July 13, 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 (came in around 8:10 p.m. during committee recommendations), 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 Robert Jean, seconded by James Nowlin, and unanimously carried, Council approved the agenda for the July 13, 2010, regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council.

 

 

MINUTES

Upon motion by Kenneth Jennings, seconded by Robert Jean and unanimously carried, Council approved the June 8, 2010 and June 23, 2010, Town Council meeting minutes.

 

TREASURER’S REPORT

 

Mayor Campbell asked that the July 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 Robert Jean, and unanimously carried, authorizing the payment of the invoices for the period of June 9, 2010, to July 13, 2010, in the amount of $8,916.07.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

Citizens Meg Tibbs and Sonya Furgurson asked if they could reserve comment for later.

CAMERON ANCTIL WITH A REQUEST FROM SOUTHERN VIRGINIA WINE TRAIL

Cameron Anctil of 1282 Dog Creek Road, Brookneal, appeared on behalf of the Southern Virginia Wine Trail.  She displayed a sign that is being proposed by the Southern Virginia Wine Trail (SOVA) to be erected at 40 and 501 at the stoplight.  It has been approved by the Virginia Department of Tourism as well as the Virginia Department of Transportation, but depending upon where the signs are placed, it depends on who gets to approve the location.  Ms. Anctil said that she had met with Mike Crews this afternoon at the proposed location, and she said that the piece of property where they want to put it is either owned by the railroad or VDOT.  If the spot chosen for the proposed sign is owned by the railroad, they probably will not approve the sign, but if the spot is owned by VDOT, Dwayne Ware of that office has approved the sign; the Town just needs to approve it as well.  There is also a sign proposed to go in front of Burgers, Shakes & Cream which has been approved by owner Tom Keefer, but needs Town approval as well.  Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Kenneth Jennings, and unanimously carried, the Council approved the signs proposed by Cameron Anctil to be placed at the 40 and 501 intersection at the stoplight and in front of the Burgers, Shakes & Cream restaurant.

 

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT

Public Works Director Mike Crews asked that the issue with the Mid-Atlantic Broadband be referred to the physical development committee.  Mr. Crews said he met with Don Search from Mid-Atlantic Broadband last month regarding the location of the building and the easement request.  Mr. Crews passed out a copy of a map showing where they wanted to put the building.  Mr. Crews said that the Council needed to look at a lease agreement with them.  He said the Town needed to look at what services they may get from Mid-Atlantic Broadband.

 

Mr. Crews said that the block is being laid for the carbon feed building at the water treatment plant.  He said that they are having problems with the finished water pumps because they are weak, so they are not able to fill the Hunter Road tank.  He asked that the citizens sparingly use water.  He said the new pumps will not be in until August 23, 2010.  He said the new floating dock has been put in place at the reservoir.  He said a fence is going to be put around the new dock.  Once that is done, he said the reservoir should be opened for fishing again.

 

The water line improvements have been completed on the north side of the railroad tracks.  Testing has been done on the 12” lines, and it has passed all the tests.

 

Mr. Crews said that there is a opening at the water treatment plant.  Interviews were done today, and hopefully, someone will be hired to start on the 19th of July.

 

Closing on the sanitation vehicle was on July 8, 2010.  The Town is going to be reimbursed for paying off the sanitation vehicle in the next few days.  Payments are going to be $791 per month.

 

RECOMMENDATION FOR APARTMENT/LOFT ZONING IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA

Mr. Crews discussed the issue with James Capps and the building he owns on Rush Street.  He had requested to have two apartments in the upstairs part of that building.  There was a public hearing in May and the issue was tabled by the Council at that point.  Upon some more study, Mr. Crews said that if this was allowed by the Town, it would be considered spot zoning in that area.  He made the recommendation that since the Town is doing a downtown revitalization grant this should be researched, and that localities in different areas have looked at loft apartments in some of the businesses downtown.  He said that it should be referred to the physical development committee to designate a section of downtown for loft apartments.  He said he would talk with the planning commission members.  He said if Council approves doing this, there would have to be a conditional use permit, advertise for a public hearing, and then the issue would go to the planning commission for their approval.  There would be standards set by the planning commission for businesses in the designated area to follow if they wanted to have loft apartments in their business.

