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Chase City drops plans for cigarette tax

SoVaNow.com / July 11, 2018
Chase City Town Council shelved plans to enact a 15 cent-per-pack cigarette tax Monday during the regular meeting of Council.

Ahead of the vote, Mecklenburg County supervisor Dan Tanner presented a resolution from the Board of Supervisors opposing cigarette taxes in all localities of Mecklenburg County. Tanner said the same resolution was sent to the Town of South Hill ahead of its vote last year to enact a similar tax.

Despite the opposition of county officials and local shop owners, South Hill implemented its tax, which has produced more revenue for the town than expected.

Chase City Town Manager Angela Lawrence said the money would have been used to increase salary and benefits for local police. Recently, the town lost two members of the force who left for higher paying jobs with better benefits. One moved to the Mecklenbur County Sheriff’s Office, which pays between $5,000 and $6,000 more to its officers, as well as overtime and part of the cost for health insurance.

Mayor Eddie Bratton said it now falls to Council to “discover other sources of revenue to allow Chase City to compete for law enforcement candidates. We cannot let our highly qualified officers just job hop because of the town not making every effort to be competitive.”

In other business, Council agreed to deposit nearly $1.9 million from its cemetery bequest fund into a long-term fund with VML/VACO. These funds are currently earning between 2.02 percent and 2.57 percent annual interest compared to 0.4 percent paid on money market accounts with local banks.

Parking fines for person caught parking illegally in a space reserved for handicapped persons was increased from $3 to $100 per violation. All other parking violations were increased from $3 to $25 per violation.

Council also approved changes to the town’s employment policy giving the town manager authority over employment issues, discipline and termination for all employees except the manager, town treasurer and town clerk. Council will continue to approve all decisions involving those three employees.

Bratton welcomed newly elected Council member B.J. Mull, saying, “The meeting this evening marks the beginning of the term of public service of Councilman B. J. Mull as a second generation member of the Town Council. B. J.’s father, the late Billy Mull, was a member of council some 10-plus years ago. We welcome B. J. as our newest councilman and wish him a long tenure in service to Chase City.”

“As is required by our town code, it is necessary for council to approve the slate of officers and committee members who have agreed to serve our town for the next year. In the past, this was done on the first business day of July but the Town Code does not say that but rather indicates this action is to be taken at the first meeting of the fiscal year which as it happens is this meeting,” Mull said.

Lisa Gillispie was then reappointed to the position of vice mayor, and Virginia W. Walker, Cynthia G. Gordon, and J. A. Jordan were also reappointed by Council to serve as treasurer, cerk of council, and police chief respectively.

Committee appointments were also made:

» Finance Committee – Mayor Eddie Bratton, Treasurer Virginia Petersen and Lisa Gillispie as Chair

» Police Committee – Mayor Eddie Bratton, Charles Willis, J.A. Jordan

» Cemetery Committee – Lisa Gillispie and Marshall Whitaker

» Personnel Committee – Eddie Bratton and Brenda Hatcher

» Buildings & Grounds – Charles Willis and Marshall Whitaker

» Fire Committee – Marshall Whitaker and Brenda Hatcher

» Water, Sewer and Sanitation Committee, Charles Willis and B.J. Mull

» Street Committee – B.J. Mull and James Bohannon

» Airport Committee – James Bohannon and Jeffrey Gurley

» Planning Commission – C.L. Garner, Jr., Glenn Wood, M.J. Colgate, Jr., Cynthia Gordon and James Bohannon

» Industrial Development Authority – Monty Hightower, Thomas C. Emory, Jr., Carlton Gurley, David Lipscomb, R.W. Richards, Jr., Herbert Myrick and Braxton Rutledge

» Housing Advisor Appeals Board – Richard Magann, Wayne Pruett, Robert Lee Walker, Joseph Keeton and Jim Castle

» Board of Zoning Appeals – Gwen Singleton, Charles Ramsey, James Bohannon, Joseph Epps and Pauline Keeton

» Grievance Committee – William T. Carter, Frances Castle, Raymond Toone, Connie Tucker and Mary Anne Wood

» Advisory Committee on the handicapped – Elic Trent and Eddie Bratton

Bratton announced, “the Community Watch Meeting will meet next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the fire department meeting room. This year, the meetings will continue through the summer months to keep the events going that have been planned as a result of the community meetings.”

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