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
July 20, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
PRESENT: Mayor David
P. Helms; Dr. James Gates, Jane Hale, Eugene Hendrick, Suzanne Jennings, Bill
Weaver and Mark Warren, Council Members; Town Manager John E. B. Clark, Jr.;
Police Chief Michael Roberts; Town Attorney Mark Fenyk; Community & Economic Development Director
Ken Heath; Engineer’s Assistant Todd Long;
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: Members of the Marion Little League All-Stars – Hunter
Lefler, Riley Blevins, Nicholas Stiefel, Michael Ellis, W. K. Dalton, Jacob
Spencer and Coaches Junior Wolfe, Joe Ellis and Brian Leaman.
MINUTES: Upon motion
of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mrs. Hale and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the minutes
of the meeting, conducted on July 6, 2009, were approved as written and distributed. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Mr.
Warren, Mr. Weaver, and Mr. Hendrick voted affirmatively.
UPDATE ON OLD SCHOOL
PROJECT AND APPROVAL OF AGREEMENT FOR BEGINNING PARKING LOT
WITHIN TWO YEARS OF CONTRACT SIGNING: Mr. Clark reported that the Town has been
informed by DHCD representative, Todd Christensen, that a grant in the amount
of $1,000,000 will be awarded to the Town based upon HUD’s national objectives,
the elimination of slum and blight. Also,
consideration has been given to job creation for low and moderate income
individuals both during the construction and sustaining jobs from the
Appalachian School of Music and for other businesses that will be
rehabilitated. The project must be under construction by December 2009. Although the parking garage is not a direct
part of the slum and blight project, Mr. Christensen requested a timetable on
the construction of the parking garage.
Mr. Christensen stated that the project must begin within two years of
the Town signing a contract with DHCD.
Town Attorney Mark Fenyk and County Attorney John Tate added a section
in the contract with regard to the two year proviso. Mr. Hendrick expressed some concerns but was
satisfied that Mr. Fenyk had covered all the bases. It was noted that $250,000 of the grant would
be paid to Smyth County to purchase the 1908
schoolhouse. Upon motion of Mrs.
Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver, and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the agreement
Mr. Clark commended Mr. Michael Armbrister from the MRPDC and
Ken Heath on the preparation of the grant application. Mayor Helms asked Mr. Clark to contact
Charlie Clark to come by the office and sign the agreement.
MARION LITTLE LEAGUE-REQUEST FOR FUNDS: Marion Little League Coach Junior Wolfe
informed Town Council that the Marion Little League Baseball Team 11-12 year
old All-Stars have won the Area 1 Tournament and are the first Area 1 team to
win the District in Bristol. The team
has qualified for the State Tournament and will play in Centerville, VA
this week. Cost of the hotel rooms
alone will be $7,000. They requested any
financial assistance the Town could provide for this trip. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr.
Weaver and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the request was referred to the Finance
Committee, with power to act, not to exceed $1,000. A donation of $500 was donated to the
Marion Little League. Members of the
team in attendance were: Hunter Lefler, Riley
Blevins, Nicholas Stifel, W. K. Dalton, and Jacob Spencer. The Team presented Mayor Helms a signed
photo of the team and an autographed baseball.
Mayor Helms extended the Town’s best wishes to the Team and noted that a
send-off for the District Champion Marion Little League Team Age 11-12 will be
held at the Municipal
Building on Thursday,
July 23 @ 8:30 a.m. Mr. Ellis stated
that any personal donations will be accepted and may be left at the General Francis Marion
NOTICE OF AWARD
ON PEARL AVENUE/BUCHANAN STREET CDBG PROJECT: Governor Kaine’s office has announced that
the Town of Marion
will receive $715,190 in CDBG funds for the Pearl Avenue/Buchanan Street
Housing Rehabilitation Project. The
Town’s local share will be $36,000, over a three (3) year period. “Project
Description: The Town will address
substandard housing conditions in the Pearl
Avenue and Buchanan Street community. The project includes the rehabilitation of 15
owner-occupied houses, the rehabilitation of 6 renter-occupied properties, the
substantially reconstruction of one owner-occupied home, and demolition and
removal of two vacant blighted structures in addition to general debris and
trash removal. The project is expected
to benefit 46 persons, all of whom are low-to-moderate income.
