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New Halifax Town Council member takes oath

Newly appointed Halifax Town Council member Kristy Johnson was sworn in by Judge Joel Cunningham during the Halifax Town Council meeting Tuesday night held in Halifax Town Hall.

Surrounded by her husband, Clint, and two sons, Johnson took the oath of office, and after her swearing in Mayor Dick Moore assigned Johnson to serve on the current affairs and business development committees.

Also Tuesday night council ratified town planning commission members Ron Reiter, Kristy Johnson and Neville Kidd for their first full four-year terms and appointed Halifax Police Chief Kevin Lands as the emergency management coordinator for the Town of Halifax.

Council also agreed to adopt a resolution honoring the late Virginia State Trooper Junius Alvin Walker, who died last week while in the line of duty.

In other business, Prizery Executive Vice President Boo Evans and President Barbara Speece asked council to consider applying to get a local government challenge grant for up to $5,000 in state funding to support local arts organizations.

With this grant the Virginia Commission For the Arts will match up to $5,000, subject to funds available, tax monies given by the town.

Halifax County supervisors agreed earlier this month to apply for the same grant with $2,500 to go to The Prizery and $2,500 to Little Theatre. 

The deadline to apply for the grant is 5 p.m. April 1.

Applications are evaluated on the basis of the artistic quality of the organizations supported by the town, clearly defined policies and procedures for awarding local funds to art organizations, degree of involvement of
artists and arts organizations in the local process of awarding grants,
responsiveness to community needs and evidence of local government support of the arts, according to information provided by Speece.

Council told Speece and Evans they would consider applying for the grant.

Also Tuesday night during the work session prior to the meeting, Councilman Ronnie Duffey briefly updated members on the Virginia Department of Transportation “Watch for Children” signs.

Chief Lands staked the locations for the signs last week, and five locations are marked, Duffey said. Town Manager Carl Espy has taken pictures of the locations and sent them to VDOT for approval.

Tuesday night Espy informed council some primary road maintenance will be underway in coming weeks.

 A latex process will take place on Highway 501 from the railroad tracks going north to the Mountain Road Intersection.  State Route 349 will be milled and repaved along with North Main Street.

 Espy said he has met with VDOT and the Halifax County Service Authority to make sure manholes are properly readjusted, and VDOT is looking at having their contractors mobilize between the end of March and early April.

Espy does not have a final schedule at this time, but he said a public service announcement will be sent out once the schedule is completed.

 Also Tuesday night, Town Assistant Denise Barksdale gave an overview of the Earth Day Celebration and Farmers Market activities. 

According to Barksdale, the Earth Day Celebration is set for April 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include artists, crafters, music, food and door prizes. 

St. Episcopal Church and Scotts Recycling will sponsor an electronic recycling drive during the celebration.

Barksdale said the farmers market is gearing up for the upcoming season, and some of the vendors will set up during the Earth Day celebration.

She also is working on a banner to put at the top of the hill to draw attention to the market this season. The grand opening for the Farmers Market is scheduled June 15, and the market also will host its first indoor winter market the first three Saturdays in December.  

Barksdale said Extension Agent Chris Brown from the Halfiax County Extension Office will host a food preservation workshop May 4, and the Master Gardeners also will host a few workshops at the Farmers Market.

Reiter updated council on Halifax Village Business Association activities saying the group is in the process of applying for a non-member corporate charter. Once its receive its charter, the association can start acting as a 501 3c even if they don’t have approval from the IRS. Once the association receives the charter, Reiter said he plans to apply for the 501 3c exemption. Reiter noted that exemptions are behind schedule and will take 12 to 18 months to get approval. 

If the association has not received an approval when it’s time to file a tax return, they will have to file a regular for profit tax return. 

Council also reviewed the monthly finance report and revised budget work schedule. 

According to the schedule, the first reading of the 2013-2014 budget and approval and appropriation of the budget is slated for May 14.