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 April 6, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.


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


INVOCATION/PLEDGE TO THE FLAG:  Mr. Warren rendered the invocation.  Members of Boy Scout Troop 93 led the Pledge to the Flag.


VISITORS:   Rev. Neville Mozingo,  Rebecca Smith, Hannah Bailey, Rebekah DeBruhl, Carol Parsons, William Fields, Gary Tickles, Andrew Hagy, Ferris Ellis, Kyle Richardson, Roy Evans,  Karen Lehr, John Lehr, Joe Ellis, Larry White, Lynn White, Angela Davis, Vicky Pruitt, Joe Ellis, Scott Booth, Police Officer Amber Eades.


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










WHEREAS, Victoria Hall is a member of the Marion Senior High School

                      Class of 2009, in Marion, Virginia; and

WHEREAS, Victoria Hall has recently earned the designation of Regional

                        Future Business Leader for 2009; and

WHEREAS, in earning this honor, Victoria Hall, has demonstrated the ability

                        to work toward future goals thru skills, testing, interview, and public

                        speaking; and

WHEREAS, Victoria Hall has participated in the MSHS Student Cooperative

                        Program under the guidance of Mrs. Lynn White and is employed by the

                        Town of Marion in the Town Clerk/Director of Finance Office; and

WHEREAS, Victoria Hall has exhibited excellent work ethic and developed a

                        wide variety of skills; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of Marion, Virginia

                        that Victoria Hall be congratulated for her accomplishments.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Council extend best wishes for continued

                        success to Victoria Hall.


RESOLVED, this 6th day of April 2009.


SIGNED:                                                                                ATTEST:


_________________________                                              ________________________

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


Mr. Helms read the Resolution.  Miss Hall was accompanied by her mother, Vicky Pruitt, High School representatives Mrs. Lynn White and Mrs. Angela Davis, and Town Clerk Dixie Sheets.  Miss Hall was selected for this honor from several counties in this area, including Carroll, Wythe, Smyth, Bland, Washington, Grayson, Tazewell, Pulaski and the cities of Radford, Galax and Bristol.  Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the Resolution of Congratulations was adopted. 


PUBLIC HEARING ON CDBG PROGRAM:  Mr. Clark advised that the Public Hearing has been duly advertised and is the second hearing to solicit public input on local community development and housing needs in relation to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.  The public hearing is being held to discuss the Pearl Avenue and Buchanan Street Housing Rehabilitation. Mr. Scott Booth presented a brief overview of the Project.  The purpose is to rehabilitate twenty-one (21) houses and reconstruct one housing unit. The Town plans to acquire three (3) vacant properties for the purpose of removing the blighted structures to eliminate blight and create green space.  90% of the properties in this area are Low to Moderate income households.  Six of the properties are rental units and the landlords have signed a Landlord Participation Agreement to rent to LMI individuals.  No one was present to vote for or against the proposed project.  Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the following Resolution was adopted.








WHEREAS, pursuant to two (2) public hearings held March 2, 2009 and April 6, 2009,    the Town of Marion wishes to apply for up to $1,000,000 of Community             Development Block Grant Funds for the Pearl Avenue and Buchanan Street   Housing Rehabilitation Project, and

WHEREAS, $36,000 of local match from the Town of Marion will also be expended on   this project, and

WHEREAS, the Pearl Avenue and Buchanan Street Housing Rehabilitation Project will   benefit Low-to-Moderate income households.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor of Marion is hereby authorized             to sign and to submit the appropriate documents for this Community         Development Block Grant application.


ADOPTED this 6th day of April 2009.


____________________________                    _______________________________

Mayor                                                                          Clerk


Mr. Clark commended Mr. Scott Booth of Mount Rogers Planning District Commission for work on this project.


SITUATION WITH NORFOLK SOUTHERN ON OLD PRATER LANE:  Mr. Fenyk advised that Norfolk Southern has agreed that the Town had previously paid the Insurance Fee.  They are now proceeding with his letter disputing indemnification with the Norfolk Southern Real Estate Department.


INTRODUCTION OF POLICE OFFICER:   Chief Michael Roberts introduced Police Officer Amber Eades as the newest police officer.  Officer Eads is a Police Science graduate from Virginia Highlands Community College and is a certified Police Officer.  She comes to the Town from the Saltville Police Department. 