Scott Booth, of MRPDC, has advised that the Town may receive
additional funding for this project from Rural Development. Mr. Booth applied for $113,305, which may be
used to further expand housing rehabilitation.
APPROVAL OF ENGINEERING CONTRACT ON SOUTH MAIN STREET
WATER LINE PROJECT: The Engineering Services
contract for the South Main Street Waterline Replacement by The Lane Group was
presented for discussion. The Project
will be paid for by 100% stimulus funds.
Mr. Clark noted that $5,500 has been allocated in the budget for
administration. This had already been
paid by the Town, however, those funds may be used for required monitoring of
the workers with regard to the Davis-Bacon Act, environmental reviews, and
certification of “buy American” (use of American made iron). Upon
motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mr. Jennings and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES,
Council approved the contract based upon Health Department Approval.
UPDATE ON TOWN WEBSITE: Todd Long
reported that the current minutes and current agendas are now on the
website. He and Chris King are working
to get the search engine back on line for the minutes. Mr. Long also intends to send out requests to
departments for updates and news to post on the website. Mr. Hendrick stated that the heading on the
first page is difficult to see and should be clarified. Mr. Long agreed and stated that they may be
able to change this banner. He stated
that he may contact Steven Taylor to determine if the Town staff can change or
clarify this image.
DEER POPULATION CONTROL: Mr. Clark
reported that the Virginia
Department of Game &
Inland Fisheries is aware of the problem with deer population. This has become a problem all over the
State. Mr. Clark added that a date is
being determined to schedule a meeting between VDGIF, Town representatives and
the Ordinance Committee. Mr. Weaver
stated that several individuals have spoken to him with regard to the Urban
Archery Program. This will be discussed
with the VDGIF representatives.
REPORT ON CHILI COOK-OFF AND RELATED EVENTS: Mr. Heath reported that a crowd of
approximately 8,000 attended the Chili Cook-off on Friday night and several
hundred attended the Broad Street Celebration on Saturday night. The Town’s first Corn Hole Tournament hosted 10
teams. The winning team plans to attend
the Work Championship in Indiana. The Car Show on Friday night was also very
successful. The Town Chili Team, “Mel’s Diner” won the Showmanship award. Mr. Heath stated that more volunteers are
needed for these types of events. He
encouraged people to volunteer.
Discussion is underway for a fall celebration. Mr. Heath will provide more details as they
APPOINTMENTS TO LINCOLN
THEATRE BOARD, MT. ROGERS PDC BOARD
AND MARION PLANNING COMMISSION: Upon
motion of Mr. Warren,
seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 5 AYES and 1 ABSTENTION (Dr. Gates), Dr.
Gates was reappointed to the Lincoln Theatre Board.
Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote
of 6 AYES and 0 N0ES, Mayor Helms was appointed to the MRPDC Board. Mayor Helms served on the initial Board for
MRPDC which will celebrate the 40th Anniversary this year.
Upon motion of Mr. Warren, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and
vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, James Barker was reappointed to the Marion Planning
ACCOUNTS: Mr. Warren
moved that the accounts be approved for payment in the amount of
$551,884.34. Mr. Weaver seconded the
motion. Council approved the same by a
vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES.
were no investments for this period. Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 6 AYES
and 0 NOES, the report was accepted.
NEW COMMUNICATIONS METHODS FOR TOWN EVENTS AND
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Mr. Heath advised that
the Town now offers Twitter or Nixel as a means of providing an emergency alert
and/or community information to those who sign up on their cell phones.
