Minutes of a regular meeting of the Town Council of the Town of Marion, Virginia held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building on January 20, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.

 

PRESENT:  Mayor David P. Helms; Dr. James Gates, Mel Leaman, Bill Weaver, Ken Heath (Excused early), Mark Warren, Jane Hale and Suzanne Jennings, Council Members; Town Manager John E. B. Clark, Jr.; Town Engineer/Assistant Town Manager Cecil Hicks; Police Chief Michael Roberts; Police Sgt. Wes Thomas;  Town Attorney Mark Fenyk; Purchasing Agent B. J. Hamm; and Town Clerk/Director of Finance Dixie Sheets.

 

INVOCATION/PLEDGE TO THE FLAG:  Mr. Bill Baldwin rendered the invocation.  Eagle Scout Blake Richardson led the Pledge to the Flag. 

 

VISITORS:  Mr. and Mrs. A. V. O’Neal; Eagle Scout Blake Richardson, Mr. & Mrs. Rick Richardson, Emmett and Sylvia Richardson, Dr. Paul Brown, Tom Hower, Cecil Carter, Bill Baldwin, Herbert “Turk” Johnson, Bill Thompson, Ann Edmiston, Neil Castrodale, Ron Tomlinson, Bert Briggs, Kyle Richardson, Andrew Hagy and Chris Edmiston.

 

MINUTES:   Mrs. Jennings stated that the word “congratulations” was misspelled.  Upon confirmation of Webster’s New World Dictionary the word was spelled correctly. Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the minutes were approved as written and distributed with consideration of the spelling of “congratulations”.   Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Heath, Leaman, Warren, and Weaver voted affirmatively.

 

RESOLUTION:  Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mr. Warren and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the following Resolution was adopted:

 

 

                                    RESOLUTION OF CONGRATULATIONS FOR

                                                BLAKE VYNSTON RICHARDSON

                                          ON THE OCCASION OF HIS EARNING

                                                  THE RANK OF EAGLE SCOUT

 

WHEREAS, Blake V. Richardson is a member of Boy Scout Troop 93, in Marion,            Virginia; and

WHEREAS, Blake V. Richardson has recently earned the Rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank which may be obtained by a Scout; and

WHEREAS, in earning the rank of Eagle Scout, Blake V. Richardson has demonstrated the ability to work toward future goals, developed a wide variety of skills, and demonstrated a devotion to God and Country.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Town Council of Marion,   Virginia, that    Blake V. Richardson be congratulated for his accomplishments as      a Boy Scout.

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Council extends best wishes for continued        success to Blake V. Richardson.

 RESOLVED, this 20th day of January 2009.

 

SIGNED:                                                                                                                                ATTEST:

 

 _____________________________                                     _______________________

David P. Helms                                                                       Dixie O. Sheets

Mayor                                                                                      Town Clerk

 

RESOLUTION:  Mr. Heath read the Resolution of Support for the Adolescent Unit at SWVMHI.  Upon motion of Mr. Heath, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the following Resolution was adopted.

 

                                                           

A RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA MENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTE ADOLESCENT UNIT

 

WHEREAS, the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute Adolescent Unit provides            the only source for inpatient services for children ages 13 – 17 west of the         Roanoke area; and

WHEREAS, the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute Adolescent Unit allows   those utilizing the service to remain closer to home, which further allows for    family participation in therapy, reduced travel costs for families, and an overall better atmosphere for a more positive outcome from treatments; and

WHEREAS, the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute Adolescent Unit reduces             the direct impact on locality’s budgets by reducing the ever-increasing demand          put upon law enforcement officers for admissions and transportation by providing   the only facility of its kind in Southwestern Virginia; and

WHEREAS, the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute Adolescent Unit currently           has a total staffing level of 37 high-quality, permanent jobs, with an annual       personnel budget of $1.4 million that directly impacts Marion and the surrounding   community.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Town of Marion in         Regular Session assembled 20 January 2009, hereby officially expresses their     appreciation for the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute           Adolescent      Unit, and strongly encourages the Commonwealth of Virginia to continue funding this program to serve our community and the southwestern end of the         state with this vital service.

RESOLVED, this 20th day of January 2009.

