- Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 March 2011 15:01
- Published on Wednesday, 02 March 2011 15:01
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Economic Development Committee chair Steve Kennedy and council member Shane Buzby have taken the initial steps to determine the feasibility of locating a YMCA in Colonial Beach. Kennedy and Buzby have met with Barney Reiley and Elizabeth Clark of the Rappahannock Area YMCA to discuss what steps are necessary.
Kennedy voiced strong support in favor of moving toward the goal of “getting a branch of the Y in this town.”
Kennedy reminded committee members that Colonial Beach and its surrounding 5-mile radius is home to 25 percent of the population of Westmoreland County and having a YMCA in town would be a “huge economic boost for us.”
Council member Karen Payne noted that “conceptually, I love the idea, but it is taxpayer money.” Committee members agreed to put forth a resolution to town council to endorse studying the concept of locating a YMCA in town.
Gary Mitchell, Director of Planning and Zoning, gave a report on low impact development methods encouraged under the Chesapeake Bay Act and noted that the current requirement that 36 percent of each lot remain as open space will not change. Mitchell also advised the committee that all new permits issued for new construction require installation of a water meter.
Budget and Administration
Committee chair Sparky Ridgely opened the meeting by inviting Donna Power, Colonial Beach School superintendent to speak. Power noted that she and Mitchell were working together on submission of a grant application titled “Safe Routes to School,” which would include creating walking routes for students on Colonial Avenue, Douglas Avenue, Livingstone Street and Wilder Avenue.
Chief Financial Officer Joan Grant reported that the School Board’s cafeteria account has been closed and that delinquent notices have been mailed for personal property, real property and water and sewer accounts. Grant also reported that mistakes made by an outsource company that incorrectly calculated town employee’s W-2 form have been corrected. Errors were made in calculating pre-tax deductions, which resulted in employees overpaying federal taxes since 2006. Grant and her staff have gone over individual employee records and have provided refunds to affected employees.
Town Manager Val Foulds reported that due to the recent census figures that place the town’s population over 3,500, there are 36 code sections that will now apply to local governance. Foulds is working on providing a detailed list for council to review and make recommended changes.
Water and Sewer
Committee chair Gary Seeber talked about the recent water main break on Bancroft Avenue that occurred on last Sunday. According to Rob Murphy, Public Works Director, “it was a structure crack in one of our existing main lines.” Seeber invited the public and council members to attend a Monday special meeting in which Bob Gay of the Virginia Rural Water Association would make a presentation on the future of water and wastewater infrastructure.
Streets and Roads
Karen Payne, committee chair, asked Foulds to comment on when the town will take over the roads due to the recent population growth as determined by the 2010 census. Foulds stated “we will not actually take over the roads until July 2012.” Foulds also reported that beach replenishment sand and stone will be in place before Memorial Day.
Payne reported that the Department of Public Works has been able to save approximately $21,000 per year by signing up for a different rate plan through Dominion Business Services Center.
Payne also reported the Public Works Department had received two positive letters from citizens, one recognizing employee Danny Smith who assisted a couple in distress and one for repairing the main break on Bancroft in a timely fashion.
Committee chair Shane Buzby opened the meeting by sending out an encouragement to all community members to sign up for Citizen Alert. The alert system utilizes text messages or emails to alert residents of school closings, water main breaks, road closures or other public safety issues. Residents can sign up by downloading the sign-up form at the town’s website or picking up the form at town hall.
According to Volunteer Fire Chief Sparky Ridgely, the squad answered 88 calls in January with an average response time of 3.5 minutes per call. The squad has also recently purchased four heart monitors that transmit real time patient EKG results directly to the hospital. The squad also purchased two CPR machines at a cost of $16,000 each that perform an optimal 100 compressions per minute. Ridgely noted that with the average time to transport patients to the hospital being 30-40 minutes, the CPR machine frees up personnel and provides the latest in emergency life savings measures to patients.
Police Chief Kenneth Blevins reported that the department answered 301 calls for service in January with an average 2-minute response time. According to Blevins there were 12 arrests that included four felonies, eight misdemeanors and two DUIs. The department wrote 62 traffic summons. The January “clearance rate” for closing cases either by arrest or exception is 55 percent.
Blevins also reported that the department is looking for citizens to serve on Neighborhood Watch programs and that he is currently scheduling bicycle and pedestrian safety courses as a public service to the community.