August 10, 2010
MINUTES OF THE BROOKNEAL TOWN COUNCIL

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, Kenneth Jennings, Tracy Meisenbach, and Robert Jean, Council Members

Mike Crews, Public Works Director

Bobbie Waller, Clerk/Treasurer

 

 

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

 

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Upon motion by Kenneth Jennings, seconded by Richard Adams, and unanimously carried, Council approved the agenda for the August 10,  2010, regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council with the following addition 1) Vacancy of Council Member.

 

 

MINUTES

Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Kenneth Jennings and unanimously carried, Council approved the July 13, 2010, Town Council meeting minutes.

 

 

TREASURER’S REPORT

 

Mayor Campbell asked that the August 2010 treasurer’s report be filed for audit.

 

 

PRESENTATION AND APPROVAL OF INVOICES

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 July 14, 2010, to August 10, 2010, in the amount of $10,996.38.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

No one spoke during public comment time.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE FROM MID-ATLANTIC BROADBAND

Mr. Hunter Ford, of Mid Atlantic Broadband in South Boston, appeared before Council to request an easement for a site to place a broadband hut/switch in the Town of Brookneal a the ball park.  A diagram of the proposed site was distributed to the Council for their review.  Pictures of other sites were also distributed.  He said that stimulus awards have been obtained for about 15 million dollars for broadband in schools in the counties served by Mid Atlantic which includes Southside Virginia from Stuart to Emporia along 58, also Sussex into Petersburg, Appomattox, Farmville, Amelia, Lynchburg, Rocky Mount, and Martinsville.  He explained that the generators at the hut run on Monday mornings around 9 a.m. in the hope of not disturbing anyone.  Councilperson Jennings asked what benefit Brookneal will receive from this project.  Mr. Ford said that his company was hoping that this project would bring jobs to Southside Virginia.  It would also provide high speed internet to places that do not have it now.

He said that this project to bring high speed broadband to the area would allow more people to work at home.  Mr. Jennings said that he hoped that Brookneal would be able to opt in on some discounted connection fees.  Mr. Ford said that there are set rates for their services which are well below what the telephone companies charge.  He said his company provides a certain amount of competition which drives some of the prices down.  Mr. Ford did say that the Town could become a “C” class member which would provide for discounted services to the Town.

 

Upon motion by James Nowlin, seconded by Tracy Meisenbach, the Council voted to allow Mid Atlantic Broadband to place their hut for broadband services on the property at the ball park in the area of the tennis courts.

SCOTT SMITH FROM REGION 2000---UPDATE ON THE DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION PROJECT

Scott Smith of the Region 2000 office appeared before Council to present a progress report on the Downtown Revitalization project.  He said that $216,271.20 of the $1,010,000 grant has been drawn down as of today.  Bids for Phase I for streetscape improvements (from Cook Avenue to the community building) were opened on June 2, 2010.  However, due to complications with USDA bidding policies, the streetscape bid could not be awarded until bids from Phase II of the water line project were opened on August 6.  The lowest bidder for the Phase I was J. Harman Saunders and their bid was within the project budget.

 

He said Southside Outreach has completed work write ups for houses on Main Street that are included in the housing rehab project.  A pre-bid conference will be held on Friday, August 13 at 10:00 a.m.  This is a mandatory meeting, and bids will be opened on Friday, August 27 at 2:00 p.m.

 

Mr. Smith said the façade improvements are ongoing.  Work has been completed on 13 of 19 buildings.  One of the contractors was terminated on May 7, 2010.  There are 4 buildings that he was working on that have not been finished yet.

 

Mr. Smith said that Lynchburg Restoration is ready to proceed with work on 107 and 109 Main Street, however, the owner of 107 Main has not paid his town or county real estate taxes.  The amount owed to the county is preventing the contractor from obtaining a building permit.  Phone calls and letters have been sent to the owner, but to no avail.

 

He said that applications for 10 buildings have been received for Phase II of the façade improvements.  Annie Mathot from Frazier and Associates met with property owners on July 29, and she is currently developing scopes of work based on those meetings.

He informed the Council that Arnett Muldrow & Associates conducted a three-day branding workshop in Brookneal on June 28-30.  They are currently finalizing their recommendations to the Town.

