August 8, 2023




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:

Kenneth Jennings, Mayor
Mark Wilkes, Vice Mayor
Barbara Laprade, Cynthia Johnson, Joseph David, and Conner Francis, Council Members
Mike Crews, Public Works Director
Bobbie Waller, Clerk/Treasurer
Robert Kolich, Chief of Police
Absent: Scott Fisher, Council Member and Russell Thurston, Town Manager





Upon motion by Conner Francis, seconded by Mark Wilkes, and unanimously carried, Council approved the agenda for the August 8, 2023, regular meeting of the Brookneal Town Council.


Upon motion by Conner Francis, seconded by Mark Wilkes, and unanimously carried, Council approved the minutes for the July 11, 2023 Town Council meeting.



Mayor Jennings asked that the August 2023 treasurer’s report be filed for audit.



Be it resolved that motion was made by Conner Francis, seconded by Cynthia Johnson, and unanimously carried, authorizing the payment of the invoices for the period of July 12, 2023, through August 8, 2023, in the amount of $42,065.62.



Jeffrey Carpenter, owner of the Dept. Store Antiques, appeared before Council to commend the Town employees for all the hard work done on Main Street in preparation for upcoming events. He reminded everyone that Main Street Strong is this Saturday, August 12, 2023 from 8 am to 6 pm.



Chief Robert Kolich, presented the police report for July 2023. He said of the 141 calls for service, 117 were answered by the Brookneal Police Department and 24 by the Campbell County Sheriff’s office. He said 6 indictments were served as a result of the grand jury in July.



Public Works Director said that due to the hot weather, the taste, odor and smell of the Town water is due to algae and the hot temperatures in the reservoir. He said the water treatment plant operators are treating the reservoir, and they are flushing the fire hydrants to flush the water system out. He said he had received some questions about tankers getting water at the fire hydrant at CVS; he said they haul water for VDOT, the railroad, helicopters and there are contractors getting water to fill up pools. He said they do pay for the water, and it actually helps to turn the water over in the system.



In the absence of Town Manager Russell Thurston, Mr. Crews read his report which included the following:

• The Campbell County Board of Supervisors has approved a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the County’s willingness to expand the enforcement of Animal Control in the Town of Brookneal. The County Administrator is having the agreement signed and notarized and a copy will soon be sent to the Town for the same.

• The first “Farm to Table” dinner event will happen on Saturday, August 19, and will be held on Main Street as well as the Community Building grounds. Beverly Puckette along with the Brookneal Women’s Club will be hosting the event. A VDOT Land Use Permit has been filed by Beverly Puckett to close Main St. at Rush St. and Main St. at Smith St. so traffic can be routed around the event location.

• We have worked out the necessary exterior, night-time, illumination for our flags which fly in front of the Town Hall. The lights will turn on at dusk, and turn off at dawn.

• Follow up items:

o Howard Wells has asked why won’t the Town fix pot holes on Booker Road. The Town of Brookneal does not maintain private roads (or public roads). Booker Road is a private road. I have discussed this topic with Mr. Wells multiple times over my ten plus years here in Brookneal. Before my time here in Brookneal, VDOT came out to look at taking over Booker Road for its inclusion into the Commonwealth’s Secondary Road System. I verified that this took place by speaking with Mr. Don Austin, now retired, with VDOT. I was informed by VDOT that the neighbors living along Booker Road would not agree to give up the necessary land in order to meet the State’s requirements for the right-of-way and that Mr. Wells himself said that he would take care of Booker Road.
According to the official minutes of the Town of Brookneal dated May 13, 1946, (nearly 80 years ago), at a called Town Council meeting held at the Brookneal Drug Store the following took place:

“The purpose of this call was to accept the resolution passed by the Department of Highways, agreeing to maintain all highways, (roads), of less than 30 feet through the Town of Brookneal and all other towns of the state having a population of 3,500 and less.”

“After reading the agreement as sent out by the Department of Highways it was on motion duly accepted and the Mayor and Recorder, (Clerk), authorized to sign same, retain one copy and attach to former agreement with the Dept., and return two forms as requested.”

Signed by Mrs. W.H.(Willie Hodges)Booth, Recorder, and Z.B. Johnston, Mayor

Mr. Thurston also had a picture of Booker Road which showed a picture of the Booker Road entrance which indicates no state maintenance beyond the point of the sign.

Additionally, the following is also recorded in the official Town minutes:
December 1st, 1947, at 7:30 p.m.
W.B. Owen, Mayor, A.L. Lunsford, Charles McDowell, B.F. Rosser, R.D. Williams Jr. Councilmen

“Dr. Williams appeared before the Council and stated that he would not sign the deed to the land contributed to the opening of Ridge Street unless it was incorporated in said deed that the Town agree to keep up his private road. Town Attorney, S.J. Thompson gave it as his opinion that the Town had no right to include this language in the deed, that it was not legal for the Town to assume the upkeep of any private road”.