 

SIGNED:                                                                    ATTEST:

 

 

___________________________                              ______________________________

David P. Helms, Mayor                                              Dixie O. Sheets, Town Clerk

RECOMMENDATION FROM COMMITTEE ON SELECTION OF ENGINEER TO BEGIN NEGOTIATIONS ON MARION DOWNTOWN STREETSCAPE PROJECT:   It was noted that $100,000 has been granted by VDOT for continuation of the Downtown Streetscape.  This is only a portion of the cost for the planned project.  The Town advertised for engineering firms for the project.  Four (4) firms responded and were interviewed on January 20, 2009.  The firms were:  Thompson & Litton; Mattern & Craig; Anderson & Associates and Spectrum Design.  Mr. Clark advised that Thompson & Litton and Spectrum Design were tied.  Mr. Leaman suggested that T&L and Spectrum Design be re-interviewed.  The suggestion was deferred to the Attorney for a ruling.  Mr. Fenyk advised that negotiations cannot begin until one firm is selected.  He further advised that repetitive, informal interviews are permissible.  Upon motion of Mr. Leaman, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 1 ABSTENTION (Heath), an additional interview will be scheduled for T&L and Spectrum Design.  

 

PROPOSAL ON APPRAISAL ON OLD SCHOOL BUILDING:  Mr. Heath reported that he had acquired several quotes for an appraisal for the old school building located on North Church Street.  The low-bidder was Meade Realty of Abingdon, VA at a bid of $1,000.  The next low-bidder was David W. Harris at $1,200.   Mr. Clark stated that Mr. Harris had performed an appraisal several years ago for Smyth County and valued the property between $100,000 and $500,000.  Mr. Warren expressed concern over environmental issues.  Mr. Clark noted that the Town has not been advised of Smyth County’s plans for the property due to the scale-down of the Courthouse renovation project.  Mr. Warren and Mrs. Jennings expressed concern on spending money on property (for an appraisal) that the Town does not own.  Smyth County owns the Old School Building. 

 

Dr. Gates stated that the Town had previously voted to offer Smyth County whatever amount of DHCD funds received by the Town for the property.  This would be the amount the Town would pay the County for the school building.   Other members agreed.  It was noted that the proposal was forwarded to Smyth County and no one has responded to the proposal.  Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 5 AYES, 1 NOE (Leaman) and 1 ABSTENTION (Heath), Mr. Clark was requested to write a letter to Smyth County, requesting an answer, in writing, concerning the Town’s proposal.

 

SITUATION WITH PIPING AT DIGESTER BUILDING AT SEWER TREATMENT PLANT:   The Town replaced the piping from the gas compressor to the digester at the STP at a cost of $9,962.75.  Industrial Welding performed the work.  However, this did not solve the problem.  Mr. Clark reported that the staff recommendation is to repair the additional piping problem this fiscal year at a cost of approximately $10,000.   The Sanitation Committee was in concurrence with the staff recommendation.   Upon motion of Mr. Leaman, seconded by Dr. Gates and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the expenditure was approved.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Leaman, Heath, Warren, and Weaver voted affirmatively.

 

UPDATE ON POLICE RECRUITMENT:    Chief Roberts reported that interviews for officers have been conducted.  Two officers are currently undergoing physical and psychological reviews and one other individual is under consideration.  All are certified officers. 

 

POLICE CARS:   Chief Roberts reported that two (2) police cars have been received and are being prepared for the road.   The cars are Dodge Chargers.

 

ACCOUNTS:   Upon motion of Mr. Heath, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the accounts were approved for payment in the amount of $874,573.95.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Heath, Warren and Weaver voted affirmatively.

 

INVESTMENTS:  No investment report.

 

5K RACE/FULLER HOUSE:  Neil Castrodale, representing The Fuller Center, requested permission to conduct the Annual 5K Run on May 9th at 9 am.  Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, permission was granted and Mr. Castrodale was to coordinate the event with Marion Police Department.

 

THE FULLER CENTER:   Mr. Castrodale reported that the Fuller Center Foundation is currently working on a home in the Konnorock area.  The Pennington house is expected to be completed within the next few months.   The group then plans to work on another home on Chilhowie Street.    They will be receiving applications for prospective homeowners.

 

MEMORIAL DAY PARADE:   Mr. Bill Baldwin requested permission and blessings, on behalf of VFW Post #4667, to conduct the Memorial Day Parade on May 25, 2009 from 9:30 am until 11:00 am.   At noon, there will be a Memorial Service at the VFW Post Home on Goolsby Street.  He further requested that the Town sponsor a float for the Parade.  The Town usually sponsors the “Gold Star Float” which carries those family members who have lost loved ones in combat.   He noted that there were approximately 300 flags on the Courthouse Lawn in memory of past veterans.  Mr. Heath moved that the Town grant permission for the VFW to conduct the Memorial Day Parade on May 25 and that the Town sponsor the “Gold Star Float”.   Mrs. Jennings seconded the motion.  Council approved the same unanimously.   Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Heath, Warren and Weaver voted affirmatively.

