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Halifax To Host Earth Day Celebration

Erin Shaughnessy has hit the ground running in her new position as events coordinator for the Town of Halifax with plans for a big Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 24.

Shaughnessy explained what she is proposing for the event during Halifax Town Council’s work session Wednesday morning in Halifax Town Hall.

She said she is partnering for the Earth Day celebration with the Halifax County Improvement Council and the Convergence Art Guild.

The event will be held at the Halifax Farmers Market from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. with various community groups and individuals participating in activities centered around the Earth Day theme of creating a global green economy.

Shaughnessy said she already has volunteers “up and ready to go” for a 5K walk-run event for that day. Town Manager Carl Espy said Halifax Police Chief David Martin had previously designed a route for such an event, but the town would have to get clearance from VDOT on the route.

The Convergence Art Guild will create an art form that day made of recycled materials that will be provided by the improvement council and community members who wish to donate interesting materials. The guild will work on its creation throughout the day using a number of methods to assemble its work of art.

Also, improvement council and art guild members will help the kids make crafts from recycled materials, and entries from the fourth grade poster contest, “Dare to be Clean, Dare to be Green,” will be displayed.

Local businesses and farmers will have an opportunity to promote themselves and their goods, encouraging the public to “buy local” and stimulate the economy of the town, Shaughnessy said.

“I would like to raise public awareness of this national holiday, as well as demonstrate how each of us can help take responsibility for our actions at home and here in town,” she explained.

In other business, Business Development Committee Chairman Bill Confroy asked Espy to update council members on the town’s Web page. Espy said the basic template is complete, and they are revising the architecture of the site. Also, more content is currently being added. Confroy said he would like to see more focus on the Town of Halifax.

“The more concise it is about the town, it makes it easier for us to promote the town as an entity unto itself,” Confroy said. “But it looks good.”

Under the Finance Committee portion of the work session, Espy updated council members on the February finance report. Espy said business license applications have been sent out to town businesses. Under expenses, the town manager said total general expenses for all departments are at roughly 64 percent. He also said cash flow is good.

Espy said due to a shortfall in stimulus funds to the state, the town would not receive any additional funding from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. The town manager said other grant opportunities could be available to help with efficiency upgrades to Halifax Town Hall. He said all upgrades to the building would cost approximately $300,000. The new heating system installed this winter cost $8,100.

Finance Committee Chairman Dick Moore reviewed the budget schedule with fellow council members. The first reading of the budget is scheduled for the May 11 council meeting, and the final budget is slated for approval at the June 8 meeting.

Moore also said the $20 application fee for the 2010 business license has been eliminated. Business owners will pay only for the license itself. “We’re not charging the fee to fill out the license form,” Moore said. “This should be of some help to the merchants.”

Stephen Gay, CPA with Harris, Harvey and Neal, reviewed the fiscal year 2008-2009 annual report with the council members present at Wednesday’s meeting.

Under the Current Affairs portion of the work session, Chairman Jack Dunavant praised Espy for the letter sent to Supervisor Doug Bowman and County Administrator George Nester relative to the town’s request that the board of supervisors not make a commitment with Halifax Dixie Youth Baseball for the use of the former Halifax Elementary School property beyond the upcoming 2010 season.

Dunavant reminded council of the community information meeting on the operation of golf carts in the town. The information meeting is scheduled as part of the March 24 meeting of the town planning commission.

Council also discussed the Banister River Gateway Project kick-off meeting held last month in town hall. Espy said they have prepared a request for proposal for engineering design services for the project, and a pre-construction meeting with the contractor would be set for later this month.

Espy said construction on the new permanent bridge probably would begin in April, and VDOT Residency Administrator Joe Barkley suggested a ribbon cutting ceremony at the onset of construction.

Council also discussed Dunavant’s request last September to VDOT to abandon the old King’s Bridge right-of-way that runs through his property along Route 360 north of Halifax. Dunavant is requesting the town declare that it has no interest in the right-of-way except for any portion that would become part of the proposed recreational wayside near the new bridge. The county also must declare it has no need for that right-of-way, said Mayor Leon Plaster.

Dunavant also reminded council members of the Uranium Mining Symposium set for March 11 in Richmond. Espy updated council on the Halifax Downtown Revitalization/Town of Halifax Telecommunications Project. He said they have received most of the responses from property owners regarding easements for Dominion Virginia Power’s relocation of utility poles and wiring.
Under old business, Dunavant discussed recycling, saying some commercial businesses need to be reminded to recycle materials such as cardboard and glass.

Confroy said the General Assembly is drafting legislation relative to bow hunting in an urban area, and town officials need to watch the progression of that legislation through the General Assembly.

Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Halifax Town Hall.