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Committee members discuss budget, safety, connection fees
Colonial Beach Town Council Committee members authorized Town Manager Val Foulds to work with Town Attorney Andrea Erard and advertise a public hearing to review changing the current election cycle for local elections from May to November. Once the public has an opportunity to speak out on the issue, council will then decide whether to move the local elections to November.
Foulds was also authorized to advertise for a public hearing to review instituting a policy to request additional fees from persons convicted of driving
while under the influence who cause the town to expend additional funds above and beyond the normal.
Dr. Peter Fahrney of the Colonial Beach Foundation requested clarification from committee members on the issue of allowing citizens and/or groups to make public comment or present ideas during committee meetings. Fahrney noted that citizens “feel disenfranchised” not having an opportunity for “official access.” Council member Gary Seeber noted that “committee meetings historically have not had public comment … I will leave it to the new chair.” Mayor Fred Rummage spoke out and informed Fahrney “This is not the structure I instituted when I became mayor, I share your sentiment.”
Click to view video of the meetings.
Economic Development Committee
Interim committee Chairman Shane Buzby was out of town, and rescheduled the meeting to Monday, May 2, at 4:30 p.m. Newly appointed council member Mike Ham will replace Steve Kennedy as chair due to Kennedy’s resignation from council last month.
Seeber reminded members that the three issues at the top of the agenda for the committee are the business incentive policy, creation of an art and cultural district, and the new subdivision ordinance recently approved by the planning commission.
Seeber also mentioned that the committee needed to tackle the issue of providing discounts for water and sewer connection fees to developers of multi-home developments. Seeber noted that the owners of Monroe Point townhomes had requested a reduction in connection fees some time ago.
“We owe them an answer one way or another,” Seeber said.
Mayor Fred Rummage agreed and said “Not only do we owe them an answer, but they are the only of three or more projects that have continued to build.”
School Superintendent Donna Power appeared before the committee ready to answer any additional questions on the school board’s request for level funding from the town for the 2011/2012 budget. The committee had no additional questions. Foulds provided hand-outs to committee members with a range of options on school funding for the 2011/2012 budget, including the state minimum required, level funding, level funding with a 1 percent salary increase and level funding with a 3 percent salary increase.
Foulds requested the committee ask council to approve an upgrade to the Bright accounting system, which will allow citizens to make online bill payments and check their tax information online.
Rummage noted that the proposed 2011/2012 budget shows a decrease in real property tax collected. Foulds explained that the town’s collection rate is down and only five new homes were added to the tax rolls instead of the projected number of new homes listed at 20-25.
Public Works, Water and Sewer
Committee members instructed Foulds to review the existing ordinance mandating water restrictions in times of drought to meet upcoming state requirements that are due to be in effect by September 2011.
Police Chief Kenneth Blevins reported the police department received 398 calls for service in March with an average 3 minute response time. The department made 21 arrests, which included seven felony arrests and issued 34 summonses. Blevins further noted that 11 cases were cleared.
Council Member and Rescue Chief Sparky Ridgely reported that the CB Volunteer Rescue Squad received 79 calls in March with an average response time of 3 minutes and 13 seconds. The squad reduced its on-scene time from 7 minutes to 5 minutes.
Ridgely also noted that the squad recently picked up two EMTs and one paramedic from King George County.