- Published on Wednesday, 16 January 2013 11:39
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The new council wasted no time making significant changes to procedures for council meetings. Mayor Mike Ham allowed speakers more time at the podium and even allowed one speaker to identify various citizens by name, some the speaker complimented and others the speaker openly attacked, an activity that had been prohibited by former Mayor Fred Rummage. Later Ham commented, “That’s the price we pay for freedom of speech.”
At the Jan. 10 council meeting the first order of business was to perform organizational tasks such adoption of the bylaws, establishment of meeting dates for council meetings and council work sessions as well as appoint a new vice mayor.
The council made significant changes to the bylaws.
The prayer has been removed from the agenda. At Mayor Mike Ham’s suggestion, the prayer has been removed from the agenda. Ham explained that he will now call the meetings to order first, then ask audience members if they have any objection to saying the prayer. If no objection is given the prayer will be said.
Work sessions will replace committee meetings. Rather than conduct committee meetings, the council will hold one work session. Mayor Ham and the council have assigned one council member to act as the point of contact and advocate for the following areas; Gary Seeber for public works, Jim Chiarello for administration, Wanda Goforth for finance, Tim Curtin for economic development and Tommy Edwards for public safety.
Ham explained that if a resident contacts a member of council on any issue they can now refer the citizen to the member of council that is specializing in that area. Ham hopes this will cut down on confusion and help solve citizen’s issues in a more timely and effective manner.
Council meetings will be held the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. and work session will be held the fourth Thursday of each month at 4:30 p.m.
A recent special election put a little confusion on the matter of appointing a vice mayor. Ham said, “Historically in the past, the person that got the highest number of votes among the three council members running in the most recent general election was recommended by the mayor to be vice mayor.” Ham did recognize that Jim Chiarello received the highest number of votes in his special election, where he ran unopposed to fill the seat he was appointed to. The council deliberated on the issue of whether to include the special election but ultimately decided to keep with tradition and appointed Tommy Edwards who received the most votes in the general election.
Ham suggested appointing a new vice mayor each year based on highest votes and the council accepted the idea with no objections.
Leasing of 700 Colonial Ave.
The council held a public hearing to hear public comment regarding the leasing of part of 700 Colonial Ave. to G. L. Howard Inc. The company will rent office space of $750 per month.
G.L. Howard, Inc has been hired by the town to perform sanitary sewer improvements also known as Phase III improvements to the town’s sanitary sewer system in the Classic Shores Subdivision. The project will cost $3,236,884.00
The company will lease the building to the company to avoid having a construction trailer in the roadway. A company office located within the town will also benefit residents who have questions or concerns regarding the work and will eliminate the need for residents to question workers while performing repairs.
There were no public comments on the matter but councilmen Jim Chiarello and Gary Seeber had a lengthy discussion concerning what should be expected of the company leasing the building.
Chiarello asked if there was any way the town could negotiate with the company on improvements.
Foulds told the council that the company did plan to perform some interior upgrades.
Chiarello also wanted to know if the agreement was a triple net lease; a lease agreement on a property where the tenant or lessee agrees to pay all real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance (the three “Nets”) on the property in addition to any normal fees that are expected under the agreement (rent, premises utilities, etc.).
Erard explained the terms of the lease to Chiarello saying that there is a potential gray area and said, “If you would like that more delineated, I would be happy to do so.”
Erard explained, “The tenants obligations are to comply with all laws, keep the premises clean and safe, comply with all zoning laws, put out all the trash, go by all the rules and regulations, and give us prompt notice of any maintenance items so that necessary repairs can be made in a timely manner.
Our obligation specified under the agreement are that we will maintain the parking lot with snow removal.”
Chiarello felt that if they are bringing heavy equipment, they need to be held accountable for the roads and curbing on the property. Chiarello also suggested they put up a fence to screen out their activities and requested the money collected from rent be earmarked for upgrades.
Seeber did agree with Chiarello’s idea to earmark the rent collected for future upgrades to the building, but added that it could also be used to fund the cost of tearing it down.
Seeber said he didn’t mind the town asking them for these conditions but was concerned that it may delay the lease of the building and the start of the project since the company wanted to move in by the January 13.
Erard suggested the lease be amended to add a provision that heavy equipment is not to be visible to the street, the tenant is to ensure that there is no damage to the road and the curbing from heavy equipment and the town request that the tenant perform landscaping in front.
Ham suggested the council move forward on the resolution which authorizes the town manager to negotiate the lease. Ham said, “I hate to see us delay the start of this and have the contractor say never mind, I’ll just bring the trailers in and we get nothing out of the building,” Ham added, “If nothing else we are getting $9,000 out of this.”
The resolution was approved with the amendments suggested by Erard and it was agreed that Foulds would negotiate with the company for landscaping improvements.
The council passed an ordinance to establish a fee system that mirrors the current fees charged by VDOT.
Since the town has taken over maintenance of all secondary roads in Colonial Beach the town must establish legislation to allow them to collect customary permit fees previously charged by VDOT to residents and contractors who wish to do work pertaining to the streets within the town.
The council voted unanimously to authorize the Chamber of Commerce to sign and enter into a contract with Upstate Watercraft Promotions Inc. to host the 2013 Jet Ski Event in Colonial Beach next summer.
The chamber has applied for their special event permit and the races are scheduled to be held on 19-21 of July.