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Clarksville readies draft budget for March 20 public hearing / February 28, 2018
Clarksville Town Manager Jeff Jones and treasurer Tara Murphy are seeking input from members of Town Council as they put together a town budget for the coming fiscal year.

At the Feb. 20 meeting of Clarksville Town Council, Jones laid out the schedule for developing the budget. A draft budget is due to go before citizens at a public hearing March 20 during the next meeting of Town Council. The final budget will be ready for approval at the meeting of June 19.

The budget will take effect beginning July 1.

In other business at the Town Council meeting last week, consulting engineer Dewberry & Associates is negotiating with bidders on the Southwest Downtown Community Project Phase II to develop a scope of work that fits within the town’s budget. The town has just under $426,000 to spend on infrastructure repairs and upgrades to the southwest area of town around Commerce and Caroline Streets, where several homes were previously rehabilitated. The initial bids were in excess of that amount.

Jones told Council, “It look like we have a plan in place that will work and come within the existing financial levels.”

The revised project scope is being reviewed by the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and Virginia Department of Transportation. Once they sign off, Jones said Council members will be asked to approve the work as well before construction takes place.

DHCD provided the funding for the project.

Also, a committee that includes members of the town planning commission is nearing completion of a rewrite of the town’s zoning ordinances. Members of the zoning ordinance rewrite steering committee will meet Wednesday, at Town Hall to review the final rough draft of the 16 articles that make up the zoning ordinance. Once approved, they will be handed off to the Planning Commission for review and approval and then to Council for final sign off.

Ben Duncan, who heads the County’s EMS-911 program, and Alex Wells, head of technology for Mecklenburg County, discussed a proposal for the towns and county to collaborate on a regional public safety system.

Jones said the county is in the process of replacing its current computer dispatch system as well as its records management system. By 2020, Clarksville and the other towns in the area will be forced to abandon their existing records management system as well, as the original vendor has left the business and the equipment is obsolete.

The county is offering an opportunity to the towns to save money by purchasing new equipment that’s compatible with what the county is acquiring.

Duncan said the benefits to first responders — police, fire, EMS — of having a shared countywide system includes better access to information that could help in solving crimes, more and better backup for police, mobile mapping with turn-by-turn directions and fastest route indicators, and automatic vehicle locators that allow dispatch to track police or other first responder units enroute to or on site at a call.

No decision was made by council as the presentation by Duncan and Wells was for information purposes only.

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