City of Virginia
Regular Meeting Minutes
April 12th , 2021
City Clerk Cox called the meeting to order at 7pm. Roll was called Alderman Cox, Wulf, Bowman, Pratt and French were all present. Alderman Cox made a motion to appoint Alderman French as Chairman over this meeting and Alderman Pratt seconded. Motion carried unanimously. Alderman French takes roll of Chairman. The council reviewed the agenda. Alderman Pratt made a motion to approve the agenda and Alderman Bowman seconded. Motion carried unanimously. The minutes were reviewed from the March meeting. Alderman Wulf made a motion to approve the March minutes and Alderman Cox seconded. Motion carried unanimously. The monthly bills were presented and reviewed by the council. Alderman Wulf made a motion to approve the monthly bills and Alderman Pratt seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Treasurer Barrett stated that we are at 96.8% of budgeted income, which is exceeding expectations. We are currently below our budgeted expenses at 70.7%. Sales tax for the month was $10726.18 and video gaming was $1876.77. Treasurer Barrett stated that tonight we will do the first reading of the appropriations and final reading for the budget. He also stated that the appropriations comes directly from the budget for the tax levy.
Terry Ayres, Amanda Lear, Steve Handy, Mike Bentley, Janet Bentley, Michelle Mayes
Alderman French thanked everyone who came.
Amanda Lear: Speaking on behalf of my neighborhood. Lear and other neighbors want to know where the zoning permit is for the property at 431 S Front St and why it didn’t have to be rezoned as a business? She also asked why there wasn’t a public hearing held? Lear stated that she has a whole page of concerns. Lear asked the council if they were aware of what is going on. Alderman Cox stated that he got a phone call letting him know of the purchase. He stated that he called Bill Merriman and Mike Finn. Mike Finn expressed that it should have went in front of the zoning board. Bill Merriman told Alderman Cox that he was doing a favor for the city and he said for schools, medical facilities, or churches that it doesn’t have to be re-zoned. Lear stated that it was not a hospital or an institution. Alderman Cox said he talked with the Health Department and they said they want to be a good neighbor. They communicated there would be five employees there for COVID contact tracing. They also communicated that there wont be a lot of traffic coming in and out of there. Lear stated her concern was the future. She questioned what would happen if there is a new director? She also expressed concern that once COVID is over, what is it going to be used for then? She stated that this impacts the value of her property. She also heard that there was talk of a community garden and community closet on the property which means people in and out of the facility. Another concern of Lear’s was if there are children or clients on her property unwatched, if they get hurt its her liability. She stated that she cant enjoy her backyard if there is a business there. Lear asked why was this all done verbally and no proper paperwork was completed? Lear told the council there should have been a public hearing. She stated that there are more neighbors that are not happy other than those that are here tonight. Mike Bentley asked if there weren’t going to be cars there then why are they taking a culvert down the street? He stated there are drainage issues and there should have been an engineer there to work on that. Lear stated that she wants the City Attorney Veith to look into this. Alderman Pratt asked Attorney Veith if he heard all of what had been said. Attorney Veith, who attended the meeting via phone conference call, stated that he did hear what the citizens had said and that the issue was brought to his attention recently. He stated in terms of addressing it tonight, he didn’t think that we could do that this evening. Attorney Veith stated that he has spoke with Zoning Officer Merriman and asked him to get back to him with some answers to the questions he has asked him. Attorney Veith then suggested to have a meeting when he can
be there in person to address these issues. He stated he would be happy to get a list of the specific concerns that the neighbors have about this business purchasing the property. Attorney Veith would like to review those and then see what we can do to
address the concerns and make some resolutions that work for everyone. Attorney Veith stated that most of the information that he has, which was not much, only allows him to make suggestion not give answers. He stated he prefers to be fully informed on the situation and at this time he only has limited information. Attorney Veith stated that on behalf of the City, he thinks that the council is willing to listen to the concerns and work with the neighbors and the Health Department to see what is going on and hopefully remedy the issues to where a resolution can be made that works for everyone. Lear stated that she wants it shut down until the proper steps and procedures have taken place. She also stated that others have been shut down before for improper zoning. She asked if there is no documentation and no hearing then why are they allowed to proceed? Attorney Veith responded that he does not have enough information to give those answers this evening. Bentley stated that if they don’t have the permits then they should stop what they are doing. Attorney Veith replied that the council will have to take that action if the council wants to do that. He stated again that he cant advise the city at this point because he doesn’t have all the information. Alderman French stated that he is unsure how to handle this situation. Attorney Veith responded that this situation needs to be researched more and that we cant give an answer right now. Alderman French asked how are we supposed to reach out to the Health Department and let them know that this is a major issue? Attorney Veith stated that the council can reach out to the Health Department if they want because they need to be made aware. Steve Handy asked why cant a cease a desist letter be served until this is resolved? He stated if he wanted to add something to his property without proper paperwork that they would shut him down. Mike Bentley stated that if the zoning board doesn’t apply to everyone then why should we have a zoning board? Alderman Cox asked if he should contact the Health Department and ask them to shut it down? Attorney Veith stated that he needs more information if the council is wanting him to tell them there is legal basis to do something. He stated that it is up to the Mayor and the zoning board. Alderman French asked Attorney Veith if there is information that we need to get for him? He also asked Attorney Veith if he will be meeting with Zoning Officer Merriman. Attorney Veith replied that he spoke with Merriman briefly. Attorney Veith stated he would like to hear from the neighbors and then we will see what we can do. Alderman French asked if Attorney Veith would like him to have the neighbors in attendance today formally email the list of concerns to the city’s email? Attorney Veith stated yes, along with anything else they would like to be reviewed. Lear asked if it can be sent in the next few days? Alderman French said yes, whenever you have it ready. Lear stated that it will be done in the next few days. Alderman French stated this is all we can do right now since I am not the Mayor but asked Lear if she had anything else that needs to be addressed? Janet Bentley stated that this is a start and that they are aware nothing can be done tonight.
