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No quorum means no meeting for Halifax Council

Halifax Town Council didn’t have a quorum for its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night in Halifax Town Hall, so it had no choice but to cancel the meeting.


Absent were council members Phil Hammond, Bill Confroy and Terrie Lantor.

However, those who did attend – Holt Evans, Jack Dunavant, Tom Brown and Mayor Dick Moore -- proceeded with a committee meetings and work session discussing the details of the grand opening of the new Dollar General Store at the corner of Route 360 and L. P. Bailey Memorial Highway. 

The store opened Thursday, and a grand opening is set for Oct. 20. 

Town Manager Carl Espy said he has not received exact details on the time of the event but will notify council members as soon as he finds out.

Council members also discussed the Virginia Department Criminal Justice Services grant recently awarded to the town for the purchase of a new police car.

The car will be presented to the town during a ceremony to be conducted in Richmond on Oct. 26.

The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services committed available federal funds to a 2013 one-time vehicle grant for Small Law Enforcement Agencies program for the support of criminal justice activities in Virginia.  

The federal grant funds are being used to purchase six, new, fully outfitted standard patrol sedans, which are being awarded to Virginia law enforcement agencies through a competitive, need-based application process.

Halifax, who has 10 or fewer full-time, certified officers, was notified earlier this year it qualified for the grant and would be the lucky recipient of one of the new white, fully-equipped standard patrol cars.

The road-ready vehicle will be detailed as a marked patrol vehicle by the town, which also is responsible for equipment installation and maintenance. 

Town staff said purchasing or leasing a replacement vehicle to begin a proper fleet management system has been a problem for town council over the years due to limited funds.

In previous years, the town was forced to purchase high-mileage used vehicles for the town police department usually resulting in a short in-service life before the next replacement was needed.

In other town business Tuesday night, Espy updated council members on the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police interview and selection timeline for the Halifax police chief position.

The association has reviewed 13 candidates for the position and plans to narrow them to the final five to be reviewed by a panel of police chiefs on the week of Oct. 22.  

The panel then will make recommendations of the top finalists for the mayor and personnel committee to review.

Members attending Tuesday night’s meeting also were updated on the status of the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Industrial Revitalization Fund grant for the Burlington property and the proposal to purchase a portion of the Farmers Market property.

According to Espy, the new owner of the Burlington property is D. H. Griffin, who plans to raze the building in the coming weeks.

The demolition group has received their zoning permit and will tear down the former Burlington Industries plant in the coming month. (See related front page story)

Concerning the Farmers Market purchase proposal, Espy said the non-compete list had been obtained, but he still has not received the dimensional drawing proposal from the developers.

The town manager also updated council members on derelict property notifications explaining 18 notifications have been sent out so far, and another round of five derelict and three nuisance property notifications will go out soon. 

One demolition has taken place in the town, and a second will be taking place very soon, Espy said. He noted property owners are initiating those demolitions.  

The town manager said two property owners have been notified to make necessary improvements.

Council members also reviewed a report from Events Coordinator Susi Robbins who was not present at last night’s work session.

Robbins is in the middle of coordinating two events -- the October Halifest set for Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m at the Halifax Farmers Market and Howl-o-ween Spooktacular set from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Halifest will include live music and food vendors on site. Festivalgoers will have an opportunity to participate in a pumpkin decorating contest and a Zumba dance demonstration. Face painting and craft activities will be available for the children. 

Various art and craft vendors will be onsite along with fresh country sausage and stew. 

Big Cedar Farm will have miniature ponies available for petting, and the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department will have two trucks and their fire prevention demonstration trailer at Halifest.

Howl-o-ween Spooktacular will offer treats, spooky games, a cakewalk and a costume contest.

Both events will be held in downtown Halifax.

Also Tuesday night, Espy updated council members on the Halifax Village Business Association Community clock.

Espy along with Karen Schopen and Marsha Hite met with Halifax County Administrator Jim Halasz to discuss the clock project proposed to be located on county property. 

Scophen and Hite also met with Jerry Epps, a landscaper, who is looking at a preliminary landscaping design for an area in front of the library where the clock will be located.  

Elliott Electric has been contacted to address a power source for the clock, Espy said.

 In other business Tuesday night, Halifax Town Assistant Denise Barksdale updated council on Farmers Market activity that is winding down due to cooler weather. 

The community yard sale held this past weekend at the market had a great turnout, Barksdale said, adding, vendors are staying out longer this year and are hoping to sell through Thanksgiving.

The town manager reminded council he would be attending an Oct. 24-25 workshop sponsored by Virginia Department of Transportation on construction funding for the Banister River Gateway project, and design plans are close to completion.

Roanoke River outreach has received tobacco funding to install access points along the river, which will open the river up to a trail system as envisioned in the town’s comprehensive plan.

The agreement from Virginia Department of Transportation on the enhancement funds requires the project to be completed by December 2014.

Espy said the telecommunications project has finally wrapped up, and the poles have been taken down.

 Tuesday night council also discussed the community leader survey sent out by the Halifax County Service Authority.

In preparation for their strategic planning retreat Nov. 16 and 17, the authority has asked council members and other community leaders to complete the survey in an effort to solicit feedback to be used to shape the final strategic plan in determining priorities and strategies that help the service authority achieve its goals.

 The town manager provided council with a draft of the resolution supporting the designation of the Banister River as a scenic river to be signed at the joint board of supervisors meeting Oct. 15.