REQUEST FOR MEETING ON OLD SCHOOL HOUSE:  Mr. Ken Heath and Mr. Joe Ellis requested a meeting with representatives from the community, Town of Marion and Smyth County to discuss the Old School House and the possibility of retaining the building to be used as an Artisan Center.   Artisans from fourteen counties could display their crafts there and bring tourists to our Town, as the Song of the Mountains has done. 


UPDATE ON APPALACHIAN SPIRIT GALLERY:   An overview of the activities of the Appalachian Spirit Gallery for 2008 and proposed plans for 2009 had been provided to Town Council.  The Gallery will open in April and has established a website – appalachianspiritgallery.com.


RESOLUTION HONORING BLUE RIDGE JOB CORPS:  Mayor Helms read the Resolution to honor Blue Ridge Job Corps being named “Best in the Nation”.  Upon motion of Mr. Warren, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the following Resolution was adopted.






WHEREAS, the Blue Ridge Job Corps is located in downtown Marion, Virginia; and

WHEREAS, the Blue Ridge Job Corps is one of 122 Job Corps centers around the nation             and one of three in the Tri-Cities Region; and

WHEREAS, the Blue Ridge Job Corps is operated by the US Department of Labor as      part of a national program started in 1964 under President Lyndon Johnson; and

WHEREAS, the Blue Ridge Job Corps focuses on health professions; and

WHEREAS, the Blue Ridge Job Corps continues to instill “real world” training,    including employment-related “soft skills”, a high school education and job             training for dedicated young men and women who begin the program between the ages of 16 and 24 and come to Marion from across the globe; and

WHEREAS, the Blue Ridge Job Corps has been recognized as #1 in American by the US Department of Labor.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Town of Marion in         Regular Session, assembled 06 April 2009, that the Town hereby officially     congratulates Center Director Gary Tickles, the staff and the students for their   success in bringing home this national recognition.


RESOLVED, THIS 6TH day of April 2009.


SIGNED:                                                                    ATTEST:



______________________________                        _____________________________

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



REQUEST TO SELL SURPLUS POLICE VEHICLES:   Police Chief Michael Roberts stated that with the receipt of two (2) 2009 Dodge Chargers, he suggested that the two (2) surplus vehicles( 2000 & 2002 Ford Crown Victoria)  be placed into surplus for other Town department’s use or sale.  Upon motion of Mrs.  Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES,   Council deterred declaration of two (2) police cars as surplus until after the Budget preparation. 


REQUEST FOR SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR USE AT 917 HENRY STREET:  Mr. James Billings resides at 917 Henry Street.  He is requesting a Special Use Permit for Home Occupation to operate a day care facility.   Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Dr. Gates and vote of 5 AYES and 1 ABSTENTION (Leaman), this item was scheduled for public hearing on April 20, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.


RESOLUTION APPROVING TOURISM ASSOCIATION BY-LAWS:  A copy of the proposed By-Laws of the Smyth County Tourism Association had been provided to Town Council for their consideration.  Mr. Fenyk had reviewed the document and requested two (2) changes.  Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Dr. Gates and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Town Council approved the changes proposed by Mr. Fenyk.


REQUEST FOR MEETING OF PERSONNEL COMMITTEE:  Mr. Clark requested a meeting of the Personnel Committee to review select sections of the Personnel Manual.


UPDATE ON RELAY FOR LIFE:   Mr. Heath informed Town Council that Relay for Life will be held on June 13 from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. at the MSHS Track Field.  He requested that Town Council again consider allowing the Town of Marion Relay for Life Team to accept $1 donation for a chance to win one (1) year free garbage collection.  This prize is transferrable to any Town resident should the winner live outside the Town Corporate Limits.  Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Town Council approved Mr. Heath’s request.   Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Warren, Weaver, and Leaman voted affirmatively.   


Mr. Heath also requested that the Town of Marion continue to assist with set-up of the event.  Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Jennings, and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Council agreed that the Town will again assist in the set-up and clean-up for Relay for Life.


SEASONAL ADVERTISEMENT-LEASE OF LOT ON NORTH MAIN STREET: Advertisements for bids for temporary, seasonal and commercial lease of the Town’s property located between North Main Street and the Middle Fork of the Holston River.  Sealed bids are to be received until April 17, 2009 at 2:00 P.M.  Mr. Clark stated that he would present the bids at the April 20, 2009 meeting.


