Meeting Minutes March 25th 2010

Stanley Town Council

Workshop

March 25, 2010

Mayor Purdham called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm with the following members present, Councilman Richard Dorraugh, Mike Knight, Bruce Stoneberger, and Councilwoman Martha Graves. Also present were Town Manager Terry A. Pettit, Assistant Manager/Treasurer Elaine Knight, Public Works Forman Ronnie McCoy, Police Chief Timmy Foster, Town Accountant Leon Stout and citizen’s Mike Uram and Steve Thomas.  

Town Manager Terry Pettit then presented a rough draft of the proposed 2010-2011 budget and discussion was held on what cuts, if any, would be possible. Mr. Pettit and the council reviewed each department starting with the administrative and ending with the water department.

Under Administrative Department Councilwoman Graves inquired if we had received any word on the retirement rate for this year and Mr. Pettit noted not at this time.  Councilman Rickard inquired why vehicle fuel was down and Mr. Pettit stated that administrative was limiting the use of vehicle as little as possible.  Councilman Knight questioned the status of the bulk mail issue and the cost of the audit. Mr. Pettit, Mayor Purdham and Council Graves explained both in detail.  Councilwoman Graves reminded everyone that the cost of the software agreement would have to be added to the budget.  Councilman Knight asked if it would be possible to have an agreement where the town was only charged when they called for assistance but it was explained that they do not offer that type of service. Councilman Knight asked what vehicle was covered under Administrative and Mr. Pettit explained that the town manger’s vehicle was the only one. Councilwoman Graves requested a breakdown of the donations by the next budget meeting.

Under Police Department Councilwoman Graves asked Chief Foster to explain some of the overtime cost. She also stated that the council may have look into the possibility of reducing the Holiday pay. Councilman Stoneberger asked Chief Foster if there was any possibility of reducing the rent cost if council decides to use the public works department for additional space. Chief Foster stated that he is in need of additional room and that cost would not be less.  Mayor Purdham inquired if we had to show library expenses in the budget and Mr. Pettit explained that any expenditure and revenue had to be included in the budget even though funding for the library itself was coming from another account.        

Under Streets, Mr. Pettit explained a large cost goes to street repair from water repairs and meeting VDOT regulations. Councilman Knight inquired what parking lot maintenance was and Mr. McCoy stated that it was cost of maintaining the gravel lot off

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Town Council Workshop – cont. 

of East Main Street.  Mr. Pettit advised council on a 2.8% increase in the cost of picking up trash and Councilman Knight asked if we had ever looked into the possibility of going back to picking our on trash.  Lengthy discussion was on held on the possibility of the town picking its on trash and it was decided that Councilman Knight, Mr. Pettit and Mr. McCoy would conduct a study and make a report to the council.  Councilman asked what the public works department trash truck was used for.  Mr. McCoy explained that the truck was used every week to pick up trash cans and trash at all the Town parks not picked up by Waste Management.

Mayor Purdham made a request that $500.00 be placed in the budget for a PA system for council meetings.

Under Parks and Recreation, Mr. Pettit explained to council how the severe winter has damaged the pool. Pictures were presented showing the damage and Mr. Pettit explained how it would have to be repaired before it could open this season.  Mr. Pettit also explained to the Council about the requirements that have been attached to the business license application for the two cottages at the park. Councilman Stoneberger brought up the issue about how much more money would be allocated to both cottages before the council realizes that they are returning a profit.  A long discussion was held on the present status and history of the cottages with comments from the entire council and mayor on how to promote them more. Mayor Purdham commented that it was his opinion the cottages should be part of the Parks and Recreation budget but a separate department.  Councilman Knight stated he felt that we need to do more to promote both cottages such as offering specials that offer maybe a catered meal, bottle of wine, etc.  Mayor Purdham directed the recreation committee to meet and review everything that was discussed.

