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 February 17, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.


PRESENT:  Mayor David P. Helms; Dr. James Gates, Suzanne Jennings, Mel Leaman, Ken Heath, Mark Warren, and Bill Weaver, Council Members; Town Manager John E. B. Clark, Jr.; Town Attorney Mark Fenyk; Police Chief Michael Roberts;  Purchasing Agent B. J. Hamm; and Town Clerk/Director of Finance Dixie Sheets


INVOCATION/PLEDGE TO THE FLAG:  Rev. Donna Hester, pastor of Mt. Carmel Methodist Church, rendered the invocation.  Mayor Helms led the Pledge to the Flag.


VISITORS:  Rev. Donna Hester, Police Officer Josh Ball and Police Officer Steve McVey.


MINUTES:  Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mr. Heath, and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the minutes of the meeting conducted on February 2, 2009 were approved as written and distributed.  Dr. Gates,  Mrs. Jennings, and Messrs Leaman, Heath, Warren and Weaver voted affirmatively.


INTRODUCTION OF POLICE OFFICERS:   Chief Roberts introduced the two new members of the Marion Police Department.   Officer Josh Ball is a graduate of VHCC and certified by the Southwest Virginia Law Enforcement Academy.  He was previously with the Abingdon Police Department.  Officer Steve McVey is also certified by the Southwest Virginia Law Enforcement Academy and was previously employed by the Damascus Police Department.


PUBLIC HEARING-PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE TOWN OF MARION CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE VI-DOWNTOWN SERVICE TAX DISTRICT:  Mayor Helms opened the hearing for public comment.  No one was present to speak for or against the Ordinance change.   Dr. Gates moved that the Town adopt changes to the Ordinance as stated.  Mrs. Jennings seconded the motion.  Council approved the same by a vote of 5 AYES and 1 ABSTENTION (Heath).  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Weaver, Warren, and Leaman voted affirmatively. 





that Section 70-184 Purpose of the assessment should be adopted as a part of the Town Code for the Town of Marion and is hereby amended and enacted as follows:


Sec. 70-184 Purpose of the Assessment


(a)    The assessments collected from the Downtown General Service and Assessment District shall be paid to the Marion Downtown Revitalization Association, Inc., or its successor. The funds received and collected by the Marion Downtown Revitalization Association, Inc., or its successor, as a result of the tax imposed on the Downtown Special Tax District by the Town of Marion is to be used to help pay for projects identified as needed by the Marion Downtown Revitalization Association, Inc., or its successor, and the Town of Marion. However, the Assessments collected from the Downtown General Service and Assessment District shall be used only for the following uses: Economic development services, beautification and landscaping, public parking, sponsorship and promotion of recreational and cultural activities, and such other services, events or activities as are included within the activities described in the 1950 Code of Virginia, as amended, § 15.1-18.2(B), and that will enhance the public use and enjoyment of and the public safety, public convenience and public well-being within the general special service and assessment district.


(b)   Taxes collected pursuant to this article shall be segregated so as to enable the same to be expended only in the Downtown Service District in which raised.


(c)    Disbursements to the Marion Downtown Revitalization Association, Inc., or its successor, shall not be less than quarterly beginning on the last quarter of 1996, but more often if deemed necessary by the Town. The Marion Downtown Revitalization Association, Inc., or its successor, shall then be delivered the funds received as described back to the Town no less than three (3) business days after being received by the Marion Downtown Revitalization Association, Inc., or its successor. The Marion Downtown Revitalization Association, Inc., or its successor, is not authorized to use these funds for any other purpose other than to be returned to the Town for the Town to expend for the purposes and places described in paragraphs (a) and (b) above.


Passed in Council this 17th day of February 2009.




                                                                                 Mayor David P. Helms



SUBMISSION OF LETTER TO WELLBORNE INDUSTRY REGARDING OLD VIRGINIA HOUSE PLANT: :    As the result of recent water loss due to a leak at the former Virginia House Furniture Factory, the Town proposed to install a new six inch water line to Industrial Welding to provide fire flow and domestic water use to their business.  However, the present owner, Wellborne Industry, must agree for the Town to terminate the existing water service to the former Virginia House Furniture Factory.  An eight inch main line valve would be installed to prevent water from entering the old line through the factory.  The Town would further request a 7.5 foot right of way, each way, from the center of the existing service line pipe for future maintenance.   Mr. Hicks advised that the letter had been mailed and the staff is awaiting a response form Wellborne Industry.


