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

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April 9, 2019


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:

James Nowlin, Mayor
Barbara Laprade, Mark Wilkes, Cynthia Johnson, Phyllis Campbell and Joseph David
Council Members
Richard Baldwin, Chief of Police
Russell Thurston, Town Manager
Bobbie Waller, Clerk/Treasurer
Mike Crews, Public Works Director
Absent: Richard Adams, Vice Mayor



Upon motion by Phyllis Campbell, seconded by Joseph David, and unanimously carried, Council approved the agenda for the April 9, 2019, regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council.


Upon motion by Joseph David, seconded by Mark Wilkes, and unanimously carried, Council approved the minutes for the March 12, 2019 Town Council meeting.


Mayor Nowlin asked that the April 2019 treasurer’s report be filed for audit.


Be it resolved that motion was made by Joseph David, seconded by Mark Wilkes, and unanimously carried, authorizing the payment of the invoices for the period of
March 13, 2019 to April 9, 2019 in the amount of $20,825.23.


Robert Day, CEO of Patrick Henry Family Services, appeared before Council to discuss what is happening at PHFS. He said about 5 years ago, he and his staff were charged by the trustees of PHFS to present them with a strategic plan. He said they had just celebrated 50 years of ministry on that property in Brookneal, and the trustees wanted to know what the next 50 years would look like. He said they were looking at a lot of maintenance needs and expenses; he said before they invested deeply they wanted to know if this was sustainable for the future. He said that within the first year of this process they were approached by their neighbors, Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation. He said that PHMF (Red Hill) had granted them (or deeded them), Patrick Henry Boys Plantation, the property that they have been operating on for the last 50 years. He said they approached them about the possibility of that land reverting back to Red Hill. He said that it is their (Red Hill’s) mission/mandate to preserve the property that once belonged to Patrick Henry; PHFS is on 600 acres of that property. He said that it has been the dream of Red Hill to somehow restore all that property. He said they told PHMF that they were in the middle of strategic planning, and he said at that point they didn’t tell them no, but they didn’t say yes either. He said that they continued in their process, and as they approached their 5th year of debate, they began to see more and more that strategically it would not make sense for them to operate the campus at Red Hill any longer. He said that it is costing $150,000 in maintenance alone. He said the industry in child welfare has changed so much from congregate care to foster care; he said a few years ago First Lady Anne Holton made it her personal campaign to close down congregate facilities and since then many of them have closed down. He also said that in a spending bill that President Trump signed last year, in a bit of legislation that was hidden; under the new Family First Law, the Federal Government will no longer match state funds for any child being cared for in congregate care; they will only match funds for children cared for in foster care. He said even though they don’t take state funds or federal funds, it still affects them; DSS workers are not going to send kids to them.

He said they had already decided that their future was also in trying to find families for kids, and if they cannot keep them with their family or reunite them with their family, then they would find a substitute family for them versus an institution like a group home. He said that they came to the conclusion that those resources being used to keep up property and maintain old buildings would be better suited in other ways. In October 2018, their trustees voted unanimously to close down the group home facilities on the campus here in Brookneal, and that the property, improvements and all, would be deeded back to Red Hill (PHMF) at no cost to them. He said Red Hill will now have space to have lodging for visitors to Red Hill, as well as plans to bring in visiting professors and have summer schools for history teachers.

He said even though they are leaving the campus, they are still doing residential care in their Rustburg home for girls and Bedford home for boys. He said they are still going to remain in Brookneal at the Hat Creek Camp. He said there will still be staff that live and work at that camp. He said they want to take their resources and continue to invest in Brookneal by opening a family resource center here in Brookneal with counselors for outpatient counseling. He said they are hiring in-home therapists that are actually going to people’s homes and doing therapy there. He said they have lots of programs they are offering. He said they hope to be operating a couple of days a week in Brookneal by the fall, and then full time as soon as possible. He said that there is a 160 acre piece of property that was separate from the Red Hill property which includes the Aylor building and that is just as you turn onto Red Hill Road. They will sell that property, and use the funds from that to start their center in Brookneal. He said that Red Hill has first right of refusal on that property. He said that if Red Hill doesn’t purchase the property it will be offered to the public for purchase. He said they have been visiting buildings in the community today, and their next step is to create a community advisory group consisting of local pastors, community leaders and other people who would like to see this happen and find out what the community needs.

Mayor Nowlin suggested having a community meeting at the community building to get suggestions and to distribute information to the community about their project; Mr. Day thought that was a great idea. Mr. Day said that Mayor Nowlin has been nominated to the board of trustees and that will be voted on in June.

