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 May 18, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.


PRESENT:  Mayor David P. Helms; Dr. James Gates, Jane Hale, Suzanne Jennings, Mel Leaman, Eugene Hendrick, Bill Weaver and Mark Warren, Council Members; Town Manager John E. B. Clark, Jr.; Town Engineer/Assistant Town Manager Cecil Hicks; Police Chief Michael Roberts; Town Attorney Mark Fenyk; Purchasing Agent Billy J. Hamm; Community & Economic Development Manager Ken Heath; Deputy Town Clerk/Deputy Director of Finance Susan Clark.


INVOCATION/PLEDGE TO THE FLAG:  Reverend Jim Bangle rendered the invocation. Police Officer Ricky Billings led the Pledge to the Flag.


VISITORS: Neal Burchett, Peggy Burchett, Reverend Jim Bangle, Police Lieutenant Rex Anders, Police Sergeant Shawn Conklin, Police Sergeant Rick McNew and Police Officers Kel Lowry, Brian Sexton, Steven McVey, Ricky Billings, Amber Eades, Christin Long


MINUTES:  Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the minutes of the meeting held May 4, 2009 were approved as written.  Messrs Warren, Weaver, Hendrick, Leaman, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale and Dr. Gates voted affirmatively.



Chief Michael Roberts opened the Town Council Meeting by recognizing National Police Week, May 17-23, 2009 and honoring the service and sacrifice of those law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.  Officer Amber Eades reminded Council that 4 officers had been killed in the state of Virginia in 2008 and a total of 133 Officers were killed across the nation in 2008. Officer Christin Long read the Proclamation.  Upon motion of Mr. Warren, seconded by Mrs. Jennings, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the Proclamation was adopted by Town Council.  Mayor Helms thanked Chief Roberts and the Officers for their service to our community particularly during the recent storms of May 8, 2009.


RESOLUTION OF CONGRATULATIONS TO NEAL BURCHETT ON HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE TOWN OF MARION:  Mayor Helms read the Resolution and presented it to Mr. Burchett and commended him on his service to the Town.  Upon motion of Mr. Hendrick, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the Resolution was approved.


UPDATE ON OLD SCHOOL HOUSE SITUATION:  Mr. Heath stated that he and Mr. Clark had met with Todd Christianson.  Mr. Christianson had encouraged the Town to apply for $1,000,000. in stimulus/CDBG funding for the Downtown Improvement Grant that would address the purchase of the old schoolhouse building and provide façade improvements for that building and others in the immediate area to remove “slum and blight” issues.  Mr. Christianson added that the grant is very competitive and the Town must have a signed agreement with the County concerning the parking deck.  The study performed by K W Poore and Associates stated that the Appalachian School of Music would be the best use for the building.  Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mr. Hendrick and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, Council accepted K W Poore and Associates recommendation and contingent upon receiving the funding the best possible use for the building is for the Appalachian School of Music.  Mr. Fenyk was asked to draft an agreement between the Town and County.  Mrs. Jennings added that only 140 parking spaces are needed and the Towns contribution could be substantially lower.  Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, legal council will draft an agreement.


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (FOIA) REVIEW: Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, this item was continued.


HEALTH DEPARTMENT FUNDING FOR SOUTH MAIN STREET WATER LINE REPLACEMENT THROUGH STIMULUS PACKAGE:  Mr. Clark stated that he received verbal confirmation that $163,350 was approved by the Health Department as a loan that will be 100% forgiven for cost of the replacement of the South Main Street water line.  He added that the Health Department did not approve funding for the Water Tank Rehab Project.


APPROVAL OF PAVING BIDS:  Mr. Hicks stated that he received only one bid and it was from W-L Construction & Paving.  The total amount of the bid is $166,862.40.  Mr. Hicks had estimated the total to be $159,492.00.  Dr. Gates stated that the amount of highway funds left to spend for this fiscal year is $150,000.00 and after the May 8th storm and the clean up costs, some of the streets may need to be taken out of the bid to lower the cost.  Mr. Hicks added that 70 loads of brush has already been collected and the clean up is still about two (2) weeks behind.  Discussion ensued.  Mr. Leaman suggested if the Town hauled the milling it could cut down on costs by using the Town trucks and personnel.  Upon motion of Mr. Leaman, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, Council approved the pavement schedule with the elimination of Walnut Street $8,447.78, Patton Avenue $12,346.18 and South Street $5,602.49 for a total of $26,396.45.  Thus making the paving bid $140,465.95.


