Town Meeting Schedule

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April 12, 2016

Posted in 2016 Minutes

April 12, 2016 

Mayor William Herrington called the regular meeting of the Lawrenceville Town Council to order at 7:30 p.m. on April 12, 2016. 

Roll was called; Present: Mayor William Herrington; Council Members: Joyce Bland, H. B. Brockwell, Jr., Dora Hardy, Scott Martin, Martha Myers, Robert F. Pecht, III, and Alice B. Talbert. Also present: Town Attorney, W. C. Outten, Jr., Town Manager, C. J. Dean, Police Chief, Everette Gibson, Town Clerk, Wanda Johnson, Lezlie Green, Abbe Thomas, Winston Brewer, Pastor Ron Joyner, citizens and the press. 

Absent: Council Member, Robert F. Pecht III. 

A motion was made by Mr. Martin to approve the minutes of the regular meeting on March 8, 2016, as received, suspend the reading and file. This was seconded by Mrs. Talbert and carried by all ayes.

The agenda was approved as presented. 

Mr. Martin reported that the Lawrenceville EDA met on April 5, 2016. Mr. Dean attended the meeting and reported on the Peebles building. Work on the new roof is now completed. Mr. Dean continues to work on the request for a grant extension. Wendy Wright has worked on letters that were sent out to 65 developers regarding the building. Work on the website is coming along. Mayor Herrington reported that five responses have been received from interested developers and there has been one site visit to date. The EDA agreed to spend $500 on a structural engineer report for the Peebles building.

Abbe Thomas, a member of Elm Acres, and Winston Brewer, a member of Brunswick Dixie Youth League, addressed council concerning the condition of E. Church St. Ms. Thomas said it is the road going down the hill to Elm Acres and the ballpark and she understands that the town owns it. It has big holes in it and has become a hazard. Ms. Thomas shared pictures of the holes in the street. Ms. Thomas stated that Elm Acres has been in use since the 1950’s and the historic ballpark was built in 1933. Mr. Brewer stated that the ballpark is in use every night and weekends from the second week in March until the end of June. They requested that council have the holes in the street repaired and to consider making the street two lanes wide and paving it to the bottom of the hill. Mayor Herrington referred the request to the Street, Lights and Cemetery Committee and asked for a recommendation at the next council meeting.

Pastor Joyner shared a flyer containing information about the community oriented radio station licensed in Lawrenceville. Mrs. Joyner presented a gift bag to each council member. The station presents Christian gospel, talk, music and ministry programs. 

Mrs. Green presented a letter to council regarding the parking space that is assigned to her. She explained that former Mayor and Police Chief Doug Pond assigned the spot to her 18-20 years ago when she had to drive between the courthouse and her office, then on Windsor Avenue. She stated that she does not feel entitled to reserved parking, but has come to appreciate the security that it affords. She often works late, being the last person working in the courthouse, and the space is within ten yards of the back door. She thanked council for taking her concerns into account. 

There was no report at this time.

There was no report.

Mr. Dean reported that the website should be live in thirty days. The structural review for the Peebles building is scheduled tomorrow. A couple of facades are not finished. We need more good weather. Mr. Dean, Mayor Herrington and Wendy Wright participated in a telephone conference call today with Ashleigh Zincone and Deborah Gosney of Southside Planning District Commission and representatives from DHCD regarding the Peebles building. DHCD is concerned that the town has requested a six month extension on the grant. DHCD expects the town to have a sales contract on the Peebles building. The building was purchased with grant funds in the amount of $125,000. The town will have to pay that amount back to DHCD if grant requirements are not met. Mayor Herrington stated that the options are: 1. Sell to a developer. 2. Turn the building over to a developer who would agree to put low to moderate income housing in the building. 3. The town could develop the building itself. 4. Pay the $125,000 back to the government. If the town pays the $125,000 back, it is no longer under the grant obligations. 

A copy of the proposed budget is in the packet. Mr. Dean presented the proposed budget and assumptions for FY 2016-2017. It includes a 10% water rate adjustment. This would be the first adjustment since July 2010. If the proposed budget is adopted, a change in the water rate ordinance would be required. There is no tax rate increase. This is a fluid process and the budget can be changed. The proposed budget needs to be approved to be advertised for a public hearing at the May council meeting. Mayor Herrington stated that he asked for a line item for the office of the Mayor with a dollar amount beside it. It is not in this budget.

On motion by Mr. Martin, seconded by Mr. Brockwell and carried by all ayes, Town Council voted to advertise the proposed FY 2016-2017 Budget as presented for a public hearing at the Town Council meeting on the second Tuesday in May. The budget will be printed in summary form prior to the next meeting.

Mr. Dean reported that Dominion’s connection to the wastewater system triggered the need for a wastewater pretreatment program. B & B Consultants drew up a plan and DEQ is reviewing it at this time. This is for information only tonight. A public hearing may have to be held at a later date. The town would issue a permit to Dominion. There would be a cost to the customer and the customer would have to pay for the pretreatment of the wastewater.

On motion by Mrs. Talbert, seconded by Mr. Brockwell and carried by all ayes, Town Council voted to purchase a full page ad in the 2016 Taste of Brunswick Festival program at a cost of $300.