 

RESIGNATION OF A COUNCIL MEMBER

Mayor Campbell said that Councilmember Phillip Sheppard had resigned his Council seat effective July 1, 2010.  She thanked Mr. Sheppard for serving on Town Council.  Mayor Campbell said that Mr. Sheppard had taken a position which requires him to work 3-11 p.m., therefore preventing him from attending Town Council meetings.  Mayor Campbell said that she contacted Karen Danos of the Campbell County Registrars Office, and she said the position has to be filled in 45 days.  Mayor Campbell said that after contacting the state registrar’s office and the county attorney Kristen Wright, she contacted Town attorney Frank Wright who told her the seat should be filled in 45 days.  Mr. Wright also recommended that in the best interest of the Town, since it is so close to an election, that this seat be advertised in the Union Star to let people know the seat is vacant and see if anyone is interested in serving the remainder of Mr. Sheppard’s term.  He also suggested the Council interviewing the interested candidates, or compile a list of questions and have each potential candidate fill that out and review it before the next Council meeting.  Mayor Campbell pointed out that since there are three new people running for Council in the fall, if one of those is appointed to fill Mr. Sheppard’s seat, they can still be put in that seat, stay on the ballot to run, if they lose in November, they would still stay in Mr. Sheppard’s seat, and run again when his term is up if they so desire.

 

Councilperson Kenneth Jennings, first of all, voiced his displeasure with the note that was put in the Council packet detailing Mr. Wright’s opinion on the issue.  He said it was not put on Town letterhead or Mr. Wright’s letterhead, it was not dated, and it was not signed.  He felt it was very unprofessional.  Mr. Jennings said that Council had faced a situation like this before when Chief Everett Guill passed away during his term of office and similar to that when Mayor Vince Lusardi passed away.  Mr. Jennings said that Council was not sought out in what to do in those situations.  Mr. Jennings said that he was not in favor of taking Mr. Wright’s advice of opening this up to the public to apply for.  He said these were elected Council seats, and it should be from a list of people who made the effort and sought to win an elected seat.  He did not think it should be opened up to the public and that any “Tom,Dick or Harry” putting in an application and coming in saying they wanted to sit on Council and because they may have friends on this Council, they are put in that Council seat.  He said that the Council owed it to the citizens of Brookneal to go back to those who made the effort in the last election, and take the top vote getter, which would be Stacy Hailey but he has moved, so the next one down is Sonya Furgurson.  Mayor Campbell wanted to clarify that she did not have friends who want to serve on the Council.  She said this was not her idea to say this was what was recommended.  It was the attorney Frank Wright’s advice following her call to Karen Danos who advised her to send Phillip Sheppard’s letter in.  Mr. Jennings said that he felt like it was poor advice.  Mayor Campbell said that Mr. Wright said the Council has the authority to do what it wants to do, but he felt this was fair to the 1240 citizens of the Town.  Mayor Campbell said that Mr. Wright in no way insinuated that we have to follow his advice.  Mr. Jennings said that he felt it was not in his duty to choose a Councilperson.  He said he felt the Town made a statement at the last election, and that was the precedent that was set before.

 

Vice Mayor Nowlin commented that in good judgment, we have done it in the past before when the attorney and the mayor talked, and we did not get a legal document to get an advisement which this is.  He said he did not see the necessity of a letterhead to tell us what he suggested we do.  He said what the mayor did was fine, and he said that he agreed with the opinion that it should go out to the public to allow them to voice their opinion.

 

Councilperson Jean said he would like to have a little more time to think about this issue.  He also said that he did not feel comfortable making that decision to put someone on Council.

 

Councilperson Meisenbach said that she felt that anyone interested in getting on Council should be attending these meetings prior to running so that they don’t get dropped into it.  She said that she agreed with Mr. Jennings’ earlier statement that we need to look at what the voters told us in the past and the attendance record and effort people have put into seeking this position.  She said she was concerned with doing personal interviews on potential candidates because it may give the impression of coloring our choices or incurring favor.  She said that whoever does not get picked is not going to be happy, and there is going to be political reasons brought up for no reason.  She said that no one has put as much effort in it as Ms. Furgurson.

 

Mayor Campbell said she did leave reserve for some public comment.  Meg Tibbs, of Terry Road, said that there are good candidates running for the election in the fall including Barbara LaPrade, Mark Wilkes, Sonya Furgurson as well as incumbents Bob Jean and Tracy Meisenbach.  She said she thought it was a political ploy to pull someone who ran 1 ½ years ago, when Ms. Furgurson is running in the fall.  If she gets Mr. Sheppard’s seat, and she loses in the fall, she still has a seat.  She said if she gets Mr. Sheppard’s seat and she wins in the fall, she has had a political advantage over the other candidates who are running in the fall.  If Ms. Furgurson wins and this seat is vacated, then you have to find another person to fill the vacant seat.  She said that she felt you should find somebody to fill this seat, and let everybody run on their own merits in the fall.