 

VFW NATIONAL CONVENTION:  Mr. Herbert “Turk” Johnson, Mr. Cecil Carter, and Mr. Bill Baldwin were present to represent VFW Post #4667.  Mr. Johnson stated that he had attended the VFW National Convention in Florida.   VFW Post # 4667 was awarded the 2008 Outstanding Service Award.   There are three (3) signs proclaiming this honor and the VFW requested permission to place these in Town.   Mrs. Jennings moved that it will be an honor to display the signs and moved that they be placed as would best display them.   Mr. Warren seconded the motion.  Council approved the same by a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES.

 

UPDATE ON TOURISM CENTER-RON THOMASON VOLUNTEER PROGRAM COORDINATOR:  Ron Thomason has been employed by the Smyth County Tourism Association to secure volunteers so that the Tourism Center is open seven (7) days each week.   He stated that he has been retired for four years.   He noted that when he first came to Marion to open his business, Mr. Marvin Perry, then County Administrator and Mr. Carl Taylor, then Town Manager came to his aid with resources that allowed him to establish and operate his business.   Mr. Thomason wants to give back to the community and has accepted the challenge to staff the Tourism Center with volunteers.  These volunteers will showcase our area and encourage visitors to come to Smyth County, Marion, Chilhowie and Saltville.  He has begun with retired principals, retired school teachers and former superintendents.  He anticipates securing 40-50 volunteers and training them.  They will then be able to staff the Center 7 days each week.

 

PROPOSAL FROM BILL THOMPSON ON PROPOSED PAVILION AT RIVERBEND PARK:  Mr. Bill Thompson stated that these are exciting times in Marion and Smyth County.   He stated that he appreciates the many enhancements the Town has made, including, Riverbend Park, the Streetscape, and the Farmer’s Market.

 

He proposed an open-air amphitheater at Riverbend Park.  He stated that such a facility could be used for many purposes.  He added that he would have a schematic prepared for study and review, at no charge to the Town.  Dr. Gates informed Mr. Thompson that an amphitheater was in the original plan but the funds were not available.  Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mr. Heath and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the idea was referred to the Recreation Committee. 

 

EDWARD BYRNE MEMORIAL GRANT:  Chief Roberts stated that the Town’s share of the communications grant for the Smyth County, Saltville, Marion, and Chilhowie Police Departments will be $2,052.  This amount shall be included in the FY 2009-2010 Annual Budget.   Smyth County administers this grant.  Dr. Gates moved that the Town approve the amount and work to place it in next year’s budget.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Heath, Warren, and Weaver voted affirmatively.

 

BIDDING OF SWEEPER TRUCK AND ONE COMPANY’S DEMONSTRATION ON JANUARY 29TH:  Mr. Hamm advised that bids for the sweeper truck will be opened on February 5th.  There will also be a demonstration on January 29th.

 

PERMISSION TO DESIGN SOUTH MAIN STREET WATER LINE/NORTH JONES STREET TO HULLDALE AVENUE:   Mr. Clark stated that the South Main Street line is in dire need of repair.  The plan is to install approximately 2400 feet of 8” line, replacing the old 6” line.  He added that First Beverage Company is now hiring employees.  The First Beverage Company is located in the former Pepsi Plant.  Mr. Clark requested permission to have the design prepared for the replacement of the line.  Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, permission was granted to secure the design at a cost not to exceed $5,000.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Warren, Weaver, Heath and Leaman voted affirmatively.

 

BOY SCOUTS:   Tom Hower reported that scouts were in attendance from Troop 93 and are working on their Communications Merit Badge.  The scouts were Bert Briggs, Kyle Richardson, Andrew Hagy and Chris Edmiston. 

 

ORDINANCE COMMITTEE ON ANIMALS RUNNING AT LARGE ORDINANCE:  Mrs. Jennings reported that the Ordinance Committee continues to work on this item along with Mr. Fenyk and Animal Control Officer Lee Farmer.  

 

PERSONNEL COMMITTEE ON DOWNTOWN DIRECTOR TRANSITION:  Personnel Committee Chairwoman Jennings requested Closed Session to discuss personnel. 