Mr. Pettit then discussed the sewer budget and even though several of the loans will be paid off he reminded everyone of the upcoming Aylor Grubbs Avenue sewer project. Councilman Knight asked what the Aylor Grubbs Avenue project was and were the bids being advertised. Mr. Pettit explained what the project was and how it was being advertised. Councilman Rickard asked what the pump repair was at the wastewater plant and Mr. McCoy explained what was wrong with the pump and why it had to be replaced.  Councilman Stoneberger inquired the possibility if doing away with some the landline phones since most of the departments had cell phones. Mr. Pettit remarked that would not be an option due the fact that the town office, wastewater plant and other areas in town Sprint still did not have cell phone service.  Councilman Rickard asked the condition of the backhoe and skid loader and Mr. McCoy stated that the backhoe was starting to show it age but the skidloader was still in good shape.     

Mr. Pettit then discussed the final department, water and the only CIP project would be increasing the water line on Judy Lane. The project includes installing approximately

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Town Council Workshop – Cont.

1000 feet of eight inch water line on Judy Lane to replace a two inch water line and improve water pressure. Councilman Knight requested that if the budget is improved the residents that are having pressure problems be notified of the project.

Mayor Purdham asked if the revenue figures were current or did it include any increases. Mr. Pettit stated that the budget before them was current revenue and no increases had been added. Mr. Pettit also remarked that the current budget did not include nearly $50,000.00 in engineer expenses to Patton, Harris and Rust for their work on the stimulus project. Councilwoman Graves requested the amount still owed to Patton, Harris and Rust and Mr. Stout stated $20,000.00.

Mr. Knight brought up the issue had there ever been anytime in town history were there was more than ample expenditures to purchase equipment and pay bills. Councilwoman Graves stated that since the town installed the sewer system it has always been difficult to keep expenditures less than revenue coming in. Councilman Rickard stated that this is why we must increase taxes whenever the need justifies it.  Councilwoman disagreed and stated that we must make cuts however; nobody was able to come up with line items that could be cut.  Councilman Knight also brought up the issue of additional revenue areas that would help offset some of the expenditures. Mr. Pettit stated that one of the options this year would be to implement a cigarette tax. Councilman Knight suggested that we operate some type of food booth at the skate park. Mrs. Knight made the remark that tax rates, sewer and water rates should be increased small amounts each year to keep up with mandatory expenditures.  Councilman Stoneberger suggested that we look at somehow increasing revenue from the public works department, the two cottages and the upstairs of the pool. Mrs. Knight stated that one problem with renting the upstairs was the lack of air conditioning.  Councilman Knight stated he would like to see a cost study done on the possibility of adding air conditioning to the upstairs. He also stated that the upstairs needs to be marketed more. Mayor Purdham remarked that even if the town doubled everyone’s taxes, it would only be eight (8) percent of the town’s budget. What is hurting the budget is the cost of maintaining the utilities and it would be justified to put the budget increases on those utilities. Mayor Purdham stated that nobody is going to like it but at least it could be explained.  Mr. Pettit stated that it would not be fair to pass on the estimated $12,000.00 decrease in tax revenue on utilities. Mayor Purdham agreed that the tax rate should be adjusted to offset the loss that would be caused by assessment.

In closing discussion on the budget, Councilwoman Graves requested a breakdown

on the police grants. 

Mr. Pettit then brought two issues that involve campers. The first issue involved a camper located on the property of Carolyn Dinges, 230 Al Good Drive. The house burned several months ago and the occupants are living in the front yard of the house

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Town Council Workshop – Cont.

Town code only allows a camper to be used for this purpose for a period of ninety (90) days and the occupant has exceeded the time period. Mr. Pettit stated that he has received several complaints about the camper and it is in violation of town code. Mr. Pettit advised that he did meet with Ms. Dinges and she stated that she would be there to mid July.  Councilman Rickard stated the Town has been lenient but due to the fact she in violation it should be moved. Town council advised Mr. Pettit to send her a notice that the trailer must be moved within thirty (30) days.

The second issue involving a camper is located at 1085  East Main Street. Mr. Gerald Hudak is living in a camper on property owned by Doc Bosley. This person is living on the property because he has no home or does not any property. Both Mr. Pettit and the council have received complaints on the issue.  Council advised Mr. Pettit to notify Mr. Bosley the camper must be moved.

Mr. Pettit then brought up the improvements that have been made to the public works department and that a lot more work is needed. The remodeling has made a huge improvement to the appearance of the building and Mr. Pettit would like to continue by repairing the scoffit and guttering. 