 

Mr. Alan Tibbs, of Terry Road, said that he would agree with Mr. Jennings if the Town had just had an election, but the Town is getting to have another election, he did not agree with him.

 

Ms. Sonya Furgurson, of 211 Willow Lane, said that she felt like this discussion has become heated to the point where she said she felt almost uncomfortable.  She said that she knew Ms. Barbara LaPrade professionally and she knew members of her family, and she thought Ms. LaPrade was a wonderful person.  She said she felt like this has become personal and heated to the point where it probably should not have been.  She said she did receive the next highest votes other than Stacey Hailey in November 2008.  She said that she was one of the very few people in this Town who will come and sit in on these Town Council meetings.  She said she felt her presence at these meetings should speak more than words.

 

Mr. Alan Tibbs, of Terry Road, recommended appointing someone that has already served on Town Council to fill out Mr. Sheppard’s term.  Ms. Sonya Furgurson, said that she would withdraw her name from the ballot in November if she were chosen to fill Mr. Sheppard’s seat.  Mr. Jennings noted that she had until August 12, 2010 to do so.  Ms. Meg Tibbs pointed out that she just wanted it to be fair for everybody.  Ms. Anctil pointed out that she had been in a similar situation in Florida, and she said that she would recommend a special election to this Town because of the heat in these meetings and the foggy microscope that the Council is under right now.

 

Mr. Jean said that a special election sounded good to him because he did not want to be in the position of choosing a Council member.  Mr. Jennings concurred with Mr. Jean, and said that it would take the responsibility off of the Council.  Ms. Meisenbach asked if there was time to do that.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

In Chairperson Richard Adams’ absence, Finance and Planning Committee member Robert Jean passed out some information on an ad, job description, and sample interview questions for the Town Manager position.  He has been looking at information that the Town of Glasgow has used since they are similar in size and budget to Brookneal.  Members decided to meet on a Saturday in the near future.

 

Public Works Director Mike Crews talked briefly about the playground.  He said that Mike Morris from American Plastics went down and tried to repair the playground equipment, but the materials he had did not work.  He is going to see if he can find some materials that will work.  He said they were going to take down the electrical box as soon as the wire was disconnected.  He said they were going to fix the basketball fence based on what the maintenance guys could do.

 

 

ITEMS FROM TOWN COUNCIL

Mayor Campbell thanked the American Legion Post 52 for their donation of $100.00 to the Town for the community building.  Mayor Campbell also noted that the police department has received a grant for a police vehicle in the amount of $37,000.  She thanked Sergeant Brian Carr and Officer Earhart for working on this grant.

 

Councilperson Adams noted that the shrubbery at the intersection on Rush and Lusardi needs to be trimmed so that motorists can see well to pull out of that intersection.

 

Councilperson Meisenbach asked if a committee consisting of townspeople was going to be used again for the selection process of a town manager.  Mr. Jean said it was, but they were just trying to get an ad together right now.  Mr. Adams also noted that the selection of a police officer was being worked on and interviews were going to be set up with the help of Tommy Elder from Charlotte County.

 

Councilperson Jennings said that he had been requested to suggest to the Council to form a list of local pastors from the community to come and do opening prayers at the Council meetings each month.  He said he was told that it would create a greater involvement of our community churches into this Council meeting.  Mr. Jennings also said that he had been asked about having a community meeting inviting community, business, church, and civic leaders to discuss areas of need in our Town.  He said it would give an opportunity for people like BEAM, LAMBS, churches, and other civic organizations to identify some of the areas that are not being addressed.    Mr. Jean suggested inviting these groups to a Town Council meeting.  Mayor Campbell suggested doing this at the September meeting, and holding it at the community building if needed.

ADJOURNMENT

Upon motion from Robert Jean, seconded by Kenneth Jennings, and unanimously carried, Mayor Campbell announced that the July 13, 2010, Council meeting was adjourned.

 

 

 

___________________________                  ____________________________

Bobbie A. Waller                                             Phyllis L. Campbell

Clerk/Treasurer                                               Mayor

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