July 8, 2014

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, Robert Jean, Barbara Laprade, and Joseph B. David, Jr., Council Members 

Russell Thurston, Town Manager

Bobbie Waller, Clerk/Treasurer

Mike Crews, Public Works Director

Richard Baldwin, Chief of Police

Absent: Mark Wilkes, Council Member

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

 

Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Richard Adams, and unanimously carried, Council approved the agenda for the July 8, 2014, regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council.

MINUTES

 

Upon motion by Joseph B. David, Jr., seconded by James Nowlin, and unanimously carried, Council approved the June 10, 2014, Town Council meeting minutes. 

TREASURER’S REPORT

Mayor Campbell then asked that the July 2014 treasurer’s report be filed for audit. 

PRESENTATION AND APPROVAL OF INVOICES

 

Be it resolved that motion was made by James Nowlin, seconded by Barbara Laprade,  and unanimously carried, authorizing the payment of the invoices for the period of June 11, 2014 to July 8, 2014, in the amount of $14,855.78.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Mr. Scott Miller, the Brookneal representative on the Campbell County School Board, appeared before Council to discuss the proposal for the improvement of the schools.  He passed out a copy of the power point presentation that was presented by Dr. Robert Johnson, Superintendent of Campbell County Public Schools, to the joint meeting of the school board and board of supervisors at their last meeting.  He said that the topic of school consolidation came up before he was elected to the school board, and the recommendation by the school board of consolidating 4 schools into 2 had already been made.  He said the recommendation was formally presented to the board of supervisors this year, and it was now in the hands of the board of supervisors.  Mr. J. D. Puckett noted that the board of supervisors has now handed it back to Dr. Johnson for more financial information and more educational information.  He said another joint workshop is planned for September or October.  Mr. Miller said nothing has been officiated yet.  He reviewed the hand out a little bit and noted the two options:

  • Consolidating the 2 schools as well as building 2 new middle schools
  • Building a new Rustburg middle school and renovating the rest of the schools

Mr. Miller said that he made the comment at the meeting that the school board’s focus needs to be on the kids’ period.  He said that all the other issues including community impact, although the school board is sensitive to that is not their primary charge which is how to best serve the kids at a reasonable price and the taxpayer’s dollar.  Councilperson Robert Jean noted that the kids in this end of the county won’t be best served if they build a new school which won’t be in this area, although it may better serve the kids in other parts of the county.  Mr. Miller said that the focus is on equity and opportunity for all the kids in the county.  Mr. Jean noted that it will not enhance the opportunity for kids that have to travel to band and sports an hour away; he said they may not have rides to and from their activities.  Mr. Miller said he thought the focus was on education and not everything else.  After other drawbacks were discussed for the kids in this area, Mr. Miller said that there is no easy answer.   Councilperson Adams noted that the construction costs in the handout are way too short sighted because the schools are not going to be built in 2015, and he said the costs are going to escalate far above what is being projected in the presentation.  He asked how in the world the county is going to pay for it because you have new supervisors that say they are going to give tax money back from the prior two years and now you are looking at hundreds of millions of dollars for schools.  Mr. Miller noted that if you look at the two options of renovating versus building new, the long term cost of renovating and maintaining in a 30 year span is significantly more expensive than building new and maintaining new.  Mr. Puckett noted that the enrollment in Campbell County will be dropping in the next 10 to 15 years, and that needs to be figured into this.  Mr. Miller noted that William Campbell is underutilized.  Mr. Jean also noted that they moved the boundary lines and sent some of the students to Rustburg, and now they say William Campbell is under capacity and Rustburg is over capacity.  He suggested that the school board should re-district not rebuild. 

Councilperson David noted to Mr. Miller that the Council only wants to give him ideas to take back to the school board.  Mr. David noted that he wants the kids to have pride in their community and come back here and build jobs and build the infrastructure here.  He also said that he could not grasp the idea of it costing more money to maintain something than to build something new.  Mr. Miller noted that renovation is still on the table but when they crunched the numbers, this is what it showed. 

Mr. Puckett noted that the County is still paying on renovations that have been done to the schools, and those won’t be paid off for 10 to 12 more years.  He said that other projects that need to be done include the dog pound, the 911 center and updating of the radio systems.  He said these other things need to be done for the safety of our citizens.

Mr. Miller said that his concern is that if they go through with the renovation plan, that when they get to William Campbell and start looking at dollars and cents, they are going to say that it makes more sense to close it and redistrict William Campbell.  He said from his standpoint that consolidation is a much better choice for the Brookneal area than redistricting.  Mr. Puckett also noted that the Board of Supervisors (the ones that will appropriate the money for these projects) is going to change completely within the next 2 to 4 years. 

