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Halifax Council donates $5,000 to Coalition

In an effort to keep the statewide ban on uranium mining, Halifax Town Council unanimously approved a $5,000 donation for Virginia during its monthly meeting Tuesday night in Halifax Town Hall.

 

Earlier the finance committee had requested council appropriate $5,000 from the 2013-2014 budget for the purpose of opposing uranium mining in Virginia.

 According to committee members, Chairman Dennis Witt and Councilman Jack Dunavant, the money will come from a combination of revenue sources including money left over from unexpended line items or revenues that exceed projection. 

 “We are not proposing all the monies go to the Roanoke River Basin Association at this time but rather to evaluate the most effective use of the money and report back to council,” the committee said in a   finance report written to council. “We believe the town of Halifax should be a leader in this opposition. If not us, who? We spend millions of dollars each year on education, economic development, infrastructure for water sewer and highways, and the list goes on, and now we find ourselves faced with a threat of immense proportions, a threat that could alter our way of life and put us in the path of a pending catastrophe we can’t even describe. and yet we debate whether to spend public monies to oppose this.”

Witt and Dunavant said the recommendation is intended to be a rational approach to an issue “not of their choosing,” and that the time and place of the battle was chosen by the proponents of uranium mining.

“The battle is now, and the issue is hot,” the two said in the finance report.

Halifax Council’s $5,000 contribution followed on the heels of $5,000 donations made Monday evening by the Halifax County Board of Supervisors and South Boston Town Council.

Opt-out of VRS Virginia Local 

Disability Program

 Also Tuesday night council adopted a resolution to opt out of the Virginia Retirement System Virginia Local Disability Program.

  Council decided to shop around for other alternatives and are currently looking at two options, the Virginia Municipal League’s Lincoln program and a standard program provided by the Virginia Associations of Counties.

Council has until Jan. 1 to enroll in another disability insurance program.

Gatha’s Trail improvements

In other business during the work session held prior to the meeting Tuesday night, council reviewed a letter from residents and churches on Gatha’s Trail requesting the town provide improvements to the trail. 

Presently the road is used to gain access to the community cemetery and for individuals who reside on the trail to gain access to their homes. Saint Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Christ Episcopal and Banister Hill Baptist Church presently use the road to gain access to the community cemetery.

The cemetery has been used since the 1800s and is of historic value, the letter said. Gatha’s Trail resident Gatha Richardson discovered his grandfather gave the land for the cemetery to the churches in old court records.

 According to the letter, Gatha’s Trail is in poor condition, and the conditions are even worse in bad weather. Drainage on the trail seems to be a huge issue, and one resident complained of his basement flooding when it rains. 

Local funeral home owner Stanley Jeffress pointed out the sharp turn onto the trail off the pavement at the cemetery presents another issue.

Councilman Bill Confroy suggested either cutting a power line right of way as an alternate way to get to the cemetery or cutting a back door entrance from Banister Road as solutions.

 However, he pointed out the town has no funds available to make the repairs to the trail.

Confroy scheduled a meeting with concerned parties for Tuesday at Banister Hill Baptist Church, and Town Manager Carl Espy said he would try to get a representative from the Virginia Department of Transportation to attend the meeting.

Derelict properties

Derelict properties were also a topic of discussion during the committee meeting and work session Tuesday night with Espy explaining the county building inspector had a list of five properties needing to be addressed, and building permits already have been issued for these properties.

Community clock project

 Also during the work session, Espy updated council on the Halifax Village Association community clock project explaining construction plans for phase one of the project reached 90 percent completion this week. 

The association is scheduled to present council with budget estimates and a concrete plan in November.

Crosswalk and sign installation

 Espy also updated council on VDOT crosswalk and sign installation. VDOT is looking at designs to set up a crosswalk at the intersection of Bethel Road and L. P. Bailey Memorial Highway, and two-hour parking signs should be installed throughout town by the end of next week.

Wireless pilot project

 

Espy also said installation of equipment for the MBC wireless pilot project has started at the former Halifax Elementary School.