Terry Ayres: Ayres passed out pictures to the council in regards to trash burning at The Depot. Ayres stated that he is tired of the burning of the trash, the matches, the flames, the fumes. He added that it is oftentimes after 4pm. He stated that embers come down on his trailer, house, and yard. He said he has to breathe all of that. He said if he is mowing his yard then he has to go inside and shut all the windows and doors if they start burning trash because of the smell. It stinks up his trailer, his garage, and his vehicles. Alderman French asked if Ayres has tried to talk to the owner of the restaurant? Ayres stated yes he has and that he hoped by talking to her it would stop but it didn’t. Alderman Cox asked about the incinerator, would she just need a new one? Ayres replied that she is the only person he knew that burns out of all of the businesses in this town. Alderman Cox asks if she need a bigger dumpster? Ayres states yes. Ayres states that the plastic that is in there that is burning. Ayres told the council that Alderman Wulf and Mayor Brunk have been down there looking at it. Alderman French states we will reach out to the owner or have the Mayor reach out to her and hopefully meet. He also stated that she will be reminded of the ordinance. Alderman French tells the council that the burning ordinance needs to be discussed. He also said maybe if she was approached by the city, should would be willing to get a new one. Attorney Veith thinks that is a good idea. Attorney Veith stated another thing to suggest, if there is plastic being burned in violation of the ordinance, we can go to the police dept because there could be a citation issued for open burning or to the fire chief. He stated that in a situation like this there might be some resolution that could be had if there is some discussion with the business owner first. Alderman French asks Ayres if that would be satisfactory for you right now and we will work on it? Ayres stated if you cant shut the burning down maybe move it away from his property and that he has had to deal with this for 34 years. He stated that this is everyday, sometimes two or three times a day. Alderman Wulf states we could maybe suggest recycling. Ayres took a clip out of the paper that stated that burning stops at 4, the restaurant owner replied that she can burn til dark. Ayres stated he told her if he cant burn after 4pm, then he didnt think that she should be able to. Ayres stated if they cant get a bigger dumpster then get a new incinerator. Alderman Cox stated that they fire department probably wouldn’t like that. Alderman French will pass along the information. Ayres also added a concern about the oil containers for grease, they need to move that down too. He has seen mice in that area and it needs to be on concrete.
Attorney Veith attended the council meeting via phone conferencing. He apologized for not being able to attend in person. He stated that the TIF ordinance has been prepared for tonight and Treasurer Barrett can speak more on that when we get to it. Attorney Veith would also like to go into executive session to discuss pending litigation so we can resolve a certain issue. He said he is not looking for a vote form the council but would like some guidance on the issue. Attorney Veith stated that there are a few options to be presented and he is needing the council’s opinion. Attorney Veith then said in regards to the TIF ordinance, the request was made and it is in the ordinance that it be passed in one reading that requires 2/3 vote, which is 5 votes to pass. Attorney Veith also added with respect to the issues in regards to the Health Department purchase, he wants to work with the city and neighbors to make this right. He will make certain that he can give the city good advice after he reviews all the information. Attorney Veith also stated that it is his understanding that there are a number of complex issues with this matter.
Public Works (McClure): McClure stated that the crew has been picking up brush and catching up on mowing. CCR ready to go and the MFT work is $198709 for roadwork.
Police Chief (Fanning): 79 calls service calls, 23 traffic, 3 accidents all minor no injuries. Grand total for lights and camera purchase: GTSI in Jacksonville $1495. Light bar, lights in the gate, and install of new camera. Camera: $5720 so that is $7215 total. We are just waiting for parts to come in and will move forward with install. All in all things are going well.
