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 March 2, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.


PRESENT:  Mayor David P. Helms; Dr. James Gates, Suzanne Jennings, Mel Leaman, Mark Warren, Jane Hale and Bill Weaver, Council Members; Town Manager John E. B. Clark, Jr.; Town Attorney Mark Fenyk; Community & Economic Development Manager Ken Heath, Police Chief Michael Roberts;  Lt. Rex Anders, and Town Clerk/Director of Finance Dixie O. Sheets.


INVOCATION/PLEDGE TO THE FLAG:   Mr. Warren rendered the invocation. VFW Post 4667 Commander Herbert Johnson led the Pledge to the Flag.


VISITORS:  Robert Barker, James & Carol Barker, MRPDC representatives Scott Booth & Kathy Boatwright, Representatives of VFW Post 4667 Commander Herbert Johnson, Joe Ellis, Sr., Cecil Carter, David Brooks, and Claude Heath.


MINUTES:  Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Leaman and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the minutes of the meeting conducted on February 17, 2009 were approved as written and distributed.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Weaver, and Warren voted affirmatively.








WHEREAS, Robert John Barker is a member of VFW Post 4667; and


WHEREAS, Mr. Barker is a native of Smyth County; and


WHEREAS, Mr. Barker courageously served our Country during World War II in the      108th Infantry Regiment of the 40th  Division and achieved the rank of Corporal;       and;


WHEREAS, during his career, Mr. Barker was awarded medals recognizing him for his    action in the Atlantic Pacific Campaign, Combat Infantryman, Pistol Marksman, Philippine Liberation, World War II Victory, Good Conduct and Honorable         Discharge from the Service. 


WHEREAS, Sixty-two years (62) years after the fact, Corporal Robert John Barker          received the Bronze Star for valor.  Corporal Barker was credited for saving lives       after being left behind enemy lines.


NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Town of Marion in

            Regular Session assembled March 2, 2009, the Town hereby officially        recognizes and congratulates Robert John Barker for his service to our Country     and Community.


RESOLVED, this 2nd  day of March 2009.



______________________________                                    ________________________

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


PUBLIC HEARING – INPUT ON LOCAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & HOUSING NEEDS FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) FUNDS FOR POTENTIAL PROJECTS IN OUR COMMUNITY:  This Public Hearing was conducted to solicit public input on local community development and housing needs in relation to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for potential projects in our community.  Scott Booth and Kathy Boatwright were present, representing MRPDC.  Mr. Booth reported that DHCD Grant applications are due by 4/8/09 with the announcement in July 2009.  Recent projects funded all or in part by DHCD is the Gilman Street Project at $700,000.  This project included rehabilitation of ten (10) LMI residences, construction of four (4) new homes, and demolition of rundown structures as part of the slum and blight program.  The Town participated in this project with street improvements, new water lines and drainage improvements in the amount of $150,000.  He added that the housing grants are up to $1,000,000.    The Town’s most recent applications for Buchanan & Spruce Street Rehabilitation and Miller Avenue Housing were unsuccessful.    There were no citizens in attendance to comment for or against filing applications for CDBG Funding.


PRATER LANE RAILROAD CROSSING CLOSURE:   Town Attorney Mark Fenyk reported that he had contacted AECOM, the engineering firm for the Norfolk Southern Railroad.  Mr. Fenyk had advised AECOM that the Prater Lane Railroad Crossing Closure was initiated by the Railroad and VDOT.  He added that the Town would pay the initial insurance fee but would not accept insurance liability after the crossing is closed.  Mr. Fenyk was instructed to write a letter and submit the Town’s position to the engineer.  AEMCO would then forward the letter to the law firm representing the Railroad.   It was noted that the Town had requested a six month extension beginning November 24, 2008.  The project must be ready to proceed within that time frame.    Dr. Gates stated that he is not in favor of additional fees paid by the Town plus risk insurance fees.  Mr. Hicks advised that the project is and has always been a joint project between VDOT and Norfolk Southern.  Dr. Gates moved that the project proceed with no additional costs to the Town.  Mr. Leaman seconded the motion.  Council approved the same by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Weaver, Warren, and Leaman voted affirmatively.


ACCEPTANCE OF COUNCILMAN KEN HEATH’S RESIGNATION FROM TOWN COUNCIL:   On February 27, 2009, Mr. Ken Heath accepted an Offer of Employment from the Town of Marion for the position of Community & Economic Development Manager.   As a requirement of accepting the position, Mr. Heath resigned his position as Town Council Member effective at the end of February.   Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mrs. Hale and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Mr. Heath’s resignation was accepted by Town Council.   Mr. Heath’s term would have expired 6/30/2010.


Mr. Fenyk advised that the Town Council has 45 days from the date of the vacancy to fill the position or the Circuit Court will be petitioned to fill the same.  Mr. Fenyk added that as there is more than one year, a Special Election would be required to fill the unexpired term.   Also, the person appointed will not be allowed to vote on financial matters.  The Commonwealth requires that a Council member must be elected to vote on financial matters.   A discussion ensued concerning the appointment.  Mr. Leaman moved that the Town Attorney, Town Manager and Mayor review the procedure of appointment and Special Election.  Council may submit names of persons to be considered for the appointment.  Mr. Weaver seconded the motion. Council approved the same by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES.