POLICE REPORT

 

Chief Richard Baldwin presented the police report for June 2014.  He said of the 79 calls for service in June, 67 were answered by the Brookneal Police Department.  He said that he and Mr. Thurston have been working on an ordinance concerning meth lab clean-up in the Town.  He said the ordinance will state that the Town can force the individual to pay for their meth lab cleanup which can be very expensive.  He said this ordinance will be brought to the Council in the next few months. 

 

 

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT

Public Works Director Mike Crews said he will be flushing fire hydrants the end of July or the first of August.  He said the Dixie Girls softball finished up their tournament in June and the Dixie Boys baseball is currently hosting a state tournament that should wrap up in the next few days. 

Councilperson Laprade asked about the Church Street property that has been abandoned.  She said that the level of growth is so great that something more needs to be done.  Town Manager Russell Thurston said that he is going to bring some legal paperwork to the Council at the next meeting for Council to declare the property a public nuisance and take action to take the property down. 

 

 

TOWN MANAGER REPORT

 

Town Manager Russell Thurston told the Council that the floor is complete at the community building dining room.  He said that the public works department painted and took care of the lighting problems in that area also.  He said that he wants to work on the kitchen and the countertops in the next budget year. 

He said that FY14 finished up in June and the numbers were very close with revenue being about $10-12,000 less than expected but thankfully expenses came in less than expected also. 

Mr. Thurston said that the office is still working on the online payment system for utility and tax payments.  He said that Centra Health top officials will be here on July 16 at 2 pm to discuss bringing new physicians to Brookneal. 

Mr. Thurston said that he knew what an important issue the schools and education is, and he has formulated a letter for the Union Star which he is going to outline tonight.  He said that he understands the value of education.  Upon hearing about the proposals for the schools, he said he decided to dig more into the issue of school consolidation.  He said that the rescue squad cried out for years for help and for volunteers, and now they are closing.  He said this issue is for every Brookneal citizen not just those with school age children.  He said that research says that property values in those communities that have lost their schools have declined as much as 25%.  He said that the first thing Centra Health recruiters asked about when they visited Brookneal was schools.  He said that losing our schools may impact losing other valuable services as well.  He said that research shows that smaller schools produce better educational outcomes for children.  He said smaller schools produce higher test scores, have higher graduation rates and lower dropout rates, are better options for minorities, and are better for lower income regions especially rural areas.    He said smaller schools have a strong sense of community and relationship and smaller schools are much safer than larger schools.  He said children that go to smaller schools are more likely to become involved in extracurricular activities.  He said that school consolidation has not produced a significant savings that has been promised to the taxpayers.  He said that increased transit times result in lower academic performance.  He noted that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested $350 million dollars in looking at smaller schools and starting small schools because they see this trend in school consolidation as being harmful to our students.

He said that at the county meetings he has been to, no one talks about what this is going to cost, they only talk about deciding what option they want to pursue without talking about what this is going to cost the taxpayers.  He also said that very little discussion has taken place about what the negative impacts will be.  He said this is a very important issue, and he has compiled a notebook of the research and information which is available to anyone to look at. 

REQUEST FOR TRANSFERS OF APPROPRIATION

 

Upon motion by Richard Adams, seconded by Joseph B. David Jr., and unanimously carried, the Council approved the following request for transfer of appropriation:

REQUEST FOR TRANSFER OF APPROPRIATION

 

To:       Brookneal Town Council

Date:    July 8, 2014

 

The following Appropriation Transfers are requested for FY2014:

Category--Expense                                         INCREASE      New Total        Balance in Account

 

Meals Tax—01-1201-0100                                $3,220.96      $110,358.96                 N/A

Category—Expense                                        INCREASE       New Total       Balance in Account

 

Recreation—Repairs&Maint—01-7104-5407     $3,220.96      $  10,939.96    $           0.00

To cover the cost of repairing the lights at the ball park.

Respectfully requested by:

 

_________________________________                  __________________________________

Treasurer                                                                                Date

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

 

There were no committee recommendations. 

ITEMS FROM TOWN COUNCIL

 

Councilperson David said that Brookneal now has its own Boy Scout troop, Troop 181. 

He said signups will be Thursday, August 7, 2014 at the Brookneal community building.

Councilperson Laprade noted that the rain water trenches at the back of the community building parking lot need to be fixed.   

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Upon motion from Robert Jean, seconded by Richard Adams, and unanimously carried, Mayor Campbell announced that the July 8, 2014, meeting was adjourned. 

___________________________                  ____________________________

Bobbie A. Waller                                             Phyllis L. Campbell

Clerk/Treasurer                                               Mayor

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Brookneal, VA 24528