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City Council voted Tuesday night to adopt a budget that maintains municipal services and programs at current levels, with no increases in real estate, meals and lodging tax rates.
The budget includes a utility rate study recommendation for an increase in electric rates, effective July 1. The bill for the typical residential customer will increase by $2.43 a month. Gas, water and wastewater rates will remain unchanged.
The budget serves as a blueprint for city operations from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017. Council had until the end of this month to adopt a budget, as well as a plan for capital improvements and special projects.
In addition to the budget, City Council voted Tuesday night to:
• accept federal money to extend the Riverwalk Trail on Trade Street from Advance Street to Commerce Street.• appropriate money from the Danville-Pittsylvania County Community Services Board to the special recreation division of the Parks and Recreation Department for recreation enrichment and summer programs to citizens that are intellectually challenged.• grant a rezoning request by Gus Dyer to allow two parcels to be consolidated and developed as a duplex off Westover Drive. A public hearing preceded the vote.• grant a special use permit to allow multi-family dwellings as a principal use at 549 High St. The building will consist of 17 one-bedroom apartments, 4 four-bedroom apartments and two studio apartments. A public hearing preceded the vote.• grant a special use permit to allow a non-commercial livestock and vegetable garden operation – subject to certain conditions – on 18 acres of land on Gaither Road. A public hearing preceded the vote.• grant a rezoning request by the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority to allow 502 Franklin St. to be used and an office for its homeownership program. A public hearing preceded the vote.• approve an agreement to commit to pay half of the cost of projects approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation. An agreement adopted in 2013 is set to expire at the end of this month• adopt changes to the City’s personnel system.
City Council also held first readings on two matters:
• acceptance of $109,974 in state funds to replace a vehicle and purchase equipment and office supplies for the Sheriff’s Office.• acceptance and appropriation of $2.4 million in a settlement agreement with Duke Energy related to the coal ash accident in 2014. The settlement agreement includes a cash payment of $1.4 million to the City and $1 million in project funding.
A first reading is an introductory step required by City code before certain matters can be voted upon by City Council. This step serves to provide public notice of pending action. Council cannot vote on these matters Tuesday. The earliest votes that can take place will be the June 21 Council meeting.
Council's meeting included a business session followed by a work session. In work sessions, Council reviews non-routine matters that will be voted upon in future business meetings.
River City TV airs live all Council business sessions. The first rebroadcast will be at 8 p.m. Thursday. Watch it on cable (Comcast channel 10 and Gamewood channel 122) or streaming at RiverCityTV.org. The taped broadcast is available now on the City’s YouTube channel -- DanvilleVAGov.
River City TV does not air work sessions, but they are open to the public.