It has been the position by this Council, and every Council since the 1940’s that the town is not in the position to maintain roads except those on land owned specifically by the Town, such as at the Cemetery, ball park, the water plant, the reservoir and at our waste water treatment facilities.

Nothing about this position has changed, and again, I have explained this position to Mr. Wells on numerous occasions so I am not sure why he keeps bringing up the matter.

If Mr. Wells would like to have VDOT take over Booker Road and have it placed in the Secondary Road System he should make that request in writing to the Town so that process can begin provided the owners of all properties along Booker Road will agree to the Commonwealth’s right-of-way requirements.

o Tracy Meisenbach: Wants the town to provide maintenance of a sewer line easement located on her private property.

The town has a “non-possessory right” to enter the private property owned by Mrs. Meisenbach for the purpose of making repairs to the sewer line running through the property. Mrs. Meisenbach has argued the town would have a difficult time gaining access to the line if that would become necessary.

I spoke with Mike Crews having worked for the Town for more than 31 years and he informed me that in his time with the Town, he could not recall ever needing to access the subject sewer line. Mike further inquired with Mr. Lacy Little having over 50 years of experience with the town who also stated that during his work in Brookneal he could not recall ever having to respond to a sewer problem in the subject area.

I was also advised that should the Town employees need to access the line in question, the line could also be accessed through the back of the Nursing Home property. If a time should arise whereby the sewer line situated through the Meisenbach property needed to be accessed, the town would find a way to gain such access.

I might also add that we have had similar conversations multiple times since I have worked for the town. To name a few, Mrs. Witcher, from Todd Street asked us to fix the rutted alleyway, gravel road between her property and the side of the Brookneal Machine Shop. We took no action.

Additionally, an easement/alleyway between Charlotte St. and Earl St. was also brought before the Council seeking our help with improvements and again, we took no action.

The same property I believe that Mrs. Meisenbach now owns that was previously owned by a different person, Mr. Holland, was also brought to the attention of the town. Mr. Holland insisted the town provide maintenance on his property and the town correctly took no action.

In conclusion, if Mrs. Meisenbach deems it necessary to make repairs on her private property in order to bring her private property up to a condition, she finds satisfactory, she is welcome to make such improvements at her expense.

The town has a long history of avoiding the expenditure of tax payer dollars on private property and I recommend to the Council that this continue. If we spend tax dollars to maintain one person’s private property, we open the door wide for anyone to ask, and expect the town to do the same for them.



Upon motion by Joseph David, seconded by Conner Francis, and unanimously carried, the Council voted to advertise for a public hearing to repeal and replace Chapters 90: Animals and Chapter 93: Nuisances to include reference to the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the enforcement of Campbell County’s Animal Control ordinance in the Town limits.



Councilperson David talked to the Council about the Brookneal Campbell County Airport Authority. He said that he is going to try to get the county to put up a better sign for the airport. Mr. David also said the authority is looking for things to improve the airport. He said that he would like to see a shelter with picnic tables at the airport (estimate of $2500); he questioned if there were funds left from the playground/ballpark and boat launch projects. He asked if the Physical Development Committee would look at this and see if this would be possible. Mr. Crews noted that those funds (ARPA) were specifically for the Town. The matter was referred to the Physical Development Committee.



Mr. Howard Wells, of Booker Road, wanted the Council to know that he donated some of his land to a sewer project that occurred back in 1987 and 1988.

Ms. Tracy Meisenbach said that she was not sure what Mr. Thurston was referring to in his report, but she bought Mr. James Walthall’s property, and according to her, he sued the Town in 1994 or 1996. Ms. Meisenbach said that it specifies in that lawsuit, that the Town has to maintain not only the sewer line, but the access to it, and she said the only access to it is through the end of Carson Street. She said that since Mr. Walthall won the lawsuit for $3000, and it was legally stipulated in there, where do we go from there? Mayor Jennings said that he would suggest a meeting with himself, the town manager, the public works director, and Ms. Meisenbach suggested the town attorney. Mayor Jennings said he would set up the meeting.



Councilperson David asked about the rules for contacting the town attorney. Ms. Waller said that to contact the town attorney, any Council person is supposed to get approval through the mayor or the town manager.

Councilperson Laprade said she was approached by someone at the fire department asking about waiving the Town water bill for the fire department. Ms. Waller brought up that the Town pays itself for all the different departments’ water bills, so if the fire department is waived, then those bills need to be discussed as well. After some discussion, the issue was sent to the physical development committee for their consideration.



Upon motion by Cynthia Johnson, seconded by Conner Francis, and unanimously carried, Mayor Jennings announced that the August 8, 2023, Council meeting was adjourned.



___________________________                   ____________________________
Bobbie A. Waller                                                     Kenneth Jennings
Clerk/Treasurer                                                      Mayor

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