Dr. Garvin Mafffett and Jennifer Wall from PHFS were also in attendance with Mr. Day.


Pastor Don Hicks, interim pastor of Brookneal Baptist Church, told the Council to be encouraged and not to give up. He said that his church youth group is looking for projects in Brookneal to help the community. He also mentioned the state of the properties on Virginia Avenue which is where their parsonage is located. He said they want to help with this issue in any way they can. He said he wants to see this community grow.


Police Chief Richard Baldwin presented the police report for March 2019. He said of the 95 calls for service, 87 were answered by the Brookneal Police Department and 8 were answered by the Campbell County Sheriff’s office. He said they would be busy with the striped bass tournament at the end of April 2019.


Public Works Director Mike Crews said that the Dixie Boys opening ceremonies were April 6 and the Dixie Girls opening ceremonies is scheduled for April 13. He said Noah Bomar is the new full time water plant operator, and Richard Worley is the new maintenance employee.


Town Manager Russell Thurston discussed the proposed budget for FY20 with the Council. He said there are no increases in real estate or personal property taxes. The general fund budget is $677,478.31 which includes a 2% cost of living pay increase for town employees but no other major changes. The utility fund budget is $469,514.65 which includes a $1.00 increase in the sewer fees. This fee increase was approved in 2017 as part of a 3 year increase of $1 each year in sewer fees.


Upon motion by Barbara Laprade, seconded by Joseph David, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to advertise for a public hearing for the proposed fiscal year budget 2019-2020, general fund and utility fund, to be held at the regular meeting of the Town Council on May 14, 2019.

A verbal vote was taken as follows:

Ms. Laprade Aye Mr. David... Aye
Ms. Johnson Aye Mr. Wilkes... Aye
Ms. Campbell Aye Mayor Nowlin... Aye


Upon motion by Barbara Laprade, seconded by Mark Wilkes, and unanimously carried, the Council approved the following transfers of appropriation:


To: Brookneal Town Council

Date: April 9, 2019

The following Appropriation Transfers are requested for FY2019:

Click to View


There were no committee recommendations.


Councilperson Laprade said that a grant has been found through USDA to pay for the feasibility study for the motel project. She said the grant application has been submitted. She said that at the last meeting, the Council discussed the vacant storefronts on Main Street and Rush Street. She said that she has contacted the art department at William Campbell and the Garden Club to possibly decorate the vacant storefronts; however, the Garden Club cannot do any artificial arrangements. She said that she is also going to reach out to local artists. She said that first of all she needs to reach out to the owners of the properties to see if they would allow things to be placed in their store front windows. She suggested possibly a contest to allow those winning entries to be displayed in empty store front windows. She also talked about ways to promote a healthy town. She said more and more people are beginning to walk. She said that there are no sidewalks between Brookneal Collision and Dollar General. She said that there are also no sidewalks between Golden Skillet and Food Lion. She said there are a lot of families traveling on foot with strollers to the stores to do their shopping. She said she looked online and there are grants for sidewalk construction. She said she was asking Council to consider the possibility of doing something like that and explore all the avenues and guidelines that are involved in doing that. Mr. Thurston told Ms. Laprade that there is already a sidewalk project that has been approved by VDOT for a sidewalk from the post office to Food Lion; funding ran out for this project when the last phase of downtown was completed. He said the drawings are already done. Mr. Crews noted that there would have to be easements donated from property owners to allow for some of this if you go out of the VDOT right-of-way. Mr. Crews noted that VDOT is only doing cost sharing grants right now where the locality has to match 50/50 what VDOT contributes. Ms. Johnson noted that Cook Avenue should be looked at also as it has a lot of foot traffic.

Ms. Johnson said that she would like to see getting the community involved in beautification and trash pickup in Town on possibly a Saturday or weekend.

Mayor Nowlin suggested the physical development committee looking into the sidewalk issue brought up by Ms. Laprade. Ms. Campbell suggested that the conditional use permit for the recycling facility be looked at again to see if they were adhering to the conditions of the permit.

Ms. Laprade noted that in looking at the comprehensive plan for this grant application she and Mr. Thurston were working on, that a lot of things in that plan have already been accomplished.

Mr. David said that in talking to people in the town about a Day in the Town this year, nobody wanted to step up to help and time is running out. Consensus was not to have anything this year because of time constraints.

Mr. David encouraged the Council to stand behind the Brookneal Board of Supervisors representative Charlie Watts since the Campbell County Republican party turned on him last week.


Upon motion by Mark Wilkes, seconded by Joseph David, and unanimously carried, Mayor Nowlin announced that the April 9, 2019 Council meeting was adjourned.

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