 

Mr. Smith also discussed designating a National Historic District in Brookneal.  He said there could be some tax benefits to business owners if their business is listed on the register.  He said there are about 9 buildings in the area that could be designated on the National Historic District.

 

 

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT

Public Works Director Mike Crews said that the Town has had a lot of problems with water leaks in the Town recently.  The water plant operators have also had trouble keeping the water tank full.  Virginia Rural Water Association came out on July 22 with their leak detection equipment and found three leaks at Brookneal Baptist Church and two leaks on East Forest Street.  They came back on July 26 and found three more leaks, one on East Williams Street, one on Main Street, and one on Forest Street.  For the month of July, there were 11 water repairs ranging from a ¾” line up to a 2” line

 

Mr. Crews announced that a new water plant operator had been hired on July 19.  His name is Darrell Crews.  He also said that a new flocculater has come in for the water treatment plant, and on August 23, the new turbine pumps that pump the water up the hill are scheduled to arrive.   A “boil water” notice will probably be issued before the next Council meeting due to the work that needs to be done at the clear well.  Haymes Brothers is currently coming up Old Main Street with the new water lines and once they finish on Adams Ferry Road, they will be finished with the water line project that was started at the water treatment plant.  He said there was an addendum bid for the water tanks.  That bid opening will be September 1, 2010.  Littleton is currently working on the concrete basin for the uva lights at Staunton River Lagoon.  The concrete basin at Falling River has already been completed.

 

 

VACANCY OF A COUNCIL MEMBER

Mayor Campbell said that at the last Council meeting in July, the Council had discussed the replacement of Phillip Sheppard who resigned on July 1.  Mayor Campbell distributed a letter just prior to the Council meeting from attorney Frank Wright pertaining to the Town petitioning the Circuit Court for a writ to be able to have a special election.  The consensus at the last Council meeting was that the Council did not want to make an appointment, but wished for that person to be elected in that position by special election.  She said that she had signed the petition, and she was going to take it to the attorney on Thursday.  The attorney will petition the court for our special election.  She also said that the election will not be an added cost since there is already an election for the Town in November.  Mayor Campbell said that whoever comes up with the lowest amount of votes (of the 4 elected) in November will replace Mr. Sheppard and will have to run again in 2 years.  Councilperson Meisenbach noted that the assumption was being made that all of the people that would be interested in the special election seat were already running for Council in the regular election.  She said the argument was that by appointing somebody to that seat that was already running in the election that we are limiting the number of people that can go to that seat.  Mayor Campbell noted that if someone wanted to be on the ballot for the special election, they need to register by August 13.  Otherwise, they could be a write in candidate for the special election.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

Finance and Planning Committee Chairperson Richard Adams said that his committee was working on getting three people from the law enforcement community involved in doing background checks on the police officer applicants.  Mr. Adams said that some names to check on have been turned over to the law enforcement individuals.  Mayor Campbell noted that the ad for the town manager was ran in the Sunday, August 8, 2010, News and Advance.

 

Physical Development Committee Chairperson James Nowlin said that he and the other committee member Ms. Meisenbach had discussed getting the planning commission, Scott Smith and their committee together about 1 hour before the September meeting to discuss loft zoning for the downtown area.

 

ITEMS FROM TOWN COUNCIL

Mayor Campbell reminded everyone of the Heritage Festival coming up on August 14, 2010.  Mayor Campbell thanked Mr. Crews and his staff, especially Kevin Williams, for their long hours and hard work.  She also said that Rev. Jerry Stanfield of Childrey Church and Rev. Keith Williams of Falling River Church are going to help organize a community meeting, and they are planning to have it on September 21, 2010.