ACCOUNTS:  Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mrs. Jennings, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the accounts were approved for payment in the amount of $625,567.69.  Messrs Warren, Leaman, Hendrick, Weaver, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings and Dr. Gates voted affirmatively.


INVESTMENTS:  Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mrs. Jennings, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the investment report was approved. 


NOTICE OF BUDGET MEETING:  Mayor Helms informed Council that a budget meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 5:30 pm.


RECYCLING UPDATE ON OIL/PAINT:  Mr. Heath informed Council that Convenience Stations will take oil, but will not take paint.  The Farmers Market will have a truck available to take any appliance, computer equipment, etc. that has a cord and plug for recycling on July 18, 2009.  This will be advertised in the near future.  Mr. Heath is working to try and find the lowest and best cost for implementing recycling in the Town and is working with First Fruits and the Smyth County School Board who are interested in recycling projects.


STREET COMMITTEE-REQUEST FROM EBENEZER LUTHERN CHURCH-TWO HANDICAP PARKING SPACE DESIGNATIONS:  Upon motion of Mr. Leaman, seconded by Dr. Gates and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, this item was continued.


REAL ESTATE COMMITTEE-COMMUNITY GARDEN:  Upon motion of Mr. Warren, seconded by Mrs. Jennings, and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, this item was dropped from the agenda.


WATER COMMITTEE-FIRST FRUITS REQUEST:  The water line replacement at First Fruits total cost will be $32,100.  Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Jennings, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, an agreement will be signed by the Town and First Fruits to split the cost of the water line replacement with the Town paying the amount in full.  Included in the agreement, First Fruits would have to use at least 1 million gallons of water per month for 12 consecutive months; the agreement would then be forgiven.  If the 12,000,000 gallons is not used after the 12 months, the Town will bill First Fruits for half of the cost of the water line replacement in the amount of $16,050.00.  When

production starts at the factory, the 12 month time frame will begin.  Mr. Clark noted that this motion supersedes the May 4, 2009 recommendation and motion.


COMPLAINTS OF DOGS RUNNING LOOSE IN TOWN:  Mrs. Jennings stated that she has received several calls about the dogs.  Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Leaman, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, this item is referred to the Ordinance Committee for study and recommendation.


FARMERS MARKET:  Mr. Heath reported that May 9th was the opening day for the Market in Marion. The Farmers Market should be a great success again this year.


MEMORIAL DAY PARADE:  Mayor Helms informed Council of the Memorial Day Parade to be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, May 25, 2009 with a program and lunch to follow at the VFW.  There will be over 400 flags adorning the Courthouse lawn this year.


TOWN SECTION MEETING:  The Town Section meeting will be held Thursday, May 22, 2009 in Vinton, Va.


STORM-MAY 8, 2009:  Mayor Helms thanked the Town Shop crews for their extra work during and after the May 8th storm.


MARION DOWNTOWN!-KEN HEATH:  Mr. Heath stated that Marion Downtown has some capital improvement projects that they would like for Town Council to consider.  First the organization would like to donate the materials from a stage that is too cumbersome to be used as a portable unit and would like for the Town Council to consider construction of a music gazebo in the area between the Town Hall and Appalachian Spirit Gallery, using the materials from the stage.  The organization would secure the additional materials and labor at no cost to the Town, they would ask that the Town assist in site readiness and provide electricity during events.


Second the Marion Downtown would like to bring a street art project to Main Street at no cost to the Town.


Third, the Appalachian Spirit Gallery has proposed donating fabric to be stretched between market shelters to add color and shade.  The organization would provide materials and would request permission and assistance in installation and removal.


Last, the Farmers Market stain project.  Stain and materials have been purchased to weatherproof the market pavilion.  Volunteers have started the project.  The organization requests assistance from the Town to complete the project.


Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Leaman, and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, these items were referred to the Buildings & Grounds Committee.


OLDER AMERICANS DAY CELEBRATION:  Mayor Helms informed Council that the Older Americans Day Celebration will be May 29, 2008 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at the River Bend Park.


CIVIL WAR RE-ENACTMENT:  A Civil War Re-enactment will be held at the River Bend Park on Sunday, May 24, 2009 with Sunday Church Service at 11:00 am.  The re-enactors will also participate in the Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 25, 2009.


TOWN SPRINGS:  Mr. Clark informed Council that the Town Springs were out from May 6 to May 12.  The WTP employees worked 24 hours for three days and everything is in good working order now.


FIRE DEPARTMENT GRANT:  Mr. Clark stated that the grant application was submitted on Friday, May 15, 2009.


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



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Mayor                                                              Deputy Clerk