UPDATE ON SCHEDULE AND PROJECTS OF SIX YEAR PLAN:    Mr. Clark reported that a potential list of projects has been completed by Mr. Hicks and Town Staff.  A meeting with Don Necessary, VDOT, is schedule on 3/3/09 to discuss the proposals.   Mr. Clark further stated that it is urgent that the Street Committee review and Council adopt the proposed plan by March 16, 2009 and schedule a public hearing before April 20, 2009 to be included in the Transportation Board’s revisions in June 2009.  Mr. Leaman asked that Mayor Helms appoint a replacement for Mr. Heath to the Street Committee.   Mayor Helms appointed Mr. Weaver, who agreed to serve.   


UPDATE ON HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY PROJECTS THROUGH ECONOMIC STIMULUS PLAN:  Mr. Clark reported that the work continues on plans and specifications for the Elkton/Chilhowie Streets Sewer project and UV lights at the Sewage Treatment Plant.  Applications are due March 9.   Another project being considered is the S. Main Street Water Project which will be partially funded by a Health Department Grant and a project yet to be identified.  Application for these projects is due by March 27.   Another viable project is the Chatham Hill Road Water Line.  Mr. Leaman asked that upgrades or plans at the Sewage Treatment Plant be considered.  Mr. Clark was instructed to contact Smyth County concerning any plans for renovation at the STP. 




ELIMINATION OF CAR DECALS – REQUEST FROM ED WHITMORE, SMYTH COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR:    The Board of Supervisors is considering the elimination of selling car decals.   They have proposed that these fees be added to personal property tax tickets.  It has been determined that all Towns within the County would need to adopt the same procedure as it eliminates many problems in collection of this fee.   This item was continued.


EQUIPMENT COMMITTEE-STREET SWEEPER TRUCK BIDS:   It was noted that there were three (3) bids for the Street Sweeper.  One vehicle met most of the specifications.   That was a Johnson MX450 from Carolina Industrial Equipment at a cost of $146,610.  Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mr. Leaman and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, this item was continued.


BUILDING AND REAL ESTATE COMMITTEES ON HVAC MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS:  Four (4) bids were received for the HVAC Maintenance Bid for a term of 36 months.  R&M Heating & Cooling was the apparent low bidder at $3,850 annually.   Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the bid was awarded to R&M Heating and Cooling.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Warren, Weaver, and Leaman voted affirmatively.


ORDINANCE COMMITTEE-DOGS:  Mrs. Jennings reported that the Committee met with Animal Control Officer Lee Farmer, Mr. Fenyk and Mr. Clark concerning the proposed changes to the Ordinance with regard to animal complaints.  Mr. Farmer provided information from the Code of Virginia.  It was the recommendation of the Committee that there are safeguards already in place and the Town Code remain unchanged at this time. 


MSHS BASKETBALL TEAM:   Mayor Helms commended the MSHS Basketball Team on a successful season and congratulations on earning a berth in the VHSL Group AA Basketball Tournament.  The Town is very proud of them. 


MSHS PEP RALLY PLANNED:  Mr. Heath stated that a pep rally is being planned in support of the MSHS Boy’s Basketball team.  School representatives are to inform the Town of when and where the pep rally will be held and what the Town can do to help with this.


EASTER EGG HUNT:  WZVA & WOLD will host the Annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 11.


NATIONAL MAIN STREET ACCREDIDATION:  Mr. Heath reported that the Town has recently received the 2009 National Main Street Community designation. 


FIREWORKS FOR JULY 4TH:  Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Council voted to allow Mr. Heath’s office to begin solicitation of donations to purchase the fireworks. 


FARMER’S MARKET:  The Farmer’s Market will open Mother’s Day weekend (May 10). 


DISTRICT III REQUESTS FOR W. W. SCOTT SENIOR CITIZENS CENTER KITCHEN:  Mr. Clark reported that a new ice machine is on order for the Senior Citizen Center.  Mrs. Hale reported that District III will purchase the materials to construct the loading area shelter and the Town of Marion will provide the labor.    The Town continues to work on the other items noted by the Health Department and Fire Marshall inspectors. 


SNOW & ICE REMOVAL:  Mayor Helms commended the Public Works crews for the work performed during the recent inclement weather.


KEN HEATH – APPRECIATION:  Mr. Heath expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to serve as a Town Council Member and now as a Town employee. 


SMYTH COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES ARRIVED:  Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Charlie Clark, County Administrator Ed Whitmore, and County Engineer Scott Simpson arrived for the Closed Session.


PURSUANT TO CODE OF VIRGINIA, 1950, AS AMENDED, SECTION 2.2-3711 (A3 and A6) AND upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Leaman and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Council entered into Closed Session to Consult with Smyth County Board of Supervisors concerning the courthouse and related issues and investment of public funds.   Messrs Clark, Whitmore and Simpson represented the County.   Mrs. Jennings moved that Town Council return to Open Session and that it be known that only those matters identified in the motion were discussed during the Closed Session.  Mr. Weaver seconded the motion.  Council approved the same by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Weaver, Warren, and Leaman voted affirmatively.


Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the meeting was adjourned.



_______________________________                      ______________________________

Mayor                                                                          Clerk