P.O. Box 450/215 Main Street Brookneal, VA 24528

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January 10, 2017


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, Joseph B. David, Jr., and Mark Wilkes (came in at 7:25 p.m.), Council Members 
Russell Thurston, Town Manager
Bobbie Waller, Clerk/Treasurer
Mike Crews, Public Works Director
Richard Baldwin, Chief of Police



Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Richard Adams, and unanimously carried, Council approved the agenda for the January 10, 2017, regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council.


Upon motion by Joseph David, seconded by Richard Adams, and unanimously carried, Council approved the minutes for the December 13, 2016, Town Council meeting.   


Mayor Campbell asked that the January 2017 treasurer’s report be filed for audit. 


Be it resolved that motion was made by Robert Jean, seconded by Joseph B. David, Jr., and unanimously carried, authorizing the payment of the invoices for the period of
December 14,  2016 to January 10, 2017, in the amount of $12,558.89.


Sam Terry, representing the Brookneal Volunteer Fire Department, spoke before the Council to discuss the water situation around the storage tanks in Brookneal. He said about this time last year in February the big Dan River fire occurred and used a lot of water, and the fire department was not made aware until then that the downtown water tank was empty and inoperable.  He said if they would have had that 75,000 gallons that the downtown tank holds it would have saved a lot of pain and headache for everyone during that time.  He said that there have been some discrepancies with the Town over the water; he said there have been some meetings with the Town Council representatives and the fire department.   He said they are not set up to draft water out of the river on a regular basis.  He said they are in fear that they don’t have enough water to stop a large fire if something was to happen on Main Street.  He says that weighs heavily on the fire department, and it ought to weigh heavily on the Town.  He said this has been drug out farther than it should have since they have known about this for a while.  He said they have “demo-ed” a lot of equipment to see if it would work to pull water out of the river; so far they have not found anything that has worked.  He said concerns of the river are fluctuation of the levels, the river’s current and the amounts of sediment.

He said there are no ponds in Town other that the Monroe’s pond on Booker Road.  He said they have explored other options, such as the hatchery and the reservoir with no real success.  He said they are trying to find some means to get back to square 1 where they don’t feel like they are not adequately prepared.  He said the concern with the Monroe’s pond is the access road; it is not in very good shape.  He said the Monroe’s have a 500 hp diesel motor for a great price but it has no pump; a pump would have to be purchased. 

He said they need a solution that is low maintenance, low impact, and reasonably priced with low upkeep. 

Town Manager Russell Thurston passed out a copy of a letter concerning the violations the Town has been facing with the TTHMs (Total Tri-halo Methanes).   He said TTHMs is a problem when the water gets too old in the system; it is not turned over in the system quick enough.  He noted that TTHMs are a methane gas.  He said the letter states that the Town of Brookneal is a serious violator under the US Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement response policy for exceeding TTHM.   He said this is an “order” from the commonwealth issued by the state board of health.  He said that the water tank behind the town hall is not coming back online until somebody at the state says it can come back online; it is not coming back online until the Town can keep the water turned over quick enough.  He said it is going to be anywhere from $150,000 to $2,000,000 to put the right technology in to keep the water that is in the system turning over every 4 to 5 days.  He said the water essentially has an expiration date on it.  He said the tank cannot be put back online until the technology is there to keep the water turned over every 4 to 5 days.  He said it is going to take a lot of engineering, a lot of technology and a lot of money to get the downtown tank back online.  He said that the attorney for the commonwealth does not care about anything but the health and the quality of the drinking water.   He said Mr. Crews fought hard to try to keep this tank online for fire suppression, but he said the commonwealth does not care about that aspect.  Mr. Thurston said he talked to the state (DCR) about the use of the reservoir for fire suppression.  He said they advised that anything is possible, but they don’t want us “messing” with the water system because of the legal scrutiny the Town is under right now.    He said if any water comes out of that reservoir for anything other than drinking water, somebody at the state and federal level have to approve it.  

Mr. Thurston said that the Town is trying to find solutions but right now, the solution to put the tank back online is very expensive.  He said right now, what the Town can do is to say “what can we do financially to help fund putting in a better road on Michael Monroe’s property (for the pond available on his property), helping put in a better road behind his vineyard, or helping to buy a pump that would help pull water out of the river”.  He said he felt the Council would help to fund some solution to this whether it is a road, a pump, a right of way or to help build a landing for access to water. 


Chief Richard Baldwin presented the police report for December 2016.  He said of the 50 calls for service, 36 were answered by the Brookneal Police Department.    


Public Works Director Mike Crews said the Town plowed streets during the first snowstorm of the season.    


Town Manager Russell Thurston said that the first budget meeting will be held on February 8, 2017 at 11 a.m.  He passed out a schedule of all budget meetings.  He said last month he presented some information about some proposed personnel changes, and he asked the Council to review it and be prepared to vote on it this month.  He said the first change is concerning annual leave.  His proposal is that after the first full month of employment, an employee will earn 4 hours of annual leave; the policy now is that a new employee has to wait until they are employed for one full year before they earn any annual leave.  He said the second change is concerning overtime pay on holidays.  His proposal is that if an employee is called in on a holiday that they get paid overtime pay at 1 ½ times their normal rate in addition to the holiday pay.


Vice Mayor Nowlin made a motion to accept those proposed changes to the personnel manual. 

The motion received a second from Robert Jean.  Councilperson Adams interrupted and noted that the finance and planning committee has not even met to discuss the changes to the personnel manual.  He said that he thought the paragraph on the overtime pay needs to be re-worded; he said an employee could look at the way it is and think they are going to get regular pay plus overtime pay (almost double pay) for working on a holiday.  Mr. Thurston said the old paragraph goes away and is replaced with the new paragraph that he has proposed.  Mr. Adams said that the wording needs to be a little more specific and a little clearer on how that is stipulated.  After some discussion, Vice Mayor Nowlin rescinded his motion concerning the proposed changes to the personnel manual to give the finance and planning committee a chance to meet on the issue.  Mr. Adams said he would get his committee together hopefully in the next week to 10 days to discuss this.  Mayor Campbell suggested that this committee meet at the February 8, 2017 scheduled budget meeting.


Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Joseph B. David and unanimously carried, the Council voted to adopt the schedule of meeting dates for 2017 and the town holidays for 2017 as outlined by the Clerk/Treasurer.            


Upon motion by Joseph B. David, Jr., seconded by Robert Jean, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to approve the following transfers of appropriation.


To:       Brookneal Town Council

Date:    January 10, 2017



There were no committee recommendations. 


Councilperson David asked Council members to ask their local churches about sheltering people who may need a place to stay during this extremely cold weather.      


Upon motion by Mark Wilkes, seconded by James Nowlin, and unanimously carried, Mayor Campbell announced that the January 10, 2017, Council meeting was adjourned. 

___________________________                  ____________________________

Bobbie A. Waller                                           Phyllis Campbell

Clerk/Treasurer                                              Mayor

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