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The original item was published from 1/4/2017 4:00:00 PM to 2/1/2017 12:26:48 PM.

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Danville, VA Local Government News and Announcements

Posted on: January 4, 2017

[ARCHIVED] City Council amends city budget for bond proceeds

Municipal Building exterior photo

City Council voted Tuesday night to amend the city budget to utilize $5.4 million in bond proceeds for various projects, including nearly $2.2 million for Danville Public Schools capital projects.

The list of school projects does not include as originally planned the $1.6 million to renovate a building and purchase equipment for a precision machining program at George Washington High School. That project will be financed instead through another source of bonds — Qualified Zone Academy Bonds — that will be secured and appropriated within the next several weeks.

In addition to capital needs for schools, the bond proceeds approved last night will be used to pay for various City capital projects:

  • $500,000 for the next phase of reconstruction of Riverside Drive,
  • $468,000 for roof replacements,
  • $440,677 for airport improvements,
  • $335,000 to purchase voting machines,
  • $275,000 for elevator upgrades in city buildings,
  • $275,000 for heating and air conditioning upgrades in city buildings,
  • $266,000 for parks paving and recreation facilities improvements,
  • $200,000 for fire equipment,
  • $75,000 to purchase a crime scene vehicle,
  • $33,000 for the regional fire training center.

All of the projects are part of the City’s capital improvement plan that City Council adopted in June as part of the budget for the current fiscal year, which began July 1 of last year and ends June 30 of this year.

In other matters last night, City Council voted to:

  • Test a fee schedule that would waive transaction fees when customers pay their utility bills online by credit cards and debit cards. Fees for echeck payments would drop from $2 to $1 per transaction under this schedule. The schedule will be used for a one-year trial beginning July 1. During the trial, the City will absorb the cost of the fees.
  • Rezone property on Colquhoun Street adjacent to the W.W. Moore Jr. Detention Center. The rezoning will allow the property to be consolidated with the juvenile detention facility.
  • Transfer ownership of a City-owned lot located between Lynn and Craghead streets to the Industrial Development Authority. The lot was used by Durham Hosiery. The IDA owns the adjacent properties and is planning to develop a parking lot to serve the private development taking place on the 500-600 blocks of Craghead Street. This parcel intersects the proposed parking lot and is needed to provide an entrance into the lot from Craghead Street.
  • Appoint John Laramore to the Industrial Development Authority to fill an unexpired term.

In addition to these votes, City Council held a first reading on two matters:

  • A budget amendment to provide for receipt of a grant in the amount of $10,091 to promote recycling and to provide materials and supplies for educational programs and litter collection.
  • A budget amendment to provide for receipt of $3.2 million in federal and state funding to rehabilitate a taxiway that provides access to the primary runway at Danville Regional Airport.

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 could not vote on the budget amendment Tuesday. The earliest vote that can take place will be the Jan. 17 City Council meeting.

Mayor John Gilstrap presented a certificate of recognition to the Rev. R.J. Barber Jr., known affectionately as “Brother Bob” to most citizens. On Monday, Barber marked the 55th anniversary of his daily radio broadcast “Tabernacle time.” The program is the oldest daily religious broadcast in the nation and is heard twice daily on local radio. Barber also served as pastor of the Baptist Tabernacle for more than 20 years.

During the open communications segment of City Council’s business session, two residents of the Old West End neighborhood expressed concerns over the homicide rate in the city during 2016.

The mayor and other members of Council reiterated steps being taken. At retreat in October, Council made reducing crime rate top priority. Last month, City outlined strategies for reducing the number of violent crimes. 

The issue will be addressed further on Saturday when City Council will be meeting with the School Board for a daylong retreat to discuss ways to improve education.

Vice-mayor Alonzo Jones said everyone in the city has to participate in this effort to reduce violent crime, from the police department to schools and parents.

“How do [parents] not know their child has a gun; not know what they’re doing,” he asked, noting other high-priority goals, such as improving education and helping the city grow, will not happen if the violent crime rate is not “attacked.”

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.

In Tuesday’s work session, City Council reviewed the Danville Science Center’s master plan for the center’s future. Council also scheduled a vote at its Jan. 17 business session on a resolution authorizing a second phase of the Pine Street storm drainage project. The project will improve the existing inadequate system, which is causing flooding behind and under the houses on the south side of the street. Danville Redevelopment Housing Authority  owns the majority of the homes on Pine Street that are affected. The second phase will use federal money to safeguard the investment and rehabilitation of the homes on this street and the quality of life for its current and future residents.

The work session concluded with a closed meeting as allowed by state law to discuss a prospective business or industry and to discuss acquisition of real property or disposition of publicly held real property.

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). The taped broadcast is available now on River City TV’s Facebook page.

River City TV does not air work sessions, but they are open to the public.

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