BUILDING AND REAL ESTATE COMMITTEE ON OLD POLICE DEPARTMENT
USES: Mr. Warren reported that
Appalachian Spirit Gallery advised that the Museum has approached them
concerning the use of the upstairs of the facility. Mr. Warren informed them that they, as
lessees, have control of the upstairs space.
The ASG plans to deny the use, at this time, as the schedules would not
always allow someone to be in the Art
Gallery when the upstairs
was in use. On the other hand, the
Town has control of the basement of the property. A private benefactor has offered to create a
railroad museum in the basement. Items
from the basement would have to be moved before this area may be discussed.
Mrs. Jennings reported that she had spoken with Councilman Leaman and he
has returned to Duke for additional treatment and doing well. He sends his best wishes to Council. Mr. Leaman asked her to thank everyone for
their participation in the Chili Cook-off.
He stated that he had a great time.
ARTWALK: The Art Walk
reported that approximately 200 people attended the monthly Art Walk.
DECALS: Mr. Weaver
stated that he was unaware that the Town’s elimination of the decals was
contingent upon the County eliminating theirs.
Mr. Weaver moved that the Town revisit the decal situation and refer the
matter to the Ordinance Committee. Dr.
Gates seconded the motion. Council
approved the motion by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES.
SMYTH COUNTY COMMUNITY
HOSPITAL PUBLIC HEARING: A public hearing was conducted at the Municipal Building to receive input on the plans
to establish an 18 bed rehabilitation facility in the current hospital facility
on July 16, 2009. Several individuals
and companies spoke in favor of the facility.
Only one, Health South, spoke in opposition.
VML EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING: Mayor Helms attended the VML Executive
Council Meeting in Vienna
on July 11th. He advised
that the deer population is causing problems all over the Commonwealth. Budget problems are also plaguing most other
TOURISM BY-LAWS: Mr.
Fenyk reported that County Attorney John Tate has requested a meeting to
discuss an amendment to the Tourism By-Laws.
TV CABLE FRANCHISE:
Dr. Gates asked if Mr. Fenyk had further information on the TV Cable
Franchise Agreement. He stated that he
does not have information of the Franchise Agreement. The Franchise Fee has been eliminated;
however, Comcast must pay a business license.
The Communication Tax, $0.35, is coming in at an average of
$10,000 per month. Mr. Fenyk noted that
he has requested a break-down from where the funds are coming.
NEW BUSINESS: Mr.
Heath was pleased to announce that a new business has opened in Downtown. The Cottage Boutique II is located at 215 East Main Street.
BROCHURES: Mr. Heath
advised that the Town has exhausted the supply of brochures. These were printed several years ago. A number of volunteers have come forward and
offered to redesign the brochure, free of charge. The estimated cost to print 10,000 brochures
is $2,500. Upon motion of Dr. Gates,
seconded by Mrs. Jennings, and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, approval was given to
design new brochures. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs
Hendrick, Weaver, and Warren voted affirmatively.
Mayor Helms asked Mr. Fenyk to review the recently passed revised
regulations with regard to care of premises.
LEAK DETECTION STUDY:
Mr. Clark informed Council that the Leak Detection Study is going
well. Several million gallons of water
loss have been identified.
UV SYSTEM: Mr. Clark
advised that grant funding for the UV System at the Sewer Plant was
unsuccessful. The Town staff is
considering hiring an engineer to review the system and make
recommendations. This item is budgeted
for capital improvement at $45,000 per year for 10 years. Dr. Gates asked if money from the Tobacco
Fund is available for this project. Mr.
Clark advised that Tobacco money has been allocated for this year. The Town and County are preparing to request
funds for the parking deck.
BUDGET BOOKLET FOR 2009-2010: Mr. Weaver stated that the Budget Booklets
are well put together and will be a helpful tool in the year to come.
Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES,
the meeting was adjourned.