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City Council will meet Tuesday, June 21, in a business session at 7 p.m., followed by a work session. Both sessions are open to the public.
The business session will be held in the Council Chambers on the fourth floor of the Municipal Building, which is located at 427 Patton St.
The work session will be held on the same floor, but across the hall in the Council Conference Room. In work sessions, Council reviews non-routine matters that will be voted upon in future business meetings.
During the business session, City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution authorizing the removal of the Long Mill Dam, which is the low-head dam located adjacent the Danville Family YMCA. City staff recommends removal of the dam for safety reasons.
The dam was built in 1894 by Dan River Power & Manufacturing Co. to provide waterpower to the Long Mill building. The dam, which spans the full width of the river and is approximately five feet in height, currently serves no function.
Low-head dams pose a danger because as the water flows over the dam and drops to the lower level, the force creates a backwash or backward movement of water toward the dam that can trap anything that floats.
The City took ownership of the dam in November 2012 with a deed of gift from The River Partnership. Public safety around the dam is a greater concern with recent and proposed development. The new YMCA and the extension of the Riverwalk Trail on the north bank of the river have attracted people to the area in the immediate vicinity of the dam, posing an increased safety hazard. In addition, the planned riverfront park on the south bank most likely will introduce additional people to the dam’s vicinity.
There are environmental benefits associated with dam removal including a positive impact to the floodplain and a potential improvement to the river's ecosystem. Dam removal also opens up waterways to navigation.
The options to dam removal are to leave the dam as it is or to modify the dam to remove the risks. The Department of Game & Inland Fisheries supports removal of the dam. The Virginia Municipal League Insurance considers this dam to be an attractive nuisance, and it has advised that leaving the dam as it is may expose the city to liability should someone get hurt.
The cost of removal is estimated to be $57,200.
In addition to the budget, City Council has votes scheduled on the following 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.• reduction of curbside recycling frequency from weekly to the first and third Thursdays of each month. The reduction of frequency would lower the annual cost from $180 to $90.• appointments to 17 candidates to eight boards and commissions, including the airport commission, Danville Development Council, utility commission and social services advisory board.• authorization for the issuance of bonds up to $7.6 million to finance the acquisition, construction and equipping of various capital projects. A public hearing will precede the vote.
A first reading will be held on whether to appropriate nearly $1.7 million for economic development project incentives for Project Axis and Project Cardinal. 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 this matter Tuesday. The earliest vote that can take place will be the July 5 Council meeting.
For the work session, City Council will review monthly financial statements and discuss an emergency access for the Pinetag neighborhood and term limits for members of the Industrial Development Authority.
In addition to the business and work sessions, a special session will be held at 5:30 p.m. for consultation with legal counsel. This session will be closed to the public as allowed by state law.
River City TV, the city’s government access channel, will air the business session. Watch it live on cable (Comcast channel 10 and Gamewood channel 122) or streaming on the River City TV Facebook page, or the city's YouTube channel – DanvilleVaGov.
River City TV does not air work sessions, but they are open to the public.