- Published on Wednesday, 05 December 2012 12:05
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Last year the town received a planning grant of $35,000 to pay for Lands Studio to organize meetings, studies and complete upgrades to the Comprehensive Plan as well as draft an application for a $750,000 Revitalization Grant which the town did not receive.
Town Manager Val Foulds reported that Lands Studio will continue to work with the town to resubmit the Revitalization Block Grant Application for $12,800, but the town will have to bear the cost.
Ham said, “We’ve invested enough money so far that another twelve grand, if we can get the grant through next year, would be money well spent.”
Foulds also appealed to the town council to consider funding a generator for the high school.
Installing a permanent automatic generator in the high school would allow the town to continue to utilize the building as an emergency shelter and allow the town to apply for Red Cross certification.
The council was presented a cost estimate from PSP Power Solutions out of Manassas, to install a generator and a list of installation chores that Public Works would perform.
Foulds, who has been employed by the town for seven years, said this is the third estimate that Public Works Director Rob Murphy has done and the big issue is the cost is not getting any cheaper.
The proposed 350 kilowatt generator would be installed permanently and payments for a 60 month lease would cost $3,460.33 a month. A 24 month lease would cost $7,791.80 per month.
Chairman Gary Seeber told the council they needed to pick a date when non-profits will have to start paying for water and sewer.
Seeber discussed earlier in the year that the town needs to bill non-profit organizations for water and sewer in order to preserve the town’s credit for borrowing. If the town doesn’t start charging for this service it could affect state funding.
Seeber tried to establish a start date to begin billing non-profits during last week’s committee meetings and wants to start notifying non-profits in order to prepare an ordinance and advertise for a public hearing.
Mayor Fred Rummage asked Seeber if he knew how many non-profits would be billed. Seeber estimated it would total around twenty grand saying, “For twenty grand a year, we will aggravate fifty percent of the population.”
Seeber explained, “However, based on recent discussions, in the state of Virginia for us to qualify for grants and loans for our water and sewer system, we are not supposed to give non-profits a free ride.”
Seeber recommends putting the subject on the agenda for the February regular meeting.
Chief Financial Officer Joan Grant informed the committee that these non-profits are not on the books as accounts and that procedure for new accounts involves installing a water meter. Grant inquired if that process would be followed in these new accounts.
The committee has instructed Foulds that meters will not be installed at this time and all non-profits will be billed a regular fee.
Seeber instructed Grant to draft a letter to non-profits stating that they will be billed for water and sewer beginning on March 1, 2013.
Seeber inquired, “If a church has a separate living quarters or a thrift store with plumbing would they be billed for each location?”
Grant said, “Under the current conditions, yes.”
Seeber stated that these conditions need to be stated in the letter.
Streets and Roads
Colonial Beach has now taken over the maintenance of all roads in town, except for Colonial Ave. Colonial Beach will hold a public hearing to transfer the collection of fees previously due to VDOT for certain activities such as street connections, creating entrances, temporary construction entrances etc., to Colonial Beach.
There will be a permit fee in the amount of $100, in addition to the cost of the applicable permits to pay for engineers fees.
Foulds explained that in the past in some instances an engineer’s review was needed. The $100 dollar application fee would cover that expense.
Committee member Jim Chiarello noted that some fees are as low as $10 and expressed that a hundred dollar application fee is in excess. Seeber agreed and instructed Foulds to change the application fee requirement to state, “The application fee will not exceed $100 or the cost of the permit fee.”
All changes will still be subject to VDOT standards.
Committee Chairman Burkett Lyburn and Tommy Edwards gave some sound advice for holiday safety.
First Lyburn warns citizens not to make change for people. He explained that around the holidays a lot of counterfeiters will use this trick to steal money. Virginia law requires cashiers to immediately report any counterfeit money to police.
Tommy Edwards discussed fire safety measures that could save lives during the holidays. Ewards recommends safe handling of kerosene heaters, warning they should be removed from the house during refilling and should not be left on unattended.
Edwards also warns that deep frying turkeys should never be done inside the home. This type of cooking should be done outside in a clear area and precautions should be taken in case of a fire.
Never put water on a grease fire. Putting water on a grease fire can splash and spread flames for several feet away from the cooking source and could cause serious injury or death. Consult the fire department for proper handling of grease fires before you cook.
Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Christmas lights can fray over time and should be examined closely before putting up. Edwards advises turning off Christmas lights at night and before leaving your home. Edwards also reminds citizens to check the water level of live trees frequently to avoid drying and possible fires.
Incoming Councilwoman Wanda Goforth asked Committee Chair Tim Curtin, why several of the Christmas lights were not working. Curtin explained that a large truck coming into town hit several lights. The town is expected to repair them as soon as possible.
Val Foulds thanked Luke Sydnor, Dianne Pearson and several volunteers for their work replacing bulbs and wires in order to put up the lights along Colonial and Washington.
Goforth also credited Town Clerk Kathy Flanagan for spearheading a program to recognize volunteers. “Every volunteer needs to be recognized. Without the volunteers in this town there would be a lot of things that do not get done.”
Curtin announced that the Historical Society will host a Christmas Lights Tour on Saturday, Dec. 8. Interested parties can meet at the museum on Washington and Hawthorne at 5:30 p.m. for light refreshments. The trolley will take people around to lighted homes. The fee is $15 for non members, $12 if you join the Historical Society.
Curtin reported that he is trying to determine what is rumor and what is fact concerning the sale of the Beach Inn located at the end of Colonial Ave. near the river.
Ham reported that the managing company, Maren Management, has a new manager. Ham also reported that an unnamed woman has made an offer for the hotel and plans to put a significant amount of money into the building to renovate it. Ham has been unable to catch up to her. Ham said she plans to return in a week to get acquainted with officials and other business owners.