RESPONSE FROM AEP ON ADDITIONAL LIGHTED AREAS:  Police Lt. Andrew Moss had suggested several areas of the Town that should be considered for additional lighting.   Mr. Clark referred the list to Appalachian Power Company (APCO) for their recommendations.  APCO recommended that the trees on West Chilhowie Street be trimmed or removed by the Town and a flood light could be installed on pole # 768-651.  APCO recommended that no lights be installed at the handicapped parking area and fishing pier off Baughman Avenue.  There are no secondary facilities on that side of the river.  APCO recommended that a new light be installed on the existing UTS pole-13 and face the light towards the playground at Ogburn Field.  For the light near the parking area  the Town should use the existing pole on Chatham Hill Road and face the light toward the parking area for Ogburn Field.  Finally, with regard to the request for lighting at North Main Street and Campbell Avenue at the Wilderness Road Garden Club Park, the recommendation is to install a 200 watt floodlight or cobra heat and face it toward the parking lot.  Mrs. Jennings moved that the Town proceed with the recommendations and contact property owners in the areas to determine any affect these lighting adjustments would have on their property.  Mr. Warren seconded the motion.  Council approved the same by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES. 


RESULTS OF BID ON SWEEPER TRUCK:  Bids for the Sweeper Truck were received on February 5, 2009.  Three bids were received.  Virginia Public Works bid $148,243 for an Elgin machine; Carolina Industrial Equipment bid $129,965 for a Johnson 3000 sweeper and $146,610 for a MX 450 model Johnson sweeper.    Mr. Leaman stated that Carolina Industrial Equipment had demonstrated the Johnson 3000 sweeper and that their training and support program appeared to be very thorough.  Mr. Clark advised that the staff had proposed to budget $34,000 for 5 years to pay for the sweeper.  Dr. Gates and Mr. Leaman suggested that the Town wait until July to purchase the sweeper.  This item was referred to the Equipment Committee for study and recommendation. 


RECOMMENDATION FROM COMMITTEE ON DOWNTOWN STREETSCAPE PROJECT:   Mr. Heath stated that the top two (2) firms for Professional Services Architect/Engineering Firms were re-interviewed by a Special Committee consisting of Ken Heath, John Clark, Gilda Powers, Joe Naff, and Aaron Sizemore.  The Committee recommended Spectrum Design.   Mrs. Jennings moved that Council accept the recommendation of the Committee and that contract negotiations with Spectrum Design proceed.  Dr. Gates seconded the motion.  Council approved the same by a vote of 5 AYES and 1 ABSTENTION (Heath).  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Warren, Leaman, and Weaver voted affirmatively. 


RESPONSE FROM NORFOLK SOUTHERN PERMITTEE ON OLD PRATER LANE CROSSING:  Mr. Hicks stated that a letter from AECOM, a consultant for Norfolk Southern Railway Company,  was received and revised sections 13.20 and contained information concerning insurance from the agreement sent to the Town on 3/19/03 regarding the proposed installation of a storm water pipe at the Prater Crossing.  The letter advised that a Certificate of Commercial General Liability Insurance, stating that “Norfolk Southern Railway Company has included as additional insured – Activity Number 1114517 and Certificate Holder in the name of Norfolk Southern Railway Company.”  They further requested two original agreements be signed and returned to AECOM.    Mr. Fenyk advised that this is the same agreement as presented in 2004.  It required the Town to indemnify them from the time the Town signs it until perpetuity.   In 2004, Mr. Fenyk had advised the Town against signing the document.  The Mayor was granted permission to sign the document on September 7, 2004.  However, according to the Town’s records, the agreement was never executed.  Dr. Gates recommended that the Town sign as advised by the Town’s Attorney and that the Railroad should assume all liability and costs.  Upon motion of Mr. Leaman, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, this item was continued.


ACCOUNTS:  Upon motion, duly seconded, and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the accounts in the amount of $787,032.78 were approved with Mr. Leaman abstaining on line item 32. 


INVESTMENTS:  Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the Investments were approved.


ACCEPTANCE OF HEALTH DEPARTMENT GRANT ON RIVERVIEW PUMP STATION:   Mr. Clark advised that a Virginia Department of Health Drinking Water Grant in an amount, not to exceed $49,000, has been received by the Town.  The Grant will be used to complete the Riverview Estates Pump Station.   The budget for Grant # WSAG-07-09 for the Riverview Estates Pump Station is $5,000 to prepare plans and specifications and obtain review and approval from the ODW Abingdon Field Office.  $44,000 is budgeted to replace the existing Riverview Estates Pump Station.  Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Heath and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Town Council accepted the grant and permission was granted to advertise for engineers.     Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs, Leaman, Weaver, Heath, and Warren voted affirmatively.


REQUEST FROM MS. MELISSA LeBLANC ON HILL STREET PARKING:   A letter has been received from Melissa LeBlanc of 730 Hill Street concerning on-street parking problems in the area of her home.   Upon motion of Mr. Leaman, seconded by Mr. Heath and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, this item was referred to the Street Committee.


PROPOSAL FROM THE LANE GROUP ON ELKTON STREET/CHILHOWIE STREET SEWER IN RELATION TO STIMULUS PACKAGE:   Mr. Clark stated that there may be money available from President Obama’s Stimulus Package for projects that are ready to proceed, with the exception of adequate funding.  He asked Lane Engineering to submit a proposal for the Elkton/Chilhowie Street Sewer Project. The Lane Group submitted a cost of $4,500 to design the Elkton/E. Chilhowie Street and Prater Lane sewer line.  Upon motion, duly seconded, and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Council approved $4,500 to be paid to The Lane Group upon completion of plans for the Elkton/Chilhowie Street and Prater Lane sewer line project.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Heath, Weaver, Warren and Leaman voted affirmatively.