Recreation Director Chuck Short arrived at the meeting at 9:20 pm.       

Discussion was held on the large amount of kitchen equipment and other items in the upper bays of the public works department. Mr. Short explained that is was originally going to be used for a camp store that never materialized. Council advised Mr. Short to look into what was absolutely needed and what could be sold at an auction.   

Mr. Pettit then explained how he would like to use the public works apartment for a meeting room and possible office for the Public Works Foreman and Recreation Director.  It is almost impossible to conduct business meetings with the office activity going on at the office. Councilman Rickard remarked that it would be a good use of the building. Councilman Knight stated that his only problem with using the apartment for the requested use was the loss of revenue. Mr. Knight was concerned with how the water problem at the apartment was handled as well as the previous renters of the two cottages. Councilman Rickard made the recommendation that we use it as recommended by the Town Manager and it will give us a chance to better ourselves. Councilwoman Graves stated she could see both sides of the issue and understood the need to have somewhere to meet but on the other hand did not want to see the place not taken care of. Councilman Knight suggested using the upstairs of the pool as a meeting place but there would be interference with pool activities. Councilman Dorraugh stated that Mr. Pettit had a good idea if it was done right. Councilman Stoneberger stated that he liked the idea more since some of the cost would be offset by decrease in one employee dropping insurance.  Chief Foster stated that he needed more space for files, for a meeting room and for an interview room.  It was the consensus of the   

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Town Council Workshop – Cont.

council to allow Mr. Pettit to convert the apartment into a meeting room.

Mr. Pettit then brought up for discussion the skatepark and that it cannot be policed. Kids are violating nearly every rule and are pretty much on their own. Councilman Knight inquired if there was still a skatepark committee and had anybody been in touch with him and the committee to help police the park.  Mr. McCoy, Mrs. Knight, Mr. Short and Chief Foster all expressed their views on the problems at the skatepark.  Discussion was held on the possibility of placing a fence around the park but that would not solve the violation issue.  Councilman Knight asked Chief Foster if tickets could be written and he advised that under the present town code they could not. The police department can serve no trespassing notices on those not obeying the rules but they are answering so many calls they do not have time to patrol the skatepark. Mayor Purdham also brought up the concern about vandals doing damage to the playground that will soon be built if these issues are not resolved.  Mayor Purdham stated that he would he would like to see Chief Foster look into the possibility of starting an auxiliary force that may be able to help is with these problems.  Mr. Short stated that other towns deal with this problem and there had to be a solution.

Mr. Pettit then brought up for discussion the possibility of hiring an enforcement officer. Mr. Pettit stated that there a lot of citizens violating town ordinances and once the Town Manger informs the property owner of the violation it is turned over to the police department for enforcement. The problem is that the police department does not have time to enforce the ordinance. It was the recommendation of Councilman Knight that we change the ordinances so that this proposed the rules at the skatepark. Councilman Stoneberger also remarked that the fire lane at the Food Lion Shopping Center also needs to be enforced.  Mayor Purdham stated that the need had been shown for the officer and directed Mr. Pettit and Chief Foster to come up with the revenue so that the position could be added to the budget

With no more discussion Town Council went into closed session for the purpose of both personnel and legal with the following motion.

Motion was made by Martha Graves, seconded by Mike Knight at 10:10 p.m. that the Town Council convene in a closed session for the discussion of personal matters, as authorized by Virginia Code 2.2-3711, Subsection A-1. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.  

Motion was made at 10:45 pm by Martha Graves, seconded by Leon Rickard that the town council leave the closed meeting and return to open meeting. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.   

Mayor Purdam then allowed public comment and Mike Uram spoke requested that the town council look into the possibility of adopting a cigarette and sugar tax that would help off set some of the other proposed increases in tax rates and utility fees.

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Town Council Workshop – Cont.

With no other business, motion was made at 10:50 pm by Leon Rickard, seconded by

Bruce Stoneberger to adjourn meeting. Passed Unanimously.

__________________________                                      __________________________

Douglas L. Purdham, Mayor                                              Terry A. Pettit, Acting Secretary