 

CHURCH STREET PROJECT:   Mrs. Hale asked if any information is available on the funds to be redistributed to other projects from the VDOT monies held for widening S. Church Street.  Mr. Leaman responded that several projects have been suggested and estimates are being secured.  Once the projects are chosen, they will be presented to Council for consideration. 

 

FUND RAISER FOR THE CHRIS PASCHAL FAMILY:  A benefit fund raiser for the family of Smyth County Deputy Chris Paschal will be held at the MLSC Building on January 31, 2009 beginning at 11:00 a.m.  A BBQ meal with the fixings will be available for $7.  There will be a bake sale, fingerprinting for children, blood mobile, fire trucks and EMS equipment, 50/50 raffle and a Gun raffle.  Your support will be appreciated.

 

BPOL ELIMINATION:   Mr. Heath reported that the VML Action Call is reporting that House Bill # 2205 calls for the elimination of BPOL.  The bill would eliminate BPOL by July 2009.   BPOL is essential to all localities.   The Town of Marion has budgeted receipts of $410,000 from BPOL, which would be difficult to replace in revenues.  Mr. Heath urged the Council, Town staff and citizens to contact all legislators and Governor Kaine to defeat Bill #2205.  He so moved.   The motion was duly seconded and carried unanimously.   Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Leaman, Heath, Weaver, and Warren voted affirmatively.

 

TREE BOARD APPOINTMENTS:   Mayor Helms reported that Tree Board Chairman Charles Conner requested that the Town Council appoint Joe Beattie, Shirley Blackwell, Wythe Morris and Laura Sturgill to the Tree Board.  Upon motion, duly seconded, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, Council appointed the afore mentioned individuals to the Tree Board. 

 

WOOLY MAMMOTH BREAKFAST:  Mayor Helms reminded members of the Wooly Mammoth Breakfast in Saltville on January 31, 2009.   He stated that this is a fun event!

 

ATKINS WATER TANK:   On Sunday, January 18th, a huge leak was located at the former Virginia House factory.  The line broke and emptied the tank within 1 ½ hours.  Mr. Hicks reported that the line is very old and could be replaced with 800 feet of 1” line to service the area. 

 

TOWN ENGINEER:  Mr. Hicks noted several projects for consideration to use the VDOT funds for widening S. Church Street.   The projects include, Chatham Hill Road Bridge, Drainage problem on Church Street, a pedestrian bridge, and intersections at Park and Cherry Streets, Pendleton Street and Cherry and Church Streets. 

 

Mr. Heath was excused from the meeting.

 

PURSUANT TO CODE OF VIRGINIA, 1950, AS AMENDED, SECTION 2.2-3711 (A) (4) and upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Town Council entered into Closed Session for the purpose of discussing Personnel matters concerning the transition of the Director of the Marion Downtown Revitalization Association to a Town of Marion position.  Mrs. Jennings moved that Town Council return to Open Session and that it be known that only those matters legally exempted from Open Session and identified in the motion were discussed during the Closed Session.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and carried by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Weaver and Warren voted affirmatively.

 

ALLOCATION OF FUNDS FOR NEW POSITION:  Mrs. Jennings stated that it is the recommendation of the Personnel Committee and so moved that funds, of up to $9,100, be allocated for the position of part-time Administrative Assistant to the Community Development Department, with limited benefits.  Dr. Gates seconded the motion.  Council approved the same by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Warren and Weaver voted affirmatively.

 

PUBLIC HEARING TO AMEND TOWN CODE OF ORDINANCES WITH REGARD TO SPECIAL SERVICE  TAX DISTRICT:   Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Dr. Gates and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, a public hearing was scheduled for February 17, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. to consider a amendments to Article VI – Downtown Service Tax District.  Mr. Fenyk was instructed to prepare the amendment(s).   Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Warren and Weaver voted affirmatively.

 

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING:  Mrs. Jennings moved that Council adopt the Memorandum of Understanding to transition the staff of Marion Downtown Revitalization Association to become employees of the Town of Marion.   Dr. Gates seconded the motion.   Council approved the same by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Leaman, Warren and Weaver voted affirmatively.    It was directed that a copy of the signed agreement be conveyed to Jeff Sadler of Main Street, Inc.

 

Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the meeting was adjourned.

 

 

____________________________________     _________________________________

David P. Helms, Mayor                                              Dixie O. Sheets, Town Clerk