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Halifax council orders special election for vacant seat

Halifax Town Council got the ball rolling Tuesday night to fill the Ward A seat that will be vacated June 30 when the resignation of Councilman Tom Brown becomes effective.

Council authorized advertising the Ward A seat and ordered a writ of special election for November during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday following a committees meeting and work session held in Halifax Town Hall.

Brown’s resignation is due to family health issues.

“I hate to go, but family comes first,” Brown said after Councilman Jack Dunavant said he would be missed.

Janice Powell, a resident of Hedderly Street, has submitted her application to council to be considered for appointment to the Ward A seat until a special election is held in the fall.

Powell, a 1956 graduate of Mary Bethune High School who has two years of college education, brings 40 plus yeas of experience in education, 13 years of experience in retail and two years of experience in textiles to the position. 

She also serves as a volunteer for the Halifax County Rescue Squad.

On her resume, Powell said her objective is to help make a difference in order to continue to improve the quality of life in the Town of Halifax.


Budget approved

In other action Tuesday night, council approved and appropriated the $1.4 million budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The budget includes $416,913 in administrative expenses, $24,250 in business development expenses, $41,310 in municipal building expenses, $274,849 in police expenses, $36,050 in fire department expenses, $500,516 in street expenses and $112,466 for sanitation expenses.  

The real estate tax rate per $100 value will remain at .17 1/2 cent, and the personal property tax rate per $100 value is $1.68.

The machinery and tool tax rate per $100 value will be set at 50 cents, the lodging tax rate is 3.5 percent, and the meals tax rate will be 3 percent for the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget.  

Also included in the budget is the $487,000 Virginia Department of Transportation SAFETEA-LU grant award for the Banister Gateway Project, a $11,000 contribution to the Halifax Library and a $10,000 new truck donation for the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department.


Stop bar to be moved

Council also approved the current affairs committee’s recommendation to request the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to move the stop bar in the right north bound lane on Main Street back 15 feet for better visibility at the intersection with Mountain Road.  

Councilman Dunavant agreed with the motion, however, he cautioned council and the current affairs committee to weigh options before sending a request to VDOT to move the stop bar.


Other actions

In other town business Tuesday night, council members took the following actions:

Adopted the 2013 updated natural hazard mitigation plan prepared by the Southside Planning District Commission;

 Ratified a certificate of appreciation for the public service of Halifax County Service Authority Executive Director Willie Jones who will retire at the end of June;

 Were updated on the three locations where the “watch for children” signs will be positioned in the town;

According to Councilman Ronnie Duffey, three signs will be placed at locations including the northbound entry to Brook Run and eastbound on Mountain Road near 1015 Mountain Road and west of Library Lane.

Approval is being sought for the third sign to be installed on Maple Avenue north of the intersection with Mountain Road between the back walkway of the Halifax War Memorial and driveway to Quackenbush Law Office.

 Discussed the upcoming June 27 Halifax Library System joint library advisory committee meeting;

According to Councilman Bill Confroy, the library system has received around $41,000 in grants and contributions, and he hopes the new income will allow the library to open on Fridays.

 Received an update from Town Manager Carl Espy on derelict properties and maintenance enforcement;

Espy said certified letters have been sent out to five properties that had issues with mowing the lawn and possible structural issues. For those who didn’t respond to the first round of notices, Espy said the town’s attorney is doing title searches on those properties so they can take further action on them.

 Received an update from Espy on the MBC wireless pilot project; Espy said MBC and Gamewood Technology had installed the cabinet for the wireless equipment on the water tank, and he would let council know as soon as pilot tests get started.

 Were informed the town has taken the remaining steps necessary for property donation with the Banister Gateway project now that the joint permit application has been submitted to USACOE, DEQ and VMRC, and construction plans have been submitted to VDOT. 

 Discussed the Burlington property demolition;

According to Espy, D. H. Griffin is working at the sight after taking a brief hiatus, and he anticipates completion of the project by the end of August.

 Were reminded of the Blues, Brews and BBQ set for today at 6 p.m. at the Farmers Market.

According to Events Coordinator Susi Robbins, the Blues, Brews and BBQ will include music by Steve Bassett Blues Band and the Hot Damn Band and feature barbecue from four local vendors including Ollie’s Southern Café, Smoking Jakes, Blue Flame BBQ and Tater Bug’s Bar-b-q. 

Beverages will be provided by Bright Meadows Vineyards and Blue Ridge Distributing. 

The event has generated 29 sponsors including 11 from the Halifax Village Association, nine community sponsors and nine in-kind donations. 

Advance tickets for the event are $15, and tickets at the gate are $20. Children under 10 are admitted free with an adult. Ticket locations include Halifax Town office, Peddlers Market, Common Grounds, Halifax Visitors Center, Molasses Grill and Bistro 1888. 

T-shirts also are available at town hall.

 Received an update on the Halifax Village Association community clock project;

Association members are reviewing preliminary concepts for the town plaza and hope to have a rendering ready by the next council meeting.

 Discussed Farmer Market building interim improvements with work on the bathrooms and roof completed; and

 Reviewed the May finance report that indicated total expenditures are well under the 92 percent revenue rate at 73.4 percent.