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Halifax Town Council selects new vice mayor

Halifax Town Council elected Councilman Jack Dunavant to serve as vice mayor during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night following a committees meeting and work session held in Halifax Town Hall.

Outgoing Vice Mayor Bill Confroy nominated Dunavant for the position during the work session.

Councilman Tom Brown also nominated Councilman Dennis Witt, newcomer to council, for the vice mayor post, but Witt declined the nomination. 

Dunavant, who has been vice mayor several times before, said the only reason he accepted the position was because council is still in the midst of fighting to keep the ban on uranium mining.


Hammond resigns

In other business Tuesday night, Mayor Dick Moore announced Councilman Phil Hammond had resigned from council. Hammond resigned via letter to the mayor saying he had established a new place of residence in Oxford, N.C. 

Council authorized Town Manager Carl Espy to advertise for persons interested in representing Ward D in the town.


Resolution drafted in memory of Lt. Cassada

Tuesday night, council also decided to draft a resolution expressing condolences to the family of the late Lt. Steve Cassada. 


Committee assignments

Also Tuesday night, the mayor made committee assignments during the work session assigning Witt to chair the finance committee, Brown to chair the business development committee and Confroy to chair the current events committee. 

Dunavant also was assigned to serve on the finance committee, and Councilman Ronnie Duffey was assigned to the business and current affair committees. 

The mayor assigned Confroy and Brown to head the Banister River Gateway project and put Dunavant in charge of efforts to fight lifting the ban on uranium mining.


Library advisory committee discussions

In other action Tuesday night, Confroy and Brown, both members representing the town on the recently established joint library advisory committee, discussed the Dec. 18 meeting they attended.

According to Confroy, the members of the committee reached a consensus not to move either of the two libraries because the need exists to provide facilities for those who do not have access to computer technology at home.  

Confroy said committee members proposed the library system work with the school system libraries to better serve their patrons, and they also agreed the library system’s mission needs to be determined. 

Brown suggested the committee get together with Library Director Joe Zappacosta to see what the shortfall in the budget will amount to over the next six to 10 months.  

Witt also suggested putting a school librarian on the committee, and Espy said he would inquire into that possibility.


Uranium mining 

Another topic discussed Tuesday night involved Monday’s meeting of the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission uranium mining subcommittee in Richmond when committee members voted to move forward on drafting a bill that could lift the ban on uranium mining. 

Council members discussed ways to continue their efforts to fight lifting the ban on uranium mining, and Confroy suggested more citizens need to express their concerns and opposition. 

Dunavant suggested coming up with an alternative plan should the ban be lifted. He also suggested bussing a group of concerned citizens to Richmond to get the message across to legislators when the assembly discusses lifting the ban.

Sarah Dunavant and John Bass also expressed concerns and opposition to lifting the ban during the public comment portion of the work session.  She told council to keep up the fight and stay in front of the governor and elected officials.

“ We need to keep our quality of life,” she said.

 Bass spoke on the threat uranium mining poses to the water supply and the importance of maintaining clean and safe water. 


Current projects

In other action Tuesday evening, Espy updated council on the Banister River Gateway project after participating in a staff meeting with the developers and contractors in December when plans for design were submitted to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Council also received an update on the Halifax Downtown Revitalization/Town of Halifax Telecommunication Project during the work session Tuesday night. Gamewood Technologies, the company in charge of the MBC Wireless Project, is behind schedule on installing equipment for the Internet project.

Council also discussed Halifax Village Business Association activities Tuesday night.

 According to the town manager, Jerry Epps continues to work on the preliminary site plan for installation of the town clock in front of the library. 

Tuesday night Brown announced this year’s Earth Day Celebration will be held April 20, and June 14 will kick off the Friday Night Jams with the Farmers Market grand opening set for June 15.

Town Assistant Denise Barksdale notified council this year’s rummage sale will be held in early spring instead of July, and the town is now taking donations. Donations will be accepted at the town office Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Large items may be dropped off at the Farmers Market building.

For more information, call 434-476-2343.


Burlington demolition

The Burlington property demolition is expected to be complete sometime in April. Expy explained the town paid for Phase 1 of environmental studies, while the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority secured the Industrial Revitalization Fund grant. 

He said the authority currently is marketing the property and has secured a Department of Environmental Quality grant to pay for Phase 2 environmental studies.


Closed session action

After coming out of closed session, council authorized Esp to work with the lowest bidder in installing bathrooms in the Farmers Market.