Fire Chief (Reynolds): not present
Zoning Board(Merriman): not present
Library Board: nothing to report
Economic Development: nothing to report
Cemetery Board: nothing to report
Park Board: Alderman Cox gave the park board report. He stated that Little League now called Virginia Youth Assoc. They have about 100 kids signed up and there are 6 board members. Wes Cooksey is supposed to start the new concrete work Wednesday on the north side and east side then when that is done the fence will go up. Windows have been installed and they are still painting. Alderman Cox would like to thank the city crew, the tennis practice board fell and they put it back up. Hopefully they will be able to use the park this summer. Next board meeting: April 215t 7pm
French: Nothing to report
Pratt: Alderman Pratt asks about the status of the BBQ. Alderman Cox states that Pike County is around the same time as the BBQ and they are not having it. Clerk Cox stated the next meeting is on Wednesday to discuss further then hopefully some kind of announcement will be made on the status.
Bowman: Nothing to report
Wulf: Alderman Wulf states people were complaining about brown water. McClure stated that was because the water being used so quickly. McClure stated we need to flush the hydrants, the hydrants are so bad that I am afraid they will explode. McClure also stated we have so many hydrants that are 80 years old, we have more pressure that we might not get them closed and we could break the main. McClure stated he’ll have to go out and start opening them up because if they blow it will be about 10k for a new one. Alderman Wulf asked if Garden/Jackson St will be worked on this year? McClure thinks we will just re-gravel both of them.
Cox: Alderman Cox states he talked to the Health Department and they don’t have an issue with us doing the city wide garage sale but that masks should be worn and precautions should be taken. Cox also asks about brown water, McClure states it s safe to drink. We have FS and concrete place pulling at the same time and it is pulling the stuff from inside the mains. Cox also asks about the $5 charge on the water bill. Treasurer Barrett states he thinks it is Sept/Oct that it will be done. Cox then asks if we agreed that the taverns would not be charged the liquor license right? Alderman Bowman states that he thought it was going to be reduced? Attorney Veith stated that he thinks that there was some agreement at some point in the last few months but was not asked to draft anything. Alderman Cox thought it was Kesterson’sGoodTimes, Eastside, and the Depot. Attorney Veith thought we were going to reduce or waive.
Behrends: Alderman Behrends stated that someone said they were being told that they couldn’t put a portable shed on their property because it was too large? Alderman Pratt stated that him and Merriman are trying to work this out. Merriman says that as long as it is portable and has no water/electric hookup then there should be no tax. Alderman Behrends asked Attorney Veith on the status of the buildings in the center of the south side of the square, has anything been done? Attorney Veith replied that letters have been sent, we are having issues getting them served. He has some ideas but haven’t done anything more on that issue lately.
City Clerks Report: Nothing to report
Mayors Report: Not present
A. FY 21/22 City Budget (2ndReading)
Treasurer Barrett stated there were no changes from previous month, the budget will flow into appropriations for tax
levy. With nothing further to discuss, Alderman Cox made a motion to approve the FY 21/22 City Budget and Alderman Bowman seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
B. Discussion regarding Pending Litigation (Executive Session Anticipated)
A motion was made by Alderman Bowman to go into executive session and Alderman Cox seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
At 752pm, the council went into executive session.
At 810pm, the council returned to open session. Roll was called. Alderman French, Pratt, Bowman, Wulf, Behrends and Cox all answered present.
A. FY 21/22 Appropriation Ordinance (1st reading)
Treasurer Barrett states it mimics the budget that we prepared. It is higher than last year. $2895636.33 total appropriate. He stated MFT funds came in and that is the big difference. $99658.11 is the difference year over year. With nothing further to discuss, Alderman Pratt made a motion to approve the first reading of the FY 21/21 Appropriate Ordinance and Alderman Behrends seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
B. Ordinance Authorizing use of Tax Increment Financing Funds for Renovation of Caraway Building at 1075. Front St (With Emergency Clause)
Treasurer Barrett stated we need 5 votes, owner trying to get that building repaired and would like to get open. The TIF Committee met and reviewed expenses, we identified eligible costs. We approved 50% of eligible costs. This will bring jobs and revenue. Treasurer Barrett also stated he appreciates everyone coming in tonight to get this done. With nothing further to discuss, Alderman Cox made a motion to approve the Ordinance Authorizing use of Tax Increment Financing for Renovation of Caraway Building at 1075 Front St and Alderman Wulf seconded. Motion carried unanimously with six yes votes.
With nothing further to discuss, at 814pnn, Alderman Wulf made a motion to adjourn and Alderman Cox seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Reg Brunk, Mayor Ashley Cox, City Clerk