Minutes of a Special Called Meeting of the Town Council of the Town of Marion, Virginia was held on June 8, 2008 at 5:15 p.m.


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


INVOCATION/PLEDGE TO THE FLAG:  Mr. Warren rendered the invocation.  Mayor Helms led the Pledge to the Flag.


VISITORS:  Joe Ellis


DISCUSSION ON AN AGREEMENT WITH SMYTH COUNTY CONCERNING THE PROPOSED PARKING FACILITY AND STATUS OF THE 1908 SCHOOLHOUSE AND DISCUSSION OF AEP RATE INCREASE PROPOSAL:    Mayor Helms stated that the purpose of this meeting is to discuss an agreement with Smyth County concerning a proposed parking facility and status of the 1908 schoolhouse.   Also, to be discussed was the Town’s position on the request for a rate increase by AEP.


Mayor Helms stated that representatives from the Town and County met on 6/8/09 to discuss the proposed parking facility and the status of the 1908 schoolhouse.  The Board of Supervisors will meet a couple of times this week and would like to have the Town’s position on these matters. 


CLOSED SESSION – Pursuant to Code of Virginia 1950, as amended, Section 2.2-3711 (A3) and upon motion of Mr. Leaman, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, Marion Town Council entered into Closed Session for the purpose of discussing proposed participation in construction of a parking facility.  Mrs. Jennings moved that Council return to Open Session and that it is known that only those matters legally exempted from Open Session and identified in the motion were discussed during the Closed Session.  Mr. Weaver seconded the motion.  Council approved the same unanimously.   Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Weaver, Hendrick, Warren and Leaman voted affirmatively,


Dr. Gates explained that the Town will apply for a Grant for the amount of the appraisal of the 1908 schoolhouse in the amount of $250,000.  The County has stated that they will accept this amount as payment for the building.  An additional commitment of $250,000 had been proposed by the Town toward construction of the parking facility.   Requirement of 187 spaces has been reduced to 140 spaces due to relocating some of the Constitutional offices out into the County.  Dr. Gates reported that it is the Town’s desire to assist the County and acquire downtown parking.  These parking facilities will be controlled by Smyth County.  However, it would provide much needed parking at nights and on weekends.  The County requested a firm commitment up to $500,000, in addition to the grant in the amount of $250,000 toward the construction of a parking deck. 


Mr. Hendrick moved that a $250,000 grant, the assessed value of the schoolhouse, be used to purchase the structure from the County.  If the two-deck parking areas bids are $1.5 million dollars or higher, the Town would commit $500,000 towards construction of the same.   The Town’s commitment would then be $750,000.    However, if the bids for the parking facility are $1.5 million dollars or lower, the Town and County would share the cost 50%/50%.  Mr. Weaver seconded the motion, Council approved the same unanimously.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Hendrick, Leaman, Weaver and Warren voted affirmatively.


As the Town needed clarification on the use of the school building and financing information, Mr. Joe Ellis was invited into the Closed Session to answer some questions from the Town Council. 


 Mr. Clark advised that the grant application is due by June 12, 2009.  He further stated that the deadline may be extended. 


Mr. Leaman and Mrs. Jennings stated that they had planned to vote against the schoolhouse/parking projects.  However, these funds may not be available again.  Mr. Leaman further stated that he does not want the Town to ever own the schoolhouse.  Use of the building will be going to the same entity that has proven to be able to apply for grant funds and private funds to revitalize other buildings in our community.  It was noted that another $1,000,000 may come with the project through DHCD.    Mr. Warren stated that he envisions this project as an investment in the Town’s future.  Mr. Hendrick added that this additional parking is at one-half the cost of adding a second layer to the Town parking lot on Cherry Street. 


Mayor Helms stated that there had been a lot of good discussion and tourism is where the Town’s focus is now.  The Lincoln Theatre is a big hit and part of the Town’s future.


Mr. Weaver advised that he is on the Committee for Review on this project and that he has a conflict, and must withdraw.  Dr. Gates will replace Mr. Weaver on the Committee for review. 


AEP PROPOSED RATE INCREASE:  Mr. Fenyk stated that Public Hearing on this request will be conducted on 6/30/09 at 10 am.   AEP is requesting a rate hike that would increase bills $8.90 per thousand kilowatts up to $12.21 per kilowatts per thousand.  Mrs. Hale moved that the Town Attorney prepare a Resolution in Opposition to the AEP request, for consideration at the 6/15/09 meeting.  Mr. Warren seconded the motion.  Council approved the same unanimously.   Dr. Gates requested that this matter be researched with VML.  He would be uncomfortable voting on this matter without more information.  


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



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Mayor                                                              Clerk