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Mobile eatery OK’d in Halifax

A new barbecue eatery is coming to Spencer Hill in the Town of Halifax after Halifax Town Council approved zoning amendments permitting Eddie Tate to operate Tater Bugs Bar-b-que, a mobile food unit in the C-1 commercial zoning district.

During their Tuesday night meeting, council members gave the green light for the eatery to be located at 5264 Halifax Road near Jerry Epps Landscaping.

In other action Tuesday night, council held the first reading of the proposed $1.4 million budget for 2013-2014 and set appropriation and approval of the budget for June 11.

The proposed budget includes a two percent cost of living raise for town employees along with $11,000 for the Halifax Library branch and $10,000 for a new a fire department truck. 

Administrative expenses are projected to increase by 14 percent in the proposed budget, and that is mainly due to the Banister Gateway Project, according to Town Manager Carl Espy. 

Other expenses projected to increase in the proposed budget include business development, municipal building, police department and street expense line items.

Following the reading of the budget Tuesday night, Councilman Bill Confroy questioned the amount of money being spent on town events with Councilman Jack Dunvant also expressing similar concerns. 

One event of particular concern is the next event on the town’s calendar - the Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival scheduled for June 14. 

Mayor Dick Moore explained funds for this event would be generated from sponsorships and ticket sales, and not using budgeted money.

In response to Confroy’s and Dunavant’s concerns, Councilman Dennis Witt suggested for future events, the finance committee could submit individual budgets for each special event to be approved by council. 

“We can appropriate the budget, and if we don’t want to spend the money, we don’t have to,” added Moore.

In a roll call vote, council unanimously agreed to move forward with appropriating and approving the budget at the June meeting.

Council also adopted a resolution requesting the Virginia Department of Transportation reduce the speed limit from 45 to 35 on State Route 651 beginning at the eastern town limits on Terry’s Creek and continuing approximately 0.91 mile northwest of the existing 35 mph speed limit sign at State Route 1121.

 Also during Tuesday night’s meeting, council appointed Halifax Police Chief Kevin Lands to the E911 board and adopted a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Mary Bethune High School Class of 1963 graduation and reunion celebration. 

Council also agreed to present Willie Jones with a resolution of recognition for his service as executive director of the Halifax County Service Authority at their next meeting. Jones, who has been director since the inception of the authority, will retire June 29.

 During the work session and committees meeting Tuesday night, Matt Reed, senior safety consultant for the Virginia Municipal League insurance programs, presented council with the risk management performance award for the Town of Halifax.

The town was recognized for their proactive stance toward risk management, resulting in a five-year loss ratio of just 5 percent. In addition to formal recognition, the town also received a certificate reserving $1,000 in risk management grant funding for their entity. The amount is based on their tier level and can be used to purchase equipment or training that contributes to members’ overall risk management program.

In other business Tuesday night, Town Assistant Denise Barksdale updated council on Farmers Market activity.

 According to Barksdale, this past weekend was one of the better weekends for the market, and the Master Gardeners hosted the first of the second Saturday workshops they will be doing throughout the season. 

Barksdale said 16 youngsters came out to plant flowers for Mothers’ Day with Master Gardeners. The Master Gardeners also offered to repair tomato cages.

Heritage Hudson Farms will host a home-cured bacon demonstration Saturday at the Farmers Market, Barksdale told council.

She also showed council a copy of the “Support a Local Farmer” pledge. 

According to Barksdale, last year the Virginia Food System Council began a $10 a week pledge campaign to raise awareness about economic impacts of shopping locally in support of Virginia Agriculture. 

This year, Barksdale said Virginia Grown is offering a statewide marketing opportunity for farmers markets with a $10 a week punch card in partnership with the Virginia Food System Council. The farm fresh pledge card encourages consumers to pledge to spend $10 a week at their local farmers market.

 Also during Tuesday night’s work session and committees meeting, Councilman Ronnie Duffey updated council on the “Watch for Children” signs.  

According to Duffey, only one of five locations has been approved by VDOT.  Locations sent in for approval included eastbound on Mountain Road in proximity to 1015 Mountain Road and west of Library Lane, southbound on North Main Street in proximity to 159 Maple Avenue and north of Church Street, north bound at the bend on Lakeside Drive in proximity to 366 Lakeside Drive and north bound entry of Brook Run at the appropriate distance behind the subdivision sign. 

The councilman said Chief Lands and Town Manager Espy have taken more pictures of the Maple Avenue location and have sent them to VDOT. 

While the Brook Run location is the only location that has been approved, the town is still waiting for approval of the remaining locations.