- Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 December 2010 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 29 December 2010 00:00
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To begin the New Year in 2010, mother nature held this beach town captive during the first two months by dumping 8 inches of snow on Jan 30; then dumping 14 inches during “Snowmageddon” on Feb 5 and 6; and then dumping 8 more inches on Feb 9 and 10, the “Blizzard of 2010.”
When the new year starts off with a seemingly un-ending blanket of the cold white stuff that closes schools and makes travel tough, it begs the question: What’s in store for the rest of the year?
How did the beach fare in 2010? It was an eventful year, but a bit confusing for those of us who live in and love the town and try to follow what is happening. Following are a few highlights from 2010 written with tongue-in-cheek.
- We had a great police chief, he resigned, then he changed his mind. Folks spoke out in favor of him staying, but council said ‘we aren’t playing’ and sent him on his way.
- We had a noise ordinance, then it was changed to ‘pay-to-play.’ Now pay-to-play is no more, and it is decibel levels you have to look out for.
- We learned in June our tax rate would remain as before. Then on Nov 11 it was reduced to comply in the nick of time to save us all a dime.
- We had a school finance director for years, never suspecting a crime. But thanks to the detective work of ‘TLC’, she pled guilty in December to 14 felonies.
- We elected a Mayor in 2008, with an office to use as he pleased. In 2009 council decided to keep him out of town hall, and our mayor still has no office at all.
Although 2010 seemed to be a series of ups and downs and back stepping, council did pass a long overdue Comprehensive Plan and a proffer policy. 2010 audit results were much improved from previous years as recognized by the ‘pretty clean’ seal of approval given by the Miller and Foley auditor group. The new noise ordinance is in place and provides a legal remedy for remedying noise nuisance that will stand up in court. Parking fees seem to be working as planned and are helping to bring in needed revenue. Council is looking to restructure BPOL tax rates in the coming year and is taking steps to make necessary repairs to water and sewer pipes between 3rd and 12th Streets.
Val Foulds, Town Manager, and town staff have worked diligently to improve services and update employee contracts, job descriptions, procurement policy and HR procedures which will benefit current and future staff. Town and school accounting procedures are fully compliant with state and federal law. The relationship between the council and the school board is vastly improved and public attendance at meetings has increased.
The beach will see a new police chief in 2011 with Major Kenneth Blevins, Sr. expected to sign an employment contract soon. Blevins is being promoted from within the department and has been second in command since 2008.
A highlight of 2010 will prove to be the town qualifying for a planning grant from the Department of Housing and Development. The final grant application is being prepared by Land Studio, PC and is expected to be submitted in the spring of 2012. In the creation of the application document, the town is gathering a comprehensive set of data that will assist the town for years to come in making policies that will lead to an improved quality of life for residents and tourists. One of the more important aspects of the grant application is creating an identity for the town and developing marketing strategies to increase tourism revenue.
In May elections were held for both council and school board seats. Newly elected to council were Shane Buzby and Gary Seeber. Steve Kennedy was re-elected. Burkett Lyburn was named Vice Mayor. Vicky Roberson and Wayne Kennedy were elected to seats on the school board, and Shelly Payne was appointed to fill Anne Congdon’s seat upon her resignation. Tim Trivett was unanimously elected to remain as School Board Chair.
Buzby characterizes his election to council saying “I take tremendous pride in Colonial Beach and I will do my best to make the right decisions for our town.” Buzby further noted “ I am very excited to lead the town as head of the Public Safety committee. The police department has made great strides and will continue to do so to ensure the best quality services that our town could ask for. The fire department and rescue squad offers our citizens some of the best professional assistance in the area. As a future goal, I would like to see our Public Safety services combined in an Emergency Services building.”
Mayor Fred Rummage was elected in 2008 and will serve through July 2012. Although his tenure can be described as ‘rocky,’ Rummage continues to work hard on council to serve the citizens at the beach. According to Rummage, “The town government accomplished very little on behalf of the people of Colonial Beach. Let us hope that 2011 brings cooperation, orderly growth and development for the future well being of the town.”
CB Schools, under the leadership of Donna Power, Superintendent, are in the middle of a federally mandated improvement plan. There is a transformation team in place mentoring administrators and teachers and monitoring student progress. Three trailers are being replaced at the elementary school and fundraising efforts are on track to build a new library. School finances are under control and the school board is enjoying a more cooperative relationship with town council.
The town mourned together in March for the loss of Espresso Station owner Jeff Malecha; in May for the loss of Steven Biggins, an 18-year old CBHS senior and rescue squad member; and again in June for the loss of Perry L. Smith, a well-known HVAC mechanic.
With all of its shortcomings, Colonial Beach is still the place to live where neighbors help neighbors and children can ride their bikes around town. It is the place to be for Fourth of July festivities, for May Riverfest celebrations and First Friday art walks. Volunteers brought the first Torch Run benefitting Special Olympics in 2010. The town came together with parades and services in remembrance of Veteran’s Day, a September 11 program and to welcome the holidays and Santa to town. Town Hill is vibrant with residents voluntarily performing upkeep on the landscaping and planning events for residents.