 

Councilperson Jean mentioned the trash cans with loose tops that needed to be looked at.  Mr. Jean also discussed a situation that occurred when a fire truck was crossing the tracks to a fire down Cook Avenue when a train engine (3 engines together) came through and had no regard or respect for the fire truck.  The train engines took their time, and were going very, very slowly with no regard for the fire truck.  Mr. Crews noted that the train is required to run a certain speed through Town because of repeated accidents at the crossings in Town.  Mr. Jean also said that the committee to interview the applicants for the town manager position needs to be put in place pretty quickly.  Mr. Jean said that he had attended a meeting of the Roanoke River Advisory Board, and he said the issues over the Kerr Reservoir are really heating up.  He said the delegates from NC and VA are meeting to discuss the allocations from the Kerr Reservoir.  He said that people from this area are asking for 10% to be held for people that live within the basin.  The Virginia commission says that 60% of the water should be allocated to Virginia, and 40% allocated to North Carolina. He said that Raleigh/Durham, Henderson, and a few other places have requested water, and if these areas get all of their requests, there will be no water left for this area.  He asked the Council to keep informed on this situation.  Ms. Meisenbach suggested a resolution of support from Brookneal to ask that a certain amount of water to be held within the basin and that the Town is opposed to inner basin transfer of water.  Mr. Jean said he would come up with the figures.  Ms. Meisenbach made a motion for the Town of Brookneal to work up, with Councilperson Jean’s figures, a resolution to protect the water rights of the Town of Brookneal along the Staunton/Roanoke River and be presented to the Council at the September meeting for review.  The motion was seconded by Kenneth Jennings and unanimously carried.

 

Ms. Meisenbach said that she had been asking for an inventory for four years.  She said Officer Earhart came up with a Brookneal Police Department inventory.  She requested an inventory to be presented at the next Council meeting.  Ms. Meisenbach said that a decision needed to be made on the Chief of Police position.  She said that Officer Earhart has had over 300 hours of overtime since the Town lost the second officer this year.  She said that he has submitted an application and resume for the chief of police.  She said that she thought Officer Earhart should be appointed as Chief of Police, and she said then all the Council needs to do is hire another officer.  Mr. Jean said he disagreed with several things that Ms. Meisenbach said.  He said he did not think it was imperative that someone be called a chief.  He said since there is only one officer at this time, what is he the chief of, himself?  When another officer is hired, then someone will have to be in charge, either as a sergeant or chief.  He said that later on, as money is available, hopefully the Town would get back to three officers.  Ms. Meisenbach said that she was not under the impression that once we hire a police officer, and then promote this person who just gets here over the existing officer who has been busting his butt for several months.  Mr. Nowlin and Mr. Adams both said that you could do this and look at all the candidates based on the experience and then the Council would make a decision based on the internal and external candidates.  Mr. Nowlin said that he agreed that we need a chief of police, but not now.  He said there is no one to be the chief over.  Mr. Nowlin said that the Town needs to proceed forward with getting one more officer in the department and then make a decision according to the recommendation of the Council.  Mayor Campbell noted when Sergeant Carr filled the role; the Town did not offer him anything extra.  She said Sergeant Carr worked really hard when he was filling that role after Chief Cousins resigned.  She asked for a consensus of how everyone felt.  Mr. Adams, Mr. Nowlin and Mr. Jean did not feel the need at this point, but Ms. Meisenbach and Mr. Jennings did.  Mr. Jennings said that whether it is title or compensation, Officer Earhart is due something.  He said necessity is a cruel master to a loyal employee.  He also noted, as Mayor Campbell did, that Sergeant Carr’s situation is still in the flux, and we do not know where that is going.  He then seconded Ms. Meisenbach motion to appoint Officer Earhart chief of police.  The vote was 3-2 with Mr. Adams, Mr. Nowlin and Mr. Jean voting against the motion.  The motion, therefore, failed.

 

Mayor Campbell noted that everyone on the Council appreciated Officer Earhart.  She thought that that had been expressed to Officer Earhart at several meetings.

 

Mr. Crews mentioned a problem that Ms. Waller was incurring with the community building and the church that was renting the building on Sundays.  Ms. Waller explained that the situation was so inconsistent.  Some Sundays the church takes it, and some Sundays they don’t.  She said it was a situation that she was always having to deal with, and she shouldn’t have to.  Sometimes it was financial problem, and sometimes it was something that the church has done.  She asked that the Council address the situation again.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

Upon motion from Kenneth Jennings, seconded by Tracy Meisenbach, and unanimously carried, Mayor Campbell announced that the August 10, 2010, Council meeting was adjourned.

 

 

 

___________________________                  ____________________________

Bobbie A. Waller                                             Phyllis L. Campbell

Clerk/Treasurer                                               Mayor

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