APPOINTMENT TO PLANNING COMMISSION:  Upon motion of Mr. Leaman, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Mr. Cameron Wolfe was reappointed to Marion Planning Commission for an additional four (4) year term.


APPOINTMENT TO RECREATION COMMISSION:  Terms for two (2) members of the Recreation Committee have expired.  Mr. Bobby Gilbert and Ms. Jill Robinson’s terms expired on 3/1/09.  Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, this item was continued.


APPOINTMENT TO FILL TOWN COUNCIL SEAT:  Dr. Gates stated that Council had discussed the matter and felt that a person with experience should be appointed to the seat.  Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, former Council Member Eugene Hendrick was appointed to serve the unexpired term of Ken Heath.   Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Weaver, Warren and Leaman voted affirmatively.


FIRE COMMITTEE ON FEMA GRANT:   Dr. Gates informed Council that the Town and Fire Department are working on grants to assist in replacing the breathing apparatus gear for the Fire Department.   These units must be replaced as the company that produced the current apparatus is out of business and these units will not be certified.  It has been determined that each breathing apparatus costs $5,000-$6,000.  The MVFD will need 37 units.  Among the grants to be applied for is a $55,000 FEMA Rural Development Grant.   Dr. Gates further stated that the Town will make sure that the MVFD will have proper, certified safety gear. 


ORDINANCE COMMITTEE-TELEPHONE FRANCHISE:  Town Council members had received a draft ordinance from the United Telephone Company-Southeast, Inc. D/B/A Embarq to provide telephone service within the Town of Marion, Virginia.    Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the Ordinance was scheduled for Public Hearing on April 20, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.


ORDINANCE COMMITTEE-REQUEST FROM SMYTH COUNTY TO DISCONTINUE THE SALE OF TOWN DECALS FOR AUTOMOBILES AND MOTORCYCLES:   A letter from the Smyth County Board of Supervisors, received February 18, 2009, advised the Town that the Board of Supervisors is considering the elimination of selling car decals and that the incurred fee would be added to the personal property tax ticket.   The letter stated that for the process to be successful, all Town within the County would also need to adopt the same procedure.   Saltville and Chilhowie have already elected to eliminate the decals, contingent that all Towns within the County and Smyth County elect to do the same.   Chief Roberts stated that if a portion of the County eliminates the decal and the Town does not, it would impossible to enforce.   Mrs. Hale and Mayor Helms expressed concern that the requirement to pay personal property tax prior to issuance of a decal helps to get the taxes paid.   The amount for the decal will be added to the Personal Property Tax Statement.  Mr. Warren stated that the display of decals is working and should remain unchanged.  Mayor Helms also brought up the issue that three (3) months would have to be prorated.  Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 4 AYES and 2 NOES (Leaman, Warren), the sale of car decals is eliminated, contingent on the action of the County and other Towns within the County.  


STREET COMMITTEE ON 2008-09 PAVING SCHEDULE:  Mr. Hicks presented the Spring Paving Schedule.  The total cost, as presented, is $242,219.  Mr. Hicks advised that the maximum allowance for paving this year is $150,000.  He asked that Council members review the list and return any comments by April 13.  These comments and recommendations will be reviewed and considered by the Street Committee. 


MT. STATES HEALTH ALLIANCE AND ETSU:  Mrs. Jennings stated that she is a member of a Committee that will be studying obesity in the area along with Mt. States Health Alliance and ETSU.   She further stated that this is a particularly serious problem in Smyth County.  She requested suggestions of support that the Town of Marion can give to the collaboration. She also requested the formation of a committee within the Town staff, including Mindy Dyer, Sam Wagner, and John Clark, to assist in determining a plan of action.   Mrs. Jennings advised that grants will be available for program assistance.


 RECOVERY ACT:  Mr. Leaman advised that Congressman Rick Boucher is planning 6 concurrent sessions at the Wytheville Meeting Center on April 20 to discuss the Recovery Act and ways to assist localities with the mounting problems they face.  One of the sessions involves Emergency Services.  He suggested that Mr. Heath and Mr. Clark attend.  He further suggested that, if possible, other representatives attend so that all sessions may be covered.   Mr. Leaman will provide information to Mr. Clark on this matter.


