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Doubts raised on town festivals

SoVaNow.com / May 16, 2013
The success of the Blues, Brews and BBQ festival on Friday evening, June 14 will determine just how much support Halifax Town Council offers for future such events in the town.

On Tuesday night, Council member Bill Confroy questioned the level of funding that has been budgeted to cover expenses of the event.

Mayor Dick Moore explained that no funds have been earmarked by the town, but sponsorships are being sought — which along with ticket sales revenue should cover expenses.

The June bash is one of three events that have been scheduled in the town this year. The first — the April 20 Earth Day celebration — was declared a big success by town officials. The third event is the October Halifest on Oct. 26.

However, Confroy said he has concerns about the costs of the events and wants to see a budget of expected expenditures. His concerns were echoed by Councilman Jack Dunavant: “In these tight times we need to be better stewards of taxpayers’ money.”

Finance Chairman Dennis Witt said his committee will work to bring a budget for each of the events back to Council for approval. Each will be considered on an case-by-case basis, to be judged according to their success.

The three town events are not a part of the town’s calendar for the Farmers Market — which operates from May through December — which Confroy said has been very successful in bringing people to Halifax.

In other business Council approved on first reading its $1.4 million budget for the coming year. The budget includes no real estate tax increase (the rate stays at 17.5 cents per $100 value) and no increase in the personal property tax rate ($1.68 per $100 value.)

The proposed budget does call for an increase to 50 cents per $100 value from 40 cents on the machinery and tools tax.

Also included in the budget are an $11,000 contribution to the Halifax Library and a $10,000 donation to the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department for assistance in purchasing a new truck. It also includes a two percent salary increase for town employees.

Twenty-nine percent of the budget covers administrