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September 11, 2018

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 at the Brookneal Community Building with the following members present:
James Nowlin, Vice Mayor
Barbara Laprade, Mark Wilkes, Robert Jean, Richard Adams, and Joseph B. David, Jr., Council Members
Richard Baldwin, Chief of Police
Russell Thurston, Town Manager
Mike Crews, Public Works Director
Bobbie Waller, Clerk/Treasurer
Absent: Phyllis Campbell, Mayor

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

PUBLIC HEARING CONCERNING REPEALING AND REPLACING THE WATER AND SEWER ORDINANCE (CHAPTER 50—TOWN CODE)

Vice Mayor Nowlin called the public hearing concerning repealing and replacing the water and sewer ordinance (Chapter 50—Town Code) to order at 7:03 p.m. Town Manager Russell Thurston said that he had asked for a public hearing concerning changing the water and sewer ordinance as far as billing is concerned. He said that state law made a change that recently went into effect that will give the Town the opportunity to charge a deposit in advance for connecting water at a rental property. He noted in the past the town has lost $10-15,000 per year on people who rent property, stay a few months, run up a large bill, and then leave without notifying the Town office or leaving a forwarding address. He said that there is very little means to track them down to collect their debts. He said the General Assembly passed some new laws which he incorporated into the current ordinance. He said a motion to repeal the current ordinance would be needed, and then a motion to replace it with the proposed ordinance. He said the main purpose of this repeal and replace is to stop the Town from losing so much money in delinquent water accounts. He said that the customer would be due a refund of whatever deposit balance is left after all outstanding bills are paid. He said the law states that the Town can now charge up to a 5 months’ water bill deposit.

He said about a year or so ago there was a discussion about backflow preventers; he said that it is also in the revised ordinance that any new construction would have to comply with current building codes which call for having a backflow preventer device on any type of drain that is connected to the sanitary sewer. He said if this is put into effect, he would like for it to go in effect October 1, 2018. Councilperson Jean asked about the deposit being the same or could it be different for some customers. Mr. Jean said he was thinking that the ones that move very frequently, that their deposit should be higher than someone new moving to the area that has a clean slate. Mr. Thurston said that he will keep that in mind as he puts this effect. Mr. Thurston clarified for Councilperson Adams’ question that the ordinance changes only apply to rental properties. Mr. Thurston noted that the person that owns the property must sign a statement that says they authorize the tenant to put the water into their name. He said it also states that the landlord can be liable for up to 3 months of unpaid water bills if the tenant skips out on the Town bill. He noted there is no deposit for homeowners. Mr. Thurston said that the ordinance does not state a dollar amount for a deposit. Councilperson Laprade asked about being consistent in charging people. She said there should be criteria for what you charge. Mr. Thurston noted that the ordinance says that the Town can charge up to 5 months of the average bill in the form of a deposit. Consensus of the Council was to go with the 5 months of deposit.

Councilperson Adams asked about when the property owner would be notified that a tenant is in arrears on the water bill. Mr. Thurston said that according to state law after 30 days, the owner and tenant have to be notified that the account is behind 30 days. Mr. Thurston said that experience has been that landlords seem to rent to people that have a history of great difficulty managing their finances; they come in the Town office, open an account and in 2 months they are gone, and leave the Town hanging with a $200 water bill. Vice Mayor Nowlin closed the public hearing at 7:20 p.m.

MOTION TO REPEAL CHAPTER 50, TOWN CODE WATER AND SEWER ORDINANCE

Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Joseph David, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to repeal the current Chapter 50, Town Code Water and Sewer Ordinance.

MOTION TO ENACT THE NEW CHAPTER 50, TOWN CODE WATER AND SEWER ORDINANCE

Upon motion by Robert Jean, seconded by Richard Adams, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to enact the new Chapter 50, Town Code Water and Sewer Ordinance. The new ordinance is presented below:

view ordinance

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Upon motion by Mark Wilkes, seconded by Richard Adams, and unanimously carried, Council approved the agenda for the September 11, 2018, regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council.

MINUTES

Upon motion by Joseph David, seconded by Mark Wilkes, and unanimously carried, Council approved the minutes for the August 14, 2018 Town Council meeting.

TREASURER’S REPORT

Vice Mayor Nowlin asked that the September 2018 treasurer’s report be filed for audit.

PRESENTATION AND APPROVAL OF INVOICES

Be it resolved that motion was made by Mark Wilkes, seconded by Barbara Laprade and unanimously carried, authorizing the payment of the invoices for the period of August 15, 2018 to September 11, 2018, in the amount of $24,665.79.

MS. TONYA ADICHES, DENTAL DIRECTOR FOR THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, CONCERNING FLUORIDE USE IN THE TOWN WATER

Ms. Tonya Adiches appeared before Council to share some information on community water fluoridation. She said that there is a lot of information on the web about community water fluoridation both positive and negative. Some of the points she shared included:

• Fluoridation is not just predicated on one study. They look at a lot of information from public health regions.

• Fluoride was first endorsed by the Virginia State Board of Health in 1951.

• 5.8 million Virginians consume water that has been adjusted with fluoride to the optimal level. She said they like to fluoridate at .70 milligrams per liter.

• Community water fluoridation is still the most effective means of reducing tooth decay and can result in up to 40% reduction in dental decay. It has been proven in communities a little larger than Brookneal that for every $1 spent on community water fluoridation, $38 in treatment costs are saved.

• Water fluoridation benefits everyone regardless of age, income level, or insurance status. It is a public health initiative. It has been cited as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century by the Centers for Disease Control.

• The Board of Health recommends that all public water systems in Virginia be optimally fluoridated as water fluoridation is the most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay.

