire. Mr. Thurston said that he was told by the people at CVCC that they would not consider revisiting the satellite campus in Brookneal. He said that he thought the facility was very nice, and that he would like to present a proposal to David Laurrell in the near future to use the facility as a learning center for people in the Brookneal area.

He said he has been working on the police car grant. He said he and Chief Baldwin have presented information to Cindy Bomar from USDA in trying to move the process forward. He said he continues to ride along with the police officer on some occasions. He said he has been working on purchasing banners for the new light poles. He also said he has reviewed the draft comprehensive plan, and he is working on amending and adding items to that draft.

He proposed Saturday, October 8, 2011, from 930 to 11 am, as the date and time for the Council to meet and begin work on a Brookneal Economic Development Plan.


Public Works Director Mike Crews said that the Town needs to advertise for a public hearing in October for the regional water supply plan. Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Tracy Meisenbach, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to advertise for the public hearing in October for the water supply plan.


Councilperson Laprade presented some information on rural sourcing to the council a few months ago for their review. She said Rural Sourcing, Inc. is a company that promotes outsourcing jobs to rural areas instead of foreign countries. She said she has solicited input from Mike Davidson, and she had changed some items per his recommendations. Discussion ensued about some of the information on Ms. Laprade's slides for Rural Sourcing. Councilperson Adams suggested researching this company a little bit more to determine how they benefit from our information. She said she would make the changes from comments discussed by the Council and bring it back to the October Council meeting.


Physical Development Committee Chairperson James Nowlin had some information and pricing on sliding boards for the playground at the ballpark. He presented two different slides that Councilperson Wilkes had recommended after looking at various places and checking prices. The price of the one slide was $1,872 and the other slide was $1,879 plus around $200 shipping.

Upon motion by Tracy Meisenbach, seconded by Barbara Laprade, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to purchase a slide (one as noted at the prices above) for the playground at the ballpark provided that the slides mentioned above will work with the existing structure that is at the playground. This money would come from the CDBG grant payments account.

Mr. Nowlin thanked everyone who worked on Day in the Town which was held on September 10, 2011. He said it was very successful and there were more vendors than he had ever seen before.


Mayor Campbell thanked everyone who worked hard on Day in the Town.

Councilperson Laprade said that a concern of hers has been the need for additional lodging in the Town. She asked the Council if it was okay for her to pursue getting more information from some of the hotels and motels that gear themselves toward smaller towns.


