Thu04172014

Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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Fate of CB School looks bleak

Conflicting resolutions, long discussions and short memories seem to be at the heart of the Town of ...

Code Compliance Officer accused of Trespassing

Colonial Beach Town Council spilled the beans about Town employee Theresa Davis’ charge of trespassi...

Two talented women destined to cross paths

Two talented women destined to cross paths

One may call it fate or destiny, but the similarity between two women, Olga Farneth and Velia Jacobo...

School Debt comes full circle for Chairman Trivett

School Debt comes full circle for Chairman Trivett

Colonial Beach School Board Chairman Tim Trivett talked to the town council at the March work sessio...

Legg no stranger to making history

Legg no stranger to making history

Colonial Beach Town Council formally introduced Elizabeth “Libby” Legg as the town’s new permanent C...

Alta Vista poor host to CB during Regional tournament

Alta Vista poor host to CB during Regional tournament

Colonial Beach School Board member Wayne Kennedy aired his disapproval of Alta Vista’s hosting pract...

 

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Beach property owners dodge real estate tax raise

Colonial Beach property owners narrowly missed paying more in real estate taxes due to Town Council failing to act in a timely manner when presented with increased real estate assessments from a 2009 assessment done in Westmoreland County.
 “It’s illegal to raise peoples’ taxes without a public hearing. That’s wrong,” remarked newly elected town council member Gary Seeber in a telephone interview Monday.  Seeber has spoken up at the August, September and October town council meetings urging council to reduce the current real estate tax rate of .60 per $100 of assessed value by .02 cents in order to avoid a defacto increase in real estate tax revenue to property owners.  
According to Seeber, there is an approximate 2 percent increase in assessed values of land and improvements in Colonial Beach due to a 2009 real estate assessment by Westmoreland County. This approximate 2 percent increase in assessed value causes an approximate 2 percent increase in revenue to the town from real estate taxes.
Virginia State law provides remedies to protect property owners from defacto real estate tax increases that occur when property assessments increase.  Virginia Code Section 58.1-3321 contains very specific language governing the steps localities must take when real estate assessments provide for an increase of 1 percent or more of the total real estate tax levied.  

Read more: Beach property owners dodge real estate tax raise

Mayor wants his office back

Colonial Beach’s new noise ordinance unveiled at Sept. 23 committee meeting
During the Budget Committee meeting, Sept. 23, Mayor Fred Rummage made a “personal request” to the committee to consider rescinding Resolution 27-09 passed by town council unanimously in April of 2009, which states, in part, “the presence of the Mayor at Town Hall on a daily basis is interfering with and obstructing the efficient operations of the Town” and which effectively removed the mayor’s office in town hall.  Committee member Karen Payne, who was chairing the meeting in the absence of Ridgely, noted that committee chair Ridgely was not present and that this item should be placed on the agenda for next month’s committee meeting when the chair is present.
Council member Gary Seeber noted that the town’s budget surplus in an approximate amount of $400,000 should be used to provide substantial bonuses to town employees on a “step” basis according to years of service.  Currently the town employs approximately 50 employees.

Read more: Mayor wants his office back

Beach council adopts Capital Improvement Plan

For the first time in at least six years the town council, on Sept. 9, adopted a Capital Improvement Plan, or CIP.  The CIP is a compilation of items and projects requested by each department in town along with projected costs and a timeline.  Working hand-in-hand with the CIP, the council also adopted a proffer policy, which is the amount of money or in-kind improvement requested by the town in order to mitigate negative impacts from development on public facilities.  Also working hand-in-hand with the CIP, the council adopted Level of Service or LOS standards, which measure the quantity and quality of services provided by the town.

Read more: Beach council adopts Capital Improvement Plan

Committee meetings: Budgets, beautification on the agenda

All members of town council were present at the monthly council committee meetings and a special Town Council meeting held on Thursday, Aug. 26, with the exception of Burkett Lyburn.
Special Town Council meeting
Council met to discuss Resolution 37-10, a budget amendment correcting the 2010-2011 school division’s budget.  At issue is a request from Superintendent Donna Power to add $480,104 to the current school budget. The additional revenue includes VPSA Technology “carry forward,” federal grants, and late notification of Regional Governor’s School flow through. Also listed are deductions in federal stimulus funds and preschool funding. These items total $385,104.

Read more: Committee meetings: Budgets, beautification on the agenda

Few answers found within FOIA request

On Wednesday, June 14, Colonial Beach Town Clerk Barbara Goff notified the Journal that the FOIA documents requested on June 25 were ready.  Goff further informed The Journal that the cost for administrative time spent in filling the FOIA request would be waived as it had reached approximately $200.  The decision to waive the administrative fees came about, according to Goff, from a “commitment by the town staff to serve our citizens.”   
A review of the 45 pages, which included a 10-page employment agreement and a 4-page job description for the Chief of Police position, provided no evidence as to the breakdown of contract negotiations that occurred between former police chief Christopher Hawkins and the town during the timeframe of June 10 through June 24.  

Read more: Few answers found within FOIA request

Citizens speak out loud and clear

Colonial Beach wants Police Chief Hawkins to stay
On Thursday, before a crowd of approximately 80 citizens, and in an orderly fashion, Mayor Fred Rummage led the council through the agenda, presenting service award pins, appreciation plaques and listening to a presentation by School Superintendent Donna Power, on the new middle school.  However, during citizen input, Town Hall vibrated with loud applause and cheers.

Read more: Citizens speak out loud and clear

BREAKING NEWS: Chief Hawkins will remain

After a one and a half hour closed session regarding “the hiring of a police chief,” at 10:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 10, Town Attorney Andrea Erard announced “the council would like to keep the chief.” 

The closed session came at the end of a long town council meeting attended by approximately 80 citizens who came to show their support for Chief Christopher Hawkins.  Hawkins told the Journal earlier today he “would like to stay, but it’s up to the council.”  Once it became known throughout the community that Hawkins wanted to stay on at the beach, rumors had been circulating all day that the town council members were not going to offer him a new contract. 

Read more: BREAKING NEWS: Chief Hawkins will remain

Permit to practice -- $50. Nuisance to neighbor – Priceless.

As Colonial Beach Town Council struggles with reinventing the noise ordinance, at least one resident feels her hearing health has been put in danger.  Meanwhile, across town, Eleanor Park residents are moving out and the town has no plan on what to do with the waterfront property.

Public Safety
It appeared that the last of the May 27 committee meetings was about to conclude when resident Terri Rankin spoke out and strongly cautioned members on the impact of the new noise ordinance.  According to Rankin, a noise permit has been issued by Town Manager Val Foulds for a five-hour practice session for a nine-piece rock ’n’ roll band.  
Rankin advised members that the decibel level generated by a nine-piece band can reach 120 decibels.  According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, sounds louder than 80 decibels are considered potentially dangerous and can cause hearing loss. Rankin, whose home is next door to the practice session, expressed great concern over issuance of the $50 permit, citing health and safety issues.  
Rankin further told the committee that she “cannot enjoy her home” during the upcoming five-hour practice session. She recommended the current noise ordinance be modified with a three-hour limit on noise and that the “plainly audible” standard be applied.  
Plainly audible, or nuisance noise, is defined as noise that is heard when windows and doors are closed in neighboring properties. Although members appeared sympathetic to Rankin, in light of the fact that a permit has been properly issued, there is nothing that can be done.  Members did, however, instruct Foulds to attempt to “renegotiate” the permit.

Read more: Permit to practice -- $50. Nuisance to neighbor – Priceless.

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