At Middleburg’s regular monthly Town Council meeting on Thursday, June 8, 2017, Council approved without debate the long-discussed Town Budget for next year. Council was pleased that high levels of public service and public safety would be maintained without imposing any serious new tax or fee burdens on the citizenry or business community
Mayor Betsy Davis observed that, once more, there had been complaints about high water bills and suspicions of water leaks as the cause.
Stuart Will, of IES, told Council that no such leaks had been found,
When customers receive high bills, he noted, they often ask that their water meter is checked.
Will does just that, and then re-reads the same meter a week later, also checking the residents’ low-flow meter. If the low-flow meter stopped, he said, there was no leak.
A complainy about one outrageous water bill, however, turned out to be correct, the result not of a leak but a defective The new digital meter was pulled and replaced.
Town Administrator Martha Semmes reported that the customer affected by the defective meter was “granted relief” from their high water bill.
Parking Study Costs
In response to a Council request for information on the cost of a new parking study for Middleburg, Semmes reported she had been in touch with two consultants.
Her ballpark estimate of the cost ranged from $35,000 to around $50,000, depending on the scale and scope of the study.
A highly detailed study similar one done for the town in the past, Semmes noted would now cost $75,000-100,000.
She advised that studies in the $35,000-55,000 range were adequate for the Town’s needs, and offered Council the opportunity to review some samples if they so desired.
New technologies and methodology available since the Town’s last study, in 2005, make it easier to do periodic checks of parking space occupancy each day and thus compile a larger and more accurate data set for analysis.
A new study, she said, could be ready for Council review in roughly three months.
Hiring a New Business and Economic Development Director
Town Administrator Semmes, in consultation with Mayor Davis and Councilmember Miller, has made an informal job offer to a candidate for the Business & Economic Development Director position, and that person, she told Council, has accepted, pending a formal offer, background, and reference checks.
Semmes reported she had received “rave reviews” from the candidate’s references, including a Town Manager; a former director of a small business development center; a “selectman” (the equivalent of a councilmember); and, a business client.
Town Council “Action Tracker”
Town Clerk Rhonda North noted that she had provided Council with copies of the latest version of their new “action tracker” for the June meeting.
Councilmember Bridge Littleton complained that the items should be sorted by priority, so the important items were at the top. He also noted that the Council’s new “top ten goals” have been added to the action list and suggested that they are prioritized and added to the list with start dates and other detail.
Paper-saving Electronic Agendas
Councilmember Leonard-Morgan, the Town’s Go Green committee representative, observed that he felt a special responsibility to “reduce the use of paper” by Town government and asked about progress toward the development of electronic agendas.
Councilmember Bridge Littleton said he had already “reached out to four different solution architects, who could help develop a system, and two hardware providers,” and that he, Councilmember Daly, Town Administrator Semmes, Town Clerk North and Town Planner Moore had scheduled a meeting to compile a list of system requirements.
Town Clerk North noted that she, Town Administrator Semmes and the Town Planner heard presentations from two electronic agenda software providers – Granicus and Boarddocs.
Once the Town had settled on what they wanted the system to do, Littleton noted, two or three options with prices and a tentative delivery schedule could be provided “within a couple of weeks. “
Outgoing Economic Development Coordinator Cindy Pearson reported that she was meeting with Erin Gable and her husband next week to look at improvements to the Towns online calendar of events.
She was, she said, dissatisfies with what had been done by Town’s current web contractor.
A major issue, she continued was the development of a simple on-line calendar on which organizations and individuals could post directly, with the Town’s Economic Development Coordinator approving such posts before they went live.
Mayor Davis observed that, in her opinion, “ the amount of time this was taking was ridiculous.”
Pearson replied that the Town’s current contractor had changed project managers three times already, and that “she had not even been given the name of the latest one.”
Pearson agreed that the delays had been “frustrating’ and that she would update Council on progress shortly.
Progress on the Comprehensive Plan
Town Planner Moore thanked Council members who had attended the Town’s Comprehensive Plan work session and declared the process “a success.”
New Parking Enforcement Begins July 1
Police Lieutenant Mike Prince, standing in for Chief A.J. Panebianco, reported that, to the best of his knowledge the Town would start enforcing it’s new, meterless, parking regulations on time on July 1
Training on the Police Department’s new monitoring equipment, he continued, was scheduled for the end of the June.
Town Attorney Crim confirmed that “he had been working on the draft parking ordinance” with Town Administrator Semmes and Chief Panebianco, to ensure that it was both legal and practical.
For example, Crim noted, someone who wanted to protest a parking ticket could initiate an administrative appeal to the Chief of Police, and if unsatisfied by the Chief’s ruling, turn to the courts for adjudication.
As part of the new program Council agreed to waive the late fees for any and all outstanding, unpaid, parking tickets “as of the July 1 date of the implementation of the new electronic parking system” if the original amount of the past due ticket(s) is paid by August 30, 2017.
Funding Requests Approved
Vice Mayor Kirk moved, seconded by Councilmember Daly that Council approves the funding requests submitted by Christmas in Middleburg for $9,000; by the Middleburg Film Festival in the amount for $15,000; and, by the Middleburg Concert Series for $3,000. The monies, plus appropriate police security support, are to be included in the Town’s FY 2018 Budget.
Resolution of Appreciation – Marvin Simms
Vice Mayor Kirk moved, seconded by Councilmember Daly, moved that Council adopts a resolution extending its appreciation to Marvin Simms for his service in the Town’s Facilities & Maintenance Department from April 2003 through May 24, 2017. Council approved the motion unanimously.
Until the Town hires Simms replacement as its Facilities & Maintenance Supervisor, it will pay an extra $500 per pay period to Will Moore who has taken on the work in addition to his own.