RECOMMENDATION FROM HOUSING BOARD ON POTENTIAL CDBG PROJECTS:  Mr. Clark advised that two (2) projects were submitted as potential CDBG Projects – the Miller Avenue Housing Project and the Pearl Avenue/Buchanan Street Rehabilitation Project.   Neither project was funded.


Mt. Rogers, DHCD and Town representatives met to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the projects.   The Miller Avenue Housing Project consisted of twelve (12) houses to be occupied by first-time homebuyers.  The panel felt that there was not enough interest in the project. 


With changes in the regulations, Pearl Avenue/Buchanan Street Rehabilitation Project is a more viable project.   There is 85% LMI in the homes in the area.  Thirteen (13) landlords have agreed to sign to rent to LMI families.  Council decided to resubmit the project.  Upon motion of Mr. Leaman, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES,  a public hearing was scheduled on March 2, 2009 to discuss the general, overall, use of CDBG Funds. 


STREET COMMITTEE ON SIX YEAR PLAN:  Mr. Leaman stated that several projects have been submitted for consideration on the Six Year Plan.   $3.8 million was accumulated through VDOT monies set aside for the S. Church Street Widening Project.  $3.2 million worth of projects will be identified and brought back to Town Council for consideration at a later date.   VDOT representative, Donnie Necessary will also be invited to explain the reallocation of these funds. 


BLIGHT AREAS:  Mayor Helms asked that Mr. Hicks and Mr. Todd Long review the Town and identify blight areas that require attention.


INOPERABLE VEHICLES:  Mayor Helms requested that the Police Department identify inoperable vehicles and take appropriate action.


FINANCE MEETING:  Mayor Helms asked that a Finance Committee meeting be scheduled to discuss the current financial status of the Town and preparation for the upcoming 2009-2010 Budget.  He requested that in addition to the Finance Committee that Ms. Sheets, Mrs. Susan Clark and Mr. John Clark be in attendance for the meeting.


TRAFFIC LIGHTS:   Mayor Helms commended Jerry Breen for his quick response to repair the traffic light during the recent storm.   


STREET CREWS, MR. HICKS AND WATER CREWS:  Mayor Helms also commended the Public Works, Water and Sewer Departments and Mr. Hicks for their diligence during the recent storm.  Mr. Clark stated that our Water, Sewer and Police Departments are our most important departments.


ATKINS TANK:  Mr. Hicks informed Town Council that two (2) significant leaks were found this past weekend.  One was a twelve (12) inch main line that was running into the storm drain.    These were significant leaks and the crews were commended for finding them.


COMCAST TV CABLE FRANCHISE:  Mr. Fenyk stated that he contacted Brian Grogan concerning a signed agreement on the Franchise. Mr. Fenyk added that money should be paid to the state and the State is to forward these funds to the Town.    He added that according to Mr. Grogan, Comcast is required to purchase a business license.  They have not done so for two (2) years.    Mr. Fenyk noted that Comcast representatives contacted Mr. Clark by telephone stating that the Franchise Agreement has been fully executed and will be returned to the Town.


COUNCILMEMBER HEATH:  Prior to the Closed Session Discussion, Mr. Heath was excused.


CLOSED SESSION:   Pursuant to Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended Section 2.2-3711 (A4) and upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 5 AYES and 0 NOES, Council entered into Closed Session to discuss personnel matters.  Mrs. Jennings moved that Council return to Open Session and that it is known that only those matters identified in the motion were discussed during the Closed Session just completed.  Mr. Weaver seconded the motion.   Council approved the motion by a vote of 5 AYES and 0 NOES.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Weaver, Warren, and Leaman voted affirmatively.


PERSONNEL POSITION – DOWNTOWN DIRECTOR/DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/PUBLIC RELATIONS COORDINATOR:  Dr. Gates moved that pending the deadline for application for the position of Downtown Director/Director of Community and Economic Development/Public Relations Coordinator on February 27 at 3:00 pm, and further pending qualified applicants interviewed by the Town Manager, this position be filled beginning March 2, 2009.  Mrs. Jennings seconded the motion.  Council approved the motion by a vote of 5 AYES and 0 NOES.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Warren, Weaver, and Leaman voted affirmatively.


HONOR U. S. ARMY CORPORAL ROBERT BARKER:  Mayor Helms expressed the Town’s appreciation for the service of Mr. Barker and congratulations as a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal for valor.   Mr. Barker is a WWII veteran. 



ADJOURNMENT:   Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 5 AYES and 0 NOES, the meeting was adjourned.



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Mayor                                                                          Clerk