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Halifax council continues uranium billboards

Halifax Town Council members voted to renew the lease on both of their “Keep the Ban” billboards during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night in Halifax Town Hall.

The town currently has a six-month lease for both billboards, one being leased from and D and L leasing and the other from Hunt Billboards at a cost of about $2,000, according to Town Manager Carl Espy. 

The deadline to renew the billboards is the end of April.

The signs are located on Highway 58, just west of Riverdale, and on Highway 501 in Centerville.

 Council members also considered adding a possible third billboard on Highway 58 and working with the Keep the Ban Coalition and Pittsylvania County to create similarity among their signs.

 In other action Tuesday night, council gave Town Manager Espy authorization to sign a non-exclusive brokerage agreement for the Halifax Marketplace and Espy updated council on the Virginia Municipal League Legislative Bulletin.

He addressed council’s concerns about new laws and changes made by the Virginia Assembly as outlined in the bulletin.

Council’s primary concerns were the changes to the Virginia Retirement System and payment of fines going to the state instead of the town.

Espy told council the governor has amended a five-year phase for localities that allows them to incrementally change the amount of VRS payments coming from employees, and it will increase each year until 2016.

The General Assembly will reconvene April 18 to discuss the budget.

 Derelict properties and maintenance code enforcement also was discussed Tuesday night as Espy presented council with a draft of the building code service agreement with the county.

Espy said he talked to County Administrator George Nester who said supervisors need more time to get the agreement to their attorney. 

In the meantime Espy has been working with the building inspector.

 The town has 14 derelict properties, 10 of which have been deemed unsafe and violating the uniform building code. Espy said he plans to give council a list of the properties.

Espy also updated council on the Earth Day Celebration set for April 21. 

Events Coordinator Susi Robbins is working with volunteers, sponsors and vendors to make this event a success. He informed council an ad campaign for the event had started this week, and they would begin to send out flyers for the event shortly.

According to Espy, the farmers market will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. during the Earth Day celebration. 

Councilman Bill Confroy asked for an update on the Convergence Art Guild’s plans since council has decided not to renew the lease on their building.

 Espy said guild representatives have talked with the building owner, but he doesn’t know if they have reached any decision yet. He said he left them a reminder that the lease will be up soon.

Council discussed who would introduce Andrew Lester at the joint meeting of the county board of supervisors on Monday. Lester will present the Virginia Beach Uranium Study to the joint board, and it was decided Councilman Jack Dunavant will introduce Lester with assistance from Virginia Coalition member John Cannon.

Former governor George Allen’s upcoming visit to South Boston on April 24 at Ernie’s Restaurant also was discussed during the meeting Tuesday night. A majority of council plans to attend.

Espy also updated council on the search for a new Halifax Town Police Chief. To date, the town has received 10 applications for the position, and the deadline for submitting applications is April 26.

During the public comment period of Tuesday’s meeting, Thomas Majors addressed council.

 He expressed appreciation for all council’s hard work and everything they do for the town. He said he was surprised to be mentioned as a possible candidate for the vacant seat on the planning commission at last week’s work session. 

Majors told council although he appreciated the thought he would not have time serve on the planning commission due to his participation at church.