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Dennis tapped for Clarksville council, Woerner named vice mayor

SoVaNow.com / February 10, 2021


Clarksville Town Council has a new member. Robert Dennis was appointed to replace Mike Sizemore, who resigned his seat Dec. 31 after relocating to the Richmond area.

Council members made the appointment during the Jan. 27 meeting held virtually.

Dennis, along with wife Donna, has lived in Clarksville for the past 33 years. He told members of Council that he comes to the body with no preconceived views or plans, only a desire to serve.

“I have no agenda, I’m not here to solve something I think has been done wrong or push something I’d rather see. I just want to be part of the team,” Dennis said after being approved by a unanimous vote.

Working as the chief national resources with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Dennis said he had many opportunities to move to different locales, but “Clarksville is where we wanted to be.” He retired from the USACE in 2018 after 35 years of service.

Dennis must stand for election in May 2022 at the next general election for members of Town Council. If successful, he will serve for the balance of Sizemore’s term, which would have expired in 2024.

This is Dennis’ first experience holding public office. He explained his reason for stepping forward saying, “You can’t just take, take, take. At some point you’ve got to give something back.”

Council also approved, without opposition, the appointment of Bruce Woerner to the post of vice mayor. He replaces Sizemore who held that position since 2016.

In other business, Clarksville Town Manager Jeff Jones shared news that Clarksville did not qualify for funding through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Smart Scale program. The money, if approved, would have been used to install a round-about at the intersection of Highway 58 Business and Highway 15 on the east side of Buggs Island Lake.

With the sale of the Lakeside Commerce Park to Microsoft, Jones said the forecast for water requirements from the town plant because from the “impending project” are expected to increase substantially.

Jones did not specify the nature of the project, or when construction would begin — only that the “Clarksville Water Treatment Plant will need to expand our total capacity.”

Town officials are working with a team from the Southside Planning District Commission on an application for a Virginia rural development grant. If awarded, the money will be used to develop cost projections for upgrades to the water and water treatment plants and a funding plan.

As a result of these coming changes, Jones said he has been advised by the Southside Planning District Commission to modify the town’s current request for a grant/loan currently pending before the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The combined grant/loan would be used to pay for water and sewer improvements.

The town had been seeking $3 million in combined loan and grant money from DHCD’s rural development fund. Instead, Clarksville will ask for an unspecified lesser amount to upgrade the “carbon room” at the water plant. Carbons are used at water treatment plants for taste and odor control and to ensure the removal of organic chemicals. The planned upgrade includes the installation of a machine to lift the bags of carbon up to the filter instead of it having to be done manually.

Clarksville Police Officer Brent Inscore has completed training and is now certified in Virginia to teach other officers in the proper use of Tasers. Inscore also informed council that he and Sgt. Andy Elliott are training the other members of the Clarksville Police Department in the proper use of their new cell phone apps and body cameras.

The new apps will eliminate the need for officers to double enter data from traffic stops and crime investigations. Photos and other information collected through the phones will immediately download into the department’s crime data files.

Council member Tammy Mulchi asked Inscore to look into complaints she’s receiving about speeding vehicles on portions of Shiney Rock Road. She said the residents in the area worry about their safety when walking on the edge of the road. Inscore promised to pass the concern on to other members of the force.

Jones said he is also coordinating with the Beth, David, and Scott Diamond of Clarksville Marina, the Virginia Health Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to finalize plans for upgrades and modifications to the offices and restroom facilities at the Clarksville Marina. Jones said the bathrooms need to be upgraded to meet Department of Health standards.

Council approved Jones’ request to hold off on extending the town franchise agreement with Shentel as they negotiate with the company about extending fiber-based internet services into areas of the town that were annexed in 2012.



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