She said that she looked back in the files for Brookneal, and Brookneal received several grants for equipment as well as chemicals. She said they are very invested in fluoridation in this community, and there are grant funds that are available to assist Brookneal. She said they have offered in the past to provide the split sample testing that has to be sent off to the lab and they would provide that again.

DR. WILLIAM DRAKE CONCERNING FLUORIDE IN THE WATER

Dr. William Drake, Brookneal dentist, appeared before Council to support fluoride in the Town water supply. He noted in answering a question from Councilperson David that an adult doesn’t get as much benefit from fluoride as a child does. He said fluoride is only supplemented to a certain age; there are no fluoride supplements for adults. Dr. Fisher said that fluoride helps the surface of the teeth in adults. He said that if you can keep children’s teeth without decay and they don’t have to have fillings, then as they get to be adults, there will be a better result into adulthood.

Dr. Drake said that the American Medical Association, the American Council on Pediatrics, and the American Dental Association all recommend fluoride in the water. He talked about fluoride toxicity. He said that a 150 lb. adult would have to drink 7 1/2 gallons of water to achieve fluoride toxicity. Councilperson David expressed concerns on the water plant operator handling the fluoride. Dr. Drake said that he has read no information to suggest that fluoride would be absorbed through the skin. Ms. Adiches said that there are free training classes offered annually for those individuals that handle fluoride that teach them all about safety and how to handle fluoride.

DR. RICHARD FISHER CONCERNING FLUORIDE IN THE WATER

Dr. Richard Fisher appeared before Council to support fluoride in the Town water supply. He said fluoride makes the teeth stronger and helps to prevent cavities. He said he wants to see that the best dental care and health care are provided in the Town.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT

Mike Crews, Public Works Director, noted that on the fluoride issue, the cost of the fluoride itself runs $1.02 per pound, so a 50 lb. bag runs about $50.00. Mr. Crews noted that his department is prepared for the coming hurricane. They have made the necessary preparations making sure everything is fueled and all drains and ditches of concern are clear or will be cleared in the next few days.

POLICE REPORT

Police Chief Richard Baldwin presented the police report for August 2018. He said of the 56 calls for service, 44 were answered by the Brookneal Police Department.

TOWN MANAGER REPORT

Town Manager Russell Thurston said that last week he talked to the real estate company that is working with the dialysis company, and they are still looking a site for their facility in Brookneal. He said that he and Councilperson Jean talked about the vacant lots that are overgrown down on Cook Avenue. He said someone is looking at purchasing those lots. They are adjacent to Mr. John Vincent’s property, and he was at a Council meeting in the summer complaining about the condition of those lots.

He said that the County has filled the vacancy created by Stan Goldsmith when he resigned from the County Board of Supervisors this summer; however, he doesn’t know the individual. He said that at the last Council meeting, the Council voted to allow him to finalize the contract with Mid-Atlantic Broadband (SCS Broadband) to put their equipment on the water tower so they can provide wireless broadband internet. He said he did a legal review over that agreement and made a few changes to protect the Town of Brookneal.

MOTION TO APPROVE A CHARTER CHANGE FOR THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL CHANGING THEIR NAME TO THE CENTRAL VIRGINIA PLANNING DISTRICT COMMISSION

Upon motion by Joseph David, seconded by Mark Wilkes, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to approve the charter change for the Local Government Council changing their name to the Central Virginia Planning District Commission.

ITEMS FROM TOWN COUNCIL

Councilperson Laprade said that on August 17, 2018, she, Mike Davidson, Megan Lucas of the Lynchburg Business Alliance, Mr. Thurston and Vice Mayor Nowlin met to discuss the Brookneal motel project. She said that the group discussed the feasibility study that would be required by potential investors before investing. She said that after communication back and forth with the Cobblestone Group (a hotel franchise); she said they needed find out if a feasibility study would indeed be necessary because it could be between $8,000-$10,000 or more. She said that Mike Davidson indicates that it is necessary. She said he suggested reaching out to Gary Christie about funding for such a grant. She said Gary Christie is consulting with his colleagues about potential funding avenues. She said they also mentioned the block re-development grant which might involve existing properties. She said she discussed with Mr. Thurston about approaching some existing property owners to find out square footage of the buildings or even if they would be interested in selling those properties. She said they are still waiting on that information. She said Region 2000 mentioned that some of these grant applications might have a question about whether the Town would be willing to match the funds for a feasibility study. She said that she was contacted by Myra Trent from Red Hill, and they have asked to be included in any conversations about a hotel for Brookneal. She said they have a need for lodging with their new conference center that is under construction. She said that there are 3 or 4 potential investors that want to be included in the project also. Councilperson David said that he did not see the Town putting any money into this study.

The question was posed by Mr. Crews if the project is going to be pursued either way, why pay for a feasibility study? Ms. Laprade said that you need a plan, and you have to start somewhere. Councilperson Adams noted (pertaining to the cost of the feasibility study) that anybody that didn’t participate in budget preparation in the last couple of years doesn’t know how tight the Town budget is, and how the budget committee had to cut and carve to get enough to cover the necessary expenses for the everyday operation of the Town. He said to take on new projects; you would have to go back to the drawing board, money is the problem. He would not commit to funding from the Town. Councilperson Laprade said that that answered her question about the funding.

Councilperson Wilkes said that International Paper donated 45 chairs to the Town of Brookneal. Mr. Thurston noted that the chairs in the dining room that the Council is using tonight were donated by the Brookneal Woman’s Club along with some other clubs and organizations that donated to their cause.

ADJOURNMENT

Upon motion by Mark Wilkes, seconded by Robert Jean, and unanimously carried, Mayor Campbell announced that September 11, 2018 Council meeting was adjourned.

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