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 August 3, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.

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

INVOCATION/PLEDGE TO THE FLAG:  Mr.  Warren rendered the invocation.  Eagle Scout Zeb Rhodes led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

VISITORS:  Eagle Scout Zeb Rhodes, Debbie & Kyle Rhodes, C. B. & Brenda Gwyn, Pat Purser, El Saunders.

MINUTES:  Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 6 AYES and 1 ABSTENTION (Leaman) the minutes of the meeting conducted on July 20, 2009 were approved as written and distributed.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Hendrick, Warren, and Weaver voted affirmatively.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION OF ZEBUAL D. RHODES ON EARNING THE RANK OF EAGLE SCOUT:  Mayor Helms presented a Resolution of Congratulations to Zebual Rhodes on the occasion of his earning the rank of Eagle Scout.   Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the Resolution was adopted.



WHEREAS, Zebual D. Rhodes is a member of Boy Scout Troop 93, in Marion, Virginia; and

WHEREAS, Zebual D. Rhodes has recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank which may be            obtained by a Scout; and

WHEREAS, in earning the rank of Eagle Scout, Zebual D. Rhodes has demonstrated the ability to work toward future goals, develop a wide variety of skills and demonstrate a devotion to God and Country.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that this Council extends best wishes for continued success to Zebual D. Rhodes.

RESOLVED, this 3rd day of August 2009.


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Mayor                                                                                                                   Town Clerk


ADVERTISEMENT ON SOUTH MAIN STREET WATER PROJECT:  Mr. Clark advised that the South Main Street Water Project has been bid and bids are due August 18.  All contracts have been signed for engineering and administrative procedures. 

UPDATE ON OLD SCHOOL PROJECT:   Mr. Clark reported that the Town and County have a signed  agreement on the parking garage and plan to purchase the 1908 Schoolhouse.  This project  with DHCD is moving forward.

UPDATE ON PEARL AVENUE/BUCHANAN STREET PROJECT:  Mr. Clark advised that the Town of Marion has been offered a Competitive Grant for the 2009 Community Development Block Grant funding year.  The grant offer of $400,000 is in support of the Pearl Avenue and Buchanan Street Housing Rehabilitation Project.  Another $315,190 will be available in future funding for a total offer of $715,190.  A meeting concerning contract negotiations will be conducted on August 5 to discuss the project.  He noted that the first order of business would be to hire a Housing Rehabilitation Specialist to inspect each dwelling and submit recommendations.

UPDATE ON OLD PRATER LANE RAILROAD CROSSING:   Mr. Fenyk stated that Norfolk Southern Railroad has provided a license agreement.  They expressed concern about the Town’s reluctance to indemnify the Railroad.  Mr. Fenyk stated that the Railroad has stated that they could incorporate language into the document identifying an amount of liability to the Town.  Mr. Clark expressed the Town’s concerns that VDOT may withdraw their contribution to the project.   He has been in contact with VDOT with regard to this project.  Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Jennings and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, this item was continued.

UPDATE ON RIVERVIEW PUMP HOUSE PROJECT:  Mr. Fenyk advised that he has located a 10 foot easement for electric, cable and water.  However, he has not located where the property was conveyed to the Town.  This will require a full title search.  Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, this item was continued.

CHILHOWIE STREET BRIDGE – ENGINEERING CONTRACT:   Mr. Clark advised that he had felt that the Mattern & Craig engineering estimate was “high”.   He contacted Thompson & Litton for a cost estimate on engineering.   Their estimate was $25,000.   However, upon comparing the services with the costs, Mr. Clark recommended Mattern & Craig.   Their proposal is more comprehensive and includes a Virginia Marine Resources permit and a load rating analysis.   Mrs. Jennings asked if the person who damaged the Bridge was insured.  Mr. Clark responded that the vehicle is insured.  Mr. Fenyk noted that there is no personal damage, only property damage.  There is a five (5) year statute of limitations to file a claim.  Mr. Clark added that their insurance company has been advised of the accident and damage to the Bridge.  The insurance representative has visited the site.    Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the Engineering Contract for the Chilhowie Street Bridge was awarded to Mattern & Craig.  Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Weaver, Warren, and Mr. Hendrick voted affirmatively.

REQUEST ON “CHRISTMAS MARKET” AT THE FARMER’S MARKET:  The Marion German Club is requesting permission to host a “Christmas Market” to coincide with the Town’s Christmas Parade.  Plans include evening events November 20, afternoon and evening events on Saturday, November 21 and after church on Sunday, November 22.  The events will include music, German foods, local arts and crafts and baked goods.    Mrs. Eleanor Saunders, Mrs. Pat Purser and Mr. Clayborne and Mrs. Brenda Gwyn were in attendance to speak for the Marion German Club.  They stated that the event in Germany is very festive and hope that it will be a good event for the Town.  Food is especially important to the “Christmas Market”.   They plan to involve food vendors and church groups.  Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mrs. Hale and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, permission was granted for the “Christmas Market”.

CHRISTMAS TREE DISPLAYS:  Mrs. Eleanor Saunders informed Council members that the Historical Society plans to host a Christmas tree display at the former Parks-Belk Building on Main Street.   Groups will be invited to decorate a tree for the event as well as other Christmas displays.

REQUEST FOR TEMPORARY LEASE – CHRISTMAS TREE/GREENERY STAND:   Mr. Heath advised that a request for the Town to advertise for a temporary lease agreement for a Christmas trees/greenery stand in the upper portion of the Market.  This would close the uppermost spaces to parking for approximately one month.   Upon motion, duly seconded, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, Mr. Heath was authorized to advertise for a temporary lease, from November 20 – December 24, to sell Christmas trees and greenery at the Farmer’s Market. 

“GROWN-UP” HALLOWEEN PARTY ON THE MARKET STREET:  The MDRA is considering hosting a special “grown up” Halloween Party on the Market on October 30th.  All music, games and activities will be geared toward adults, food venders, a costume contest and other Halloween activities are also planned.  He hopes that food vendors will be available.  A beer garden may be hosted on private property.  No alcohol will be provided or consumed on the “Market” property. 

1908 SCHOOLHOUSE:  Mrs. Eleanor Saunders expressed her appreciation to the Town Council for their hard work and support on saving the Old Schoolhouse.

APPOINTMENTS TO MARION REDEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING AUTHORITY (MRHA) BOARD:  MRHA Executive Director Charles Harrington had requested the re-appointment of two of the Board of Commissioners, Rev. Harry Howe and Don Wampler.  Both gentlemen have agreed to serve.  Upon motion of Mr. Weaver , seconded by Mr. Leaman, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, Rev. Howe and Mr. Wampler were reappointed.   Their appointment will expire on September 14, 2013. 

RECOMMENDATION OF APPOINTMENT TO THE BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS:  Mr. Hicks requested a recommendation to the Circuit Court Judge to reappoint Cameron Wolfe as a member of the Town of Marion Board of Zoning Appeals.   Upon motion of Mr. Leaman, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, Marion Town Council recommended the 5-year reappointment of Cameron Wolfe to the Board of Zoning Appeals and that Mr. Fenyk prepare the appropriate documents.   His appointment shall expire on September 13, 2014.

ORDINANCE COMMITTEE – DEER CONTROL:   Mrs. Jennings reported that the Committee and various staff met with Virginia Game & Inland Fishery representatives.  The representatives presented several options to bring the deer population under control.   Chief Roberts will contact other localities that have plans in place to determine which would be best for our community.   No recommendations were made pending additional information.

ORDINANCE COMMITTEE - VEHICLE DECALS:  Mrs. Jennings stated that the Committee was not in total agreement on this matter.   Several months ago, the Town voted to eliminate the sale of vehicle decals, if the County did likewise.   In the meantime, the County has decided not to eliminate their decals this year due to cash flow problems related to the change.   Following discussion, Dr. Gates moved that the Town eliminate the vehicle decals and that tax statements be prorated for the first year.  Mrs. Jennings seconded the motion.  The motion was defeated by a vote of 3 AYES (Gates, Jennings, Weaver) and 4 NOES (Hendrick, Hale, Leaman, Warren). 

ORDINANCE COMMITTEE – ACCUMULATION ON PREMISES:  Mrs. Jennings reported that the Committee recommends that the Town Code Section 38-1 (b) be amended to require that grass/weeds on property must be cut after the height reaches fifteen (15”) inches.  Mrs. Jennings moved that this recommended change be set for public hearing on September 8 at 7:00 p.m.  Mr. Fenyk was asked to prepare the document.

TOWN CODE ON THE INTERNET:  Mrs. Jennings moved that the Town of Marion Code of Ordinances be placed on the Internet.   The Town’s codifiers, Municipal Code, have a program to display the Code of Ordinances on the internet and maintain the same at a cost of $400 per year.  The program also includes a “search engine”.  Approval will result in a savings to the Town due to updates to the document.  A link will be established to provide easy access from the Town’s website, www.marionva.org.  Mr. Weaver seconded the motion.  Council approved the same unanimously. 

STREET SWEEPER:  Mrs. Hale stated that the street sweeper came part way up Iron Street and turned around and left.  She was unsure of the problem.  Mr. Clark advised that he would talk with the operators and secure an answer.

PRAYERS AND SUPPORT APPRECIATED:  Mr. Leaman expressed his appreciation for the prayers and support for he and his family.

TOWN AND COUNTY BBQ:  Mayor Helms noted that the Annual Town and County BBQ will be held on August 20 at the W&L hanger in Chilhowie.  Those planning to attend should contact the Clerk so that reservations can be made.

MARION TRANSIT:  Mayor Helms stated that the bus will begin a “fixed” route on August 4, 2009.  The Transit has been a very positive program for the Town. 

COMCAST:  Mr. Fenyk reported Comcast Cable is in good standing as far as Business Licenses are concerned.   He continues to ask for a breakdown on the user fee paid to the Town. 

VIRGINIA SOCIETY SONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUATION:   Mayor Helms displayed an award to the Town of Marion in recognition of Exemplary Patriotism in Displaying the Flag of the United States of America from the General William Campbell Chapter.   This was presented to the Town at the Memorial Day Program at VFW Post 4667.

ENTERPRISE ZONE:  Mr. Heath reported that U. S. Solutions, 626 South Main Street, has qualified for the Enterprise Zone Rebate Program.  The program allows incentives for businesses locating and expanding within the designated Marion Enterprise Zone.

ANNUAL PATRIOT’S DAY PROGRAM:  Mr. Heath reported that plans are underway and details will be announced at a later date.

NEW BUSINESS:  Barton and Company have located their new paint store business on Lee Street in the former Berry’s Home Improvement building.   They are the only Liden paint distributor in Southwest Virginia.

POLICE DEPARTMENT POLICY CHANGES:  Chief Roberts informed Town Council that he will attend a Police Chief’s conference next week. Chief Roberts requested a Police Committee meeting to discuss changes in Department policy. 

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


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Mayor                                                                                   Clerk