Councilperson Jean said that he wants to go back to last month's meeting when he wanted to make a motion to rescind the restriction on the attorney for the town manager and councilperson with one footnote that a councilperson could first go to the Town manager and seek the answer from him and if he does not know it then refer them or either find it, unless the complaint involves the town manager. He said he wanted to remove the restriction of Council and town manager to contact the town attorney, but encourage town council to go to the town manager. The motion was seconded by Tracy Meisenbach, who specified leaving the work "encourage" in the motion. Councilperson Meisenbach said that she did not believe it has ever been abused to the extent that its cost the Town any great amount of money, and she said in some cases it has saved the Town a lot of money to have things interpreted and corrected by the attorney before they get too far. Mayor Campbell said she did not think it had saved us any money, but it has cost us money. She said the last one was $250, and that was not an easy fee for the Town of Brookneal. She said the charge could have been avoided. Councilperson Meisenbach said the cost was cheaper than a lawsuit. Town Manager Russell Thurston asked if the original motion said anything about attorney fees. Councilperson Adams emphasized that the motion did not mention anything about specifically targeting any individual or group of individuals, employees, etc. Mr. Adams said that this was in consideration of potential revenue shortfalls, any expenditure that was not budgeted for the respective departments in the town would require some approval of the Council; and if it could not wait for the next Council meeting, then it would go through the Mayor and down through the chain. Mr. Adams emphasized that in the newspaper today the Campbell County School Board is projecting a shortfall of up to $3.2 million. He said that money is going to have to come from somewhere. He said revenues are going to start dissipating and the Town does not have a new source of revenue; therefore, the Town needs to start watching expenditures. Mr. Jean said that since there is money in the budget for legal advice and the budget has never been exceeded, then he would agree to add to his motion that if money is not in the budget, then that would have to be addressed. Mayor Campbell noted that if you use it for frivolous things then you might not have the money when you need it. Mr. Jean said he did not know if we have had frivolous things, to which Mayor Campbell said that the issue in question could have been answered by calling the member, the person it involved. Ms. Meisenbach said evidently not, and that she had an email to that effect. Mr. Adams said that all he wanted to do was make sure the Town was being fiscally responsible with public monies. Mayor Campbell asked who was in favor of Mr. Jean's vote, to which Mr. Jean and Ms. Meisenbach responded "aye" and Mr. Nowlin and Mr. Adams responded "nay." Ms. Meisenbach noted that without the council member's ability to seek legal advice, if it is something that is a direct violation of state code, then the next option the council member has is simply to contact a higher authority. Ms. Laprade asked if there was a position of abstaining since she had questions. Ms. Laprade said that she saw another alternative that she would like to project for consideration. Mr. Jean said that he would allow a friendly amendment to his motion. Ms. Laprade said she could see both sides of the coin, and a way of satisfying both sides of the coin is that if there is a question regarding the legality of any action, that a member put that question in writing and present that to the town manager. She said that if there is a legal statute in writing that can be presented to answer that question, that that information be distributed to all council members in writing showing the original question and the legal response to that question before calling the attorney. If there is a question regarding the interpretation of that statute then the town attorney would be consulted by the town manager, to clarify that interpretation; however, if there is a question in terms of whether the town manager deems it necessary to call the attorney, then the council would need to meet and discuss that.

Ms. Laprade moved that Council members desiring clarification on legal issues submit all questions to the town manager in writing; the town manager is then responsible for providing written responses to all council members. If that information is unavailable, then the town manager may seek responses from the town attorney. Mr. Thurston noted that he thought the purpose of this motion was to save money and minimize the expenses; instead, this motion adds another step in that it would go through him and then he would call the attorney. Ms. Laprade noted that the town manager might have the answer in his office via other employees who have encountered the matter in question; and therefore, he has avoided the expense of calling the town attorney. Mr. Thurston noted that he does not want one person coming to him in his office to lobby him for or against some personnel related matter or to lobby him for or against an issue so that he would side with that person in his office. Mr. Jean seconded Ms. Laprade's motion. Ms. Meisenbach also voted for the motion, with Mr. Nowlin and Mr. Adam's voting nay. The vote was 3-2 in favor, so therefore, the motion carried. Mr. Nowlin noted that the original motion said that the town manager would be added on as soon as he felt comfortable. Mr. Adams noted that this was taking away from the intent of the original motion. Mayor Campbell noted that from now on, if a Council member incurs a charge for an attorney without going through the town manager first, then the cost will be bounced back to the council member. Ms. Meisenbach said that this would invoke the higher authority such as the commonwealth attorney, state police, and such to which Mayor Campbell replied that the higher authority had been invoked for the last 12 years. Ms. Meisenbach noted that in the past the Council has taken actions that were in violation of state codes and that they could have easily remedied. Mayor Campbell noted that there will be probably be a case of that happening again because the Council is only human. She noted that when calls have been made in the past to FOIA or other places, the question or incident has been phrased to get the answer and response that the caller wants.


Vice Mayor Nowlin noted that the Council needs to think about a program to look for people to replace the employees in Public Works that will be retiring.

Councilperson Meisenbach asked if FOIA had been contacted about providing a workshop for the new Council members. Mr. Thurston said he would check on that.


Upon motion from Barbara Laprade, seconded by James Nowlin, and unanimously carried, Mayor Campbell announced that the September 13, 2011, Council meeting was adjourned.

___________________________                           ____________________________

Bobbie A. Waller                                                       Phyllis L. Campbell

Clerk/Treasurer                                                       Mayor

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