Mr. Dean requested that the delinquent tax list be included in the packet so council could see the list of taxes due. Approximately $7,000 has been collected since the second notice letters were sent out. Some of the properties on the list contribute to blight in town and Mr. Dean would like to focus on the blighted properties and tackle two items at once, taxes due and blight. Mr. Outten advised that we have ordinances that address blight. The reality is that the town would likely go in the hole to remove the blight. You would have to pay someone to do the work, get a lien on the property and then not necessarily collect the fees and lien for the cost of the work. Mr. Outten advised that we have done the first step with the Clerk/Treasurer writing letters. The next step is a letter from the Town Attorney followed by possible judicial action. On motion by Mr. Martin, seconded by Mrs. Talbert and carried by all ayes, Town Council voted, as recommended by Mr. Outten, that 1. Mrs. Johnson will continue to monitor the response to the letters for sixty days; 2. Follow this with a letter from Mr. Outten to still delinquent individuals; 3. Still delinquent tax accounts may be subject to tax liens/judicial action. 

The public hearing on the budget has been set. Mr. Martin thanked Mr. Dean for a fine job.

Mr. Martin reported that the fire department responded to 31 calls in March. Of the 31, 4 were in the town limits and 27 were outside the town limits. Mr. Martin stated there is a request in the packet for the LVFD to use the airport on June 18, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for its third annual cornhole tournament. On motion by Mr. Martin, seconded by Ms. Hardy and carried by all ayes, Town Council voted to approve the use of the airport by the LVFD on June 18, 2016. 

Mr. Brockwell reported that Mr. Dean is working on some issues internally. We are also getting ready for sprucing up for spring.

Ms. Hardy stated that there is a report in the packet. 

Mr. Brockwell reported that the property identified in the budget is needed. Maintenance is becoming an issue on some of the other property. The town has received one estimate on the floor of the Southern States building. We are waiting for a second estimate. The cost of about $22,000 is included in the budget.

Mrs. Bland reported that the parking issue will be revisited following Mrs. Green’s comments tonight. Mr. Outten reported that he has had a conversation regarding parking with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. He was not able to attend tonight. Mr. Dean asked for the Streets, Lights and Cemetery and the Personnel committees to stay for a meeting following the council meeting tonight. Mrs. Talbert asked if a letter has been sent out regarding the parking. It has been drafted but not sent out. Mr. Outten will review the letter and it will be brought back to the May meeting. 

The Christmas decorations and banners are not in the proposed budget as a line item at this time. The committee will continue to gather information for the budget. 

There will not be a committee meeting following the council meeting tonight. A June public hearing for the water rate adjustment that is in the proposed budget will be discussed at the next meeting. 

The reports are in the packet. 

Mrs. Bland reported that she spoke with Mr. Outten and he advised that we have the procedures in place to take care of the building on N. Main St. The town ordinance refers to a building inspector or personnel to determine if the building is a public safety or health hazard. Mr. Dean advised that the town has an agreement with the county to use the county building inspector for the inspections upon written request. Mrs. Bland reported that three more blighted properties have come to her attention. They are at Second and High, High and Church and the old Lawrenceville Primary School. 

There was no report. 

Mayor Herrington reported that he, Mr. Dean and Chief Gibson met with representatives from the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation and J. P. Morgan. The PBGC indicated to them that it is the owner of the property once known as Saint Paul’s College. The PBGC has not recorded a deed but believes it has sufficient documents to show ownership. The representative from J. P. Morgan is the lead contact regarding the property. There is a CBRE company representative on grounds dealing with day to day upkeep of the property. The intent is to maintain the property to get maximum return when it is sold. They indicated that they would consult with the town to see if a proposed use comports with a use that the town could support. The PBGC is talking to a group interested in using it as a retreat or conference center. The PBGC said the town could expect a call every two weeks to keep it abreast of the situation.

There was no additional report. 

Mrs. Bland reported that she was not able to attend the comprehensive plan meeting. Mr. Dean reported that several committee meetings were held. Topics included transportation, infrastructure and downtown. They are looking at what we have and how to make it a clearer, concise working tool. The Southside Planning District Commission is working with the town on this. We expect to have a draft this month, a public session in May and a public hearing in June. Mayor Herrington reported that the County is working on its comprehensive plan. The Town made it a point to include the County on the Town’s committee. The County did not reciprocate.

There is an invitation in the packet to attend the SOL Family Success Day at James Solomon Russell Middle School on Saturday, April 16, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

The Spring Festival and Brickyard 5 Miler will be held Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The municipal elections will be held Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Mrs. Bland, Ms. Hardy, Mr. Martin and Mr. Pecht are on the ballot for re-election.

A motion was made to pay the bills as presented, in the amount of $85,063.34, and charge to the proper accounts. This was made by Mr. Martin, seconded by Mr. Brockwell and carried by all ayes. 

There being no further business to come before Council, a motion was made by Ms. Hardy, seconded by Mr. Martin and carried by all ayes to adjourn the meeting.
William Herrington, Mayor
Wanda Johnson, Clerk


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