ARBOR DAY:   Arbor Day will be celebrated in Wassona Circle on April 24. 


MARCH OF DIMES WALK:  The March of Dimes Walk will be held on May 2 at 10 a.m.


BONHAM HOUSE VOLUNTEER TRAINING FOR THE VISITOR’S CENTER:   Mr. Ron Thomason provided a schedule of approximately 80 volunteers.  Training will be provided as scheduled.  


SPECIAL MEETING TO DISCUSS REDISTRIBUTION OF SOUTH CHURCH STREET FUNDS:  Mayor Helms stated that a Special Meeting will be conducted on Monday, April 13 at 5:30 p.m. to finalize the changes in the allocation of the South Church Street Project funds.


CENSUS:  Mr. Clark advised that a meeting concerning the upcoming U. S. Census will be conducted in the Municipal Building on May 21, 2009 at 1 p.m.


GO GREEN VIRGINIA:   Mayor Helms stated that with the addition of Mr. Heath to the Town staff, he will be able to help the Town become more involved in Go Green Virginia.


LEESBURG SUIT:  Mr. Helms advised that an outside water customer of Leesburg, VA sued them because of the increased water rate to outside customers.  A Judge ruled in favor of the customer.  Leesburg has appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court.


AUDIT:   Mayor Helms noted that he had spoken with the auditors performing the FY 2007-2008 Audit.  He stated that they spoke highly of the staff and the conditions of the Town’s books and records and availability of data as required.


BYRNE MEMORIAL GRANT:  Chief Roberts reminded Council that the MPD has been awarded the Byrne Memorial Grant in the amount of $29,680.   One of the requirements of the Grant for the Department is to inform Council of the award and the list of items to be submitted for approval by the Grant.  Police Lt. Andrew Moss listed the items as follows:   1)   $12,000 – (20) Glock Pistols; 2)  $6,000  - (10) Tazer model M26 to complement the ten free M26 Tazers, including 20 duty belt holsters; 3) $2,000 – (2) Smith and Weston M&P Rifles, slings, extra magazines; 4)  $1,200 – (2) Mossbery Model 500 Shotguns; 5) $7,000 – Audio and Video Surveillance equipment; 6)  $800 – (2) 10 ft Stinger Spike Systems for ending pursuits.   Mr. Weaver moved that the Town acknowledge and accept the notification of the grant and list of proposed purchases under the grant.  Mrs. Jennings seconded the motion.  Council approved the motion by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Weaver, Leaman, and Warren voted affirmatively.   Chief Roberts stated that the Marion Police Department appreciates the equipment and training provided to the Department by the Town of Marion.


FENCE AT POLICE DEPARTMENT:  Chief Roberts reported that a fence at the Police Department has fallen and the cost of materials to replace the fence is estimated at $1,300 and the labor will be provided in-house.  The Chief was to consult with the Director of Finance on the availability of funds.


CEMETERY VANDALISM:   Chief Roberts advised that three (3) juveniles are being charged but service of the warrants may not have been delivered.


I-81 BRIDGE:   Mr. Hicks reported that VDOT has advised that the Scratch Gravel Bridge (southbound) will be reduced to one lane.   This may result in increased traffic thru Town for the next three (3) weeks.


FIRST FRUITS:   Mr. Heath and Mr. Clark met with the First Fruits Company.    Mt. Rogers Planning District Commission is discussing a loan of $150,000 toward the opening of this business.


COMMUNITY GARDEN:   Mr. Heath stated that Project Crossroads would like to discuss the possibility of a Community Garden.  This item was referred to the Building and Grounds Committee for study.


GRAND OPENING:  There will be two (2) Grand Openings this week.   One will be held at Kim’s Klassy Kloset and one at Greystone Realty. 


FARMER’S MARKET:  Mr. Heath advised that the Farmer’s Market cannot accept vouchers.  Individual vendors may be eligible to take the vouchers, if they are registered.


RESOLUTION FOR STUDENTS:  Mr. Warren asked that a Resolution or some type of recognition be prepared for the students who assisted in the bus incident recently. 


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



______________________________                 ________________________________

Mayor                                                                   Clerk