Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council of the Town of Marion held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building on November 2, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
PRESENT: Mayor David Helms; Dr. James Gates, Mrs. Suzanne Jennings; Mrs. Jane Hale, Messrs Mel Leaman, Bill Weaver, and Mr. Eugene Hendrick, Council Members; Town Manager John E. B. Clark, Jr.; Town Attorney Mark Fenyk; Assistant Town Manager/Town Engineer Cecil Hicks; Police Chief Michael Roberts; Police Officer Amber Eades; Community and Economic Development Director Ken Heath; Town Clerk/Director of Finance Dixie Sheets.
INVOCATION/PLEDGE TO THE FLAG: Mr. Hicks rendered the invocation. Mayor Helms led the Pledge to the Flag.
VISITORS: Tom Austin, Jane Weaver, Jeff Spickard, Charlotte Faris, Ralph Price
MINUTES: Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mrs. Hale and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the minutes of the meeting conducted on October 22, 2009 were approved as written and distributed. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Weaver, Leaman, and Hendrick voted affirmatively.
Upon motion of Mr. Weaver, seconded by Mrs. Jennings, and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the minutes of the meeting conducted on October 26, 2009 were approved as written and distributed. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Weaver, Leaman, and Hendrick voted affirmatively.
REPORT ON SCHOOLHOUSE SITUATION- TOWN ATTORNEY: Mr. Fenyk reported that he has not received an approved deed from the School Board. Mr. Fenyk explained that the issue deals with the property immediately in front of the school (on the Strother Street side). The property was not properly deeded to Smyth County. Mr. Fenyk advised that there are two (2) deeds. One deed is from Smyth County Board of Supervisors for the 1908 schoolhouse. The second deed is for property adjoining the school property which is owned by Smyth County School Board. It is anticipated that the School Board will prepare a Quit Claim deed to the Town. Mr. Fenyk stated that he had several suggestions of changes to the WACO Construction contract. One is that the Town be allowed to make the payment to WACO with the monthly accounts. He stated that currently payment would be due upon receipt of the statement. Mr. Fenyk has contacted Bill Huber, Spectrum Design concerning this matter and Ken Heath will contact WACO Construction November 3, 2009.
Mr. Heath stated that the Town is under a deadline. The project must be under construction by December 1 or the Town will be in jeopardy of losing a $1 million grant. $250,000 is in the Town’s account to purchase the school. He recommended that the Town issue a “Notice to Proceed” to WACO Construction on the pigeon abatement project. A lengthy discussion ensued. Dr. Gates moved that the Town issue a “Notice to Proceed” to WACO Construction to proceed with pigeon abatement knowing the contractor cannot enter off Strother Street and work out details on contracts with the School Board and WACO Construction, contingent upon Mr. Fenyk, Mr. Clark and Mr. Heath reviewing the deed from the Smyth County School Board and that Mayor Helms be authorized to sign the contract on behalf of the Town. Mr. Leaman seconded the motion. Council approved the motion by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Hendrick and Weaver voted affirmatively.
RE-ADVERTISE REZONING REQUEST FOR 1103 CULBERT DRIVE FROM R2 TO MEDICAL ARTS – RALPH PRICE: On October 22, 2009, Marion Town Council granted a request to rezone a parcel of property at 1103 Culbert Drive from R2 to Medical Arts. A Joint Public Hearing was conducted on this date and the consensus of the Marion Planning Commission was to recommend rezoning of the property. However, Mr. Clark stated that while adjoining property owners were notified as per the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, the advertisement, which met the spirit of the law, was not published in the local newspaper. After a conversation with the Town Attorney, Mr. Clark stated that the rezoning request must be re-advertised and processed again. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Town Council set a public hearing for November 16, 2009 at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building to consider this rezoning request.
COST & LOGISTICS OF SPECIAL TOWN COUNCIL ELECTION-TOWN MANAGER: At the October 26, 2009 meeting, Mr. Leaman asked the Town Manager to secure cost estimates to conduct a Special Election to select a person to fill the unexpired term of Mark F. Warren. Mr. Clark contacted Sandy Elswick and received a cost estimate of $810. Mr. Clark stated that Ms. Elswick expressed concern that petitions to run for office must be filed 60 days prior to an election. This may require those interested in filling the position to have to secure signatures on their petitions twice in a few months time. Mr. Leaman withdrew his request to conduct a special election. It was noted that Town Council has 45 days to choose a person to fill Mr. Warren’s unexpired term.
WILDERNESS ROAD GARDEN CLUB – MRS. JANE WEAVER: Jane Weaver and Charlotte Faris, Wilderness Road Garden Club representatives, were present to request $300 for baskets for Main Street next year. These will be hung up around Memorial Day. Members of Council agreed that the baskets are beautiful and compliment the Town. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Dr. Gates and vote of 6 AYES 0 NOES, Council agreed to assist with the cost of the baskets. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Leaman, Hendrick, and Weaver voted affirmatively.
UNITED WAY-JOHN CLARK: Mr. Clark reminded Town Council that a brochure for the United Way Campaign had been placed at their seats on October 26, 2009. He stated that the Town of Marion contributed $1,000 to the United Way last year. He stated that if any member of Town Council would like to make a donation, they can designate that it be applied to the Town’s campaign.
SCBAS FOR FIRE DEPARTMENT: Mr. Clark stated that SCBA units have been ordered.
STREET – “BLIND SPOT” AT THE INTERSECTION OF THE POST OFFICE: Mrs. Hale reported a “blind spot” at the intersection of the Post Office. She had discussed the matter with Mr. Hicks and he will check the visibility at the intersection.
ALBANO FAMILY TRADGEDY: Dr. Gates asked that Council keep the Albano family in their prayers. Mike and Pat Albano’s son, Eric, was killed in an accident on November 1, 2009. Dr. Gates stated that Eric Albano had a huge impact on a the lives of many of Marion’s youth. He was a graduate of MSHS. Coach He served in various capacities as player, assistant Coach and Coach of the soccer team. “Coach Bano” will be missed by our community and especially it’s youth.
FIREMEN COMMENDED: Mayor Helms advised that a letter was received from the Virginia State Police commending Firefighters Tracy Sledd, Matthew May and Brett Miller for the assistance they provided to the bomb technicians during the 2009 Bomb In-Service School at Hungry Mother State Park.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF SMYTH COUNTY ANNUAL DINNER: The Annual Chamber of Commerce Dinner will be held on Thursday, November 19, at the General Francis Marion Hotel. Guest speaker will be Joe Tennis. Council members were urged to contact the Town Clerk if they plan to attend.
HALLOWEEN EVENTS: Mr. Heath reported that the Halloween events were well attended. The Friday night event was attended by approximately 200 people with 800 children trick-or-treating on Main Street on Saturday morning.
CHRISTMAS PARADE: Mr. Heath asked for nominations for the Grand Marshall for the Christmas Parade. The parade will be held on November 22 at 3 p.m. Mrs. Jennings nominated Neville Mozingo. Mr. Weaver seconded the motion and Council approved by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES. The appointment is contingent upon Rev. Mozingo’s agreement to serve as Grand Marshall.
CLOSED SESSION – JUSTIFICATION: CODE OF VIRGINIA, 1950, AS AMENDED, SECTION 2.2-3711 (A7) & (A1) Discussion of Police Personnel and Appointment of Police Public Information Officer and legal advice: Mrs. Jennings moved that Council enter into Closed Session to discuss police personnel, the appointment of Police Public Information Officer and obtain legal advice. Mrs. Hale seconded the motion, Council approved the same by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES. Mrs. Jennings moved that Town Council return to Open Session and that it be known that only those matters exempted from Open Session and identified in the motion were discussed during the Closed Session. Mr. Weaver seconded the motion. Council approved the same by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Weaver and Hendrick voted affirmatively.
POLICE PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER: Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mr. Weaver and vote of 5 AYES and 1 NOE (Mrs. Jennings) Council decided to add Police Public Information Officer to the Director of Community and Economic Development/Director of Public Information and Press Relations Ken Heath. It was further moved that when serving as the Police Public Information Officer, Mr. Heath will work under the supervision and with approval of the Police Chief or his/her designee.
CLOSED SESSION – JUSTIRICATION: CODE OF VIRGINIA, 1950, AS AMENDED, SECTION 2.2-3711 (A1) To Discuss Appointment To Vacancy on Town Council due to the death of Councilman Warren: Mrs. Jennings moved that Town Council enter into Closed Session to discuss the appointment of someone to fill the unexpired term of Mark F. Warren. Mrs. Hale seconded the motion. Council approved the same by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES. Mrs. Jennings moved that Council return to Open Session and that it be known that only those matters exempted from Open Session and identified in the motion were discussed during the Closed Session. Mrs. Hale seconded the motion. Council approved the same by a vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Weaver and Hendrick voted affirmatively.
APPOINTMENT TO MARION TOWN COUNCIL TO FILL THE UNEXPIRED TERM OF COUNCILMAN MARK F. WARREN: Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mrs. Hale and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, Buford C. Cregger was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Mark F. Warren. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Leaman, Weaver and Hendrick voted affirmatively.
Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 6 AYES and 0 NOES, the meeting was adjourned.