Minutes of a regular meeting of the Town Council of the Town of Marion held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building on December 7, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
PRESENT: Mayor David Helms; Dr. James Gates, Mrs. Suzanne Jennings, Mrs. Jane Hale, Messrs Mel Leaman, Bill Weaver, Eugene Hendrick and Buford Cregger, Council Members; Town Manager John E. B. Clark, Jr.; Town Attorney Mark Fenyk; Police Chief Michael Roberts; Town Clerk/Director of Finance Dixie Sheets.
INVOCATION/PLEDGE TO THE FLAG: Mr. Weaver rendered the invocation. Mayor Helms led the Pledge to the Flag.
VISITORS: Tom Austin, Jeff Spickard, Sarah Kegley, Hunter Trivette, Zeb Rhodes, Nick Groseclose, Tanner Glenn, Miles Untiedt, Teresa Harless, Jack Talley, Roger Catarino, Chris Gilley
MINUTES: Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mrs. Hale, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the minutes of the meeting conducted on November 16, 2009 were approved as written and distributed. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Hendrick, Leaman, Weaver and Cregger voted affirmatively.
WRESTLING TOURNAMANT – Mr. Hunter Trivette: MSHS Wrestling Coach Hunter Trivette and three (3) of the MSHS Wrestling Team Captains, Zeb Rhodes, Nick Groseclose and Tanner Glenn were in attendance to present the Town with a replica of the Championship belt for the MSHS Brutal Clash Wrestling Tournament to be held on December 18 and 19 in Marion. The Tournament will include 11 teams from out of state, including Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Coach Trivette informed Council that the Tournament is becoming one of the premier high school wrestling tournaments in the nation. He expressed the Team’s appreciation to the Town for their continued support.
REPORT ON PRATER LANE RAILROAD CROSSING BIDS: Mr. Clark reported the following bids were received and opened on November 19, 2009: 1) DLB, Inc. of Galax = $732,351.00; 2) Corte Construction of Bluefield = $745,000.00 and 3) W-L Construction, Inc. of Chilhowie = $468,222.00. The apparent low bidder was W-L Construction, Inc. The State has $257,914 set aside for this project. $210,308.00 remains unfunded at this time. Mr. Clark stated that the Town is unwilling to invest more money into this project. He has been in contact with VDOT and expects a response from them concerning the shortfall.
TOBACCO COMMISSION APPLICATION AND ASSURANCES: The Town has applied to the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund in the amount of $170,000 to benefit First Fruits Beverage Company, LLC of 211 Washington Avenue. The grant is based on job creation. First Fruits anticipates creation of 51 jobs within a three (3) year period. Town Attorney Mark Fenyk had concerns that a provision in the Performance Agreement stated that if the goals of the team are not met or they are no longer in business, the Town would be responsible to pay back a portion, up to the full amount of the grant. Fresh Fruits has offered a boiler that cleans the bottles and another piece of the equipment as collateral. The value of the equipment is $166,285.
First Fruits has expended in excess of $4 million dollars to get the business up and running. They will be a complete “green” facility. Their goal is to begin bottling shortly after January 1, 2010. Dr. Gates moved for approval of the application subject to the executed Performance Agreement by Fresh Fruits. Mrs. Jennings seconded the motion. Council approved the same by a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Hale, Messrs Hendrick, Leaman, Weaver and Cregger voted affirmatively.
Dr. Gates moved to authorize the Mayor and Town Clerk to sign the Agreement between First Fruits and the Town of Marion concerning the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund Performance Agreement. One copy of the document will be forwarded to the State Corporation Commission and one to the Clerk of Circuit Court. Mrs. Jennings seconded the motion. Council approved the same unanimously.
APPROVAL OF BIDS ON OLD SCHOOL PROJECT– Community Development Director/Spectrum Design: Mr. Heath requested that the Town Council approve the contract, in the amount of $69,500 for architectural fees, plus $3000 for travel/shipping/printing/copying, with Spectrum Design . Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mrs. Hale, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the contract with Spectrum Design was accepted. Dr. Gates. Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Leaman, Hendrick, Weaver and Cregger voted affirmatively.
Contract #1, in the amount of $56,180, from Waco was presented for consideration. Mr. Fenyk is currently reviewing this document. Mr. Hendrick moved that the contract be accepted, pending review and approval of the Town Attorney. Mrs. Jennings seconded the motion. Council approved the same by vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Leaman, Hendrick, Weaver and Cregger voted affirmatively.
The low bid for Contract II was $148,150 by Branson Construction. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Dr. Gates and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, Contract # 2 was awarded to Branson Construction for façade and blight (exterior work only). Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Cregger, Hendrick, Leaman and Weaver voted affirmatively.
The low bid for Contract III was $98,305 by Improvements Unlimited, LLC. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mrs. Hale and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, Improvements Unlimited was awarded contract # 3 for façade improvements. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Cregger, Hendrick, Leaman and Weaver voted affirmatively.
The low bid for Contract IV was Inland Construction in the amount of $114,000. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mrs. Hale and vote of 7 AYES and 0 N0ES, Inland Construction was awarded Contract #4 for the Streetscape. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Hendrick, Leaman, Weaver and Cregger voted affirmatively.
Mr. Heath will travel to the Tobacco Commission to submit the application.
TOBACCO COMMISSION – FARMER’S MARKET GRANT: Mr. Heath advised that he has received information that the Tobacco Commission will apparently partially fund construction of rest rooms and a stage area for the Farmer’s Market. He added that Rural Development will match these funds.
APPROVAL OF PAY REQUEST # 2 ON SOUTH MAIN STREET WATER LINE: Mr. Jeff Spickard reported that the project is 89% complete. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Weaver, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, payment # 2 for the South Main Street Water Line Project, in the amount of $100,047.00, was approved. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Hendrick, Leaman, Weaver and Cregger voted affirmatively. This project is funding thru the Department of Health.
Mr. Cregger stated that South Main Street is very rough after paving. Mr. Clark advised that this will be discussed with the contractor. It was further noted that the Town holds a performance bond on the contractor.
REPORT FROM MATTERN AND CRAIG ON DAMAGE TO EAST CHILHOWIE STREET: This item was continued.
ADOPTION OF PROJECT BUDGET, PROGRAM DESIGN, PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN, PROGRAM INCOME PLAN, REHABILITATION SPECIALIST AGREEMENT, MOUNT ROGERS ADMINISTRATION AGREEMENT FOR PEARL AVENUE/BUCHANAN STREET – CDBG PROJECT: Ms. Chris Gilley, with MRPDC, requested approval of the afore mentioned documents. The budget was discussed. Upon motion of Dr. Gates, seconded by Mr. Leaman and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the budget was approved in the amount of $751,190 over two (2) years. The Town’s share of the project is $36,000. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Cregger, Hendrick, Leaman and Weaver voted affirmatively.
Mr. Leaman moved that all other documents related to the Pearl Avenue/Buchanan Street Rehabilitation Project and identified above be approved. Mrs. Jennings seconded the motion. Council approved the same unanimously, with several typographical corrections. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Leaman, Hendrick, Weaver and Cregger voted affirmatively.
In a related matter, at the suggestion of Mr. Fenyk, Mr. Leaman moved to add Chris Gilley as a signer on the documents, along with Scott Booth. Mr. Weaver seconded the motion. Council approved the same unanimously.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF RETIREMENT OF TOWN CLERK/DIRECTOR OF FINANCE DIXIE O. SHEETS: Mayor Helms advised Town Council that Town Clerk/Director of Finance Dixie Sheets has submitted an application for service retirement to the Virginia Retirement System.
TRANSITION PLANS FOR ABOVE VACANCY: This matter is pending and Town management will work with the Clerk.
FIRE DEPARTMENT CHRISTMAS PARTY: Dr. Gates, several other Council Members, Mr. Clark and Mrs. Susan Clark attended the Fire Department Christmas Party on December 5. Dr. Gates stated that the Department was very appreciative of the Town’s support and it was an enjoyable evening. Mr. Clark expressed the Town’s appreciation for their service.
MARION LIFE SAVING CREW CHRISTMAS PARTY: Ms. Sheets attended the Marion Life Saving Crew Christmas Party on December 5. The MLSC was also most appreciative of the Town’s support. Ms. Sheets extended the Town’s appreciation to the MLSC members and their families for their service to our community.
BURNING BRUSH: Mr. Hendrick informed Town Council that previously he had suggested that the Town not burn brush collected during the last week of the month, but chip the brush. After riding along the collection routes, he suggested that the Town re-educate the citizens on the proper way to align the brush at the curb and the size of the pieces to be collected. Mr. Hendick advised that he has located a company in High Point, NC that manufactures stationary shredders that could be located at the current burn site. A cost estimate for the equipment is $110,000 - $135,000. He has provided this information to the Town. Upon motion of Mr. Leaman, seconded by Mrs. Jennings, and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, this matter was referred to the Sanitation and Equipment Committees for review and recommendation.
NEW YEAR’S EVE DAY OFF: Mayor Helms suggested that as the Town employees were not given a COLA increase this year, that Town Council entertain granting New Year’s Eve as an extra holiday. The added holiday will be for this year only, to express the Town’s appreciation to the employees. Upon motion of Mrs. Jennings, seconded by Mrs. Hale and a vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, Town Council voted to allow the employees New Year’s Eve off. Dr. Gates, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Jennings, Messrs Leaman, Hendrick, Cregger and Weaver voted affirmatively.
TOURISM DIRECTOR RESIGNS: Ms. Barbara DeBord has resigned as Director of Smyth County Tourism Association. Mr. Ron Thomason is filling the position as this time.
JOHNSON CPA: Mr. Fenyk stated that the Town had received a billing statement in the amount of $4,915 for sending required information from their CPA firm for FY 2008 to our current auditors. Another statement was received last week. The Mayor responded, requesting a detailed statement. On December 4, a fax was received revising the amount to $3,500, if paid by December 14. Discussion ensued. Dr. Gates moved that Mr. Fenyk respond to Johnson CPA and that as the Town had paid the fee for the audit and the delay in response by their firm to provide information to the new firm, the Town feels that they do not owe this billing statement. Mr. Leaman seconded the motion. Council approved the same unanimously.
STATEMENT OF ECONOMIC INTEREST: Ms. Sheets advised that members of Town Council, Marion Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals have received the appropriate forms as required by the Commonwealth. These are due to the Town Clerk on or before January 15.
MDRA: Mr. Heath invited members of Town Council to the MDRA Christmas Gathering on December 10 at 6 p.m.
CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING: Mr. Heath informed those in attendance that the Annual Christmas Tree will be lit in front of the Municipal Building on Friday, December 11. WCYB News Celebrity Tara Taylor will assist in lighting the tree.
ART WALK: The final Art Walk for the year 2009 will also be held on December 11.
Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the meeting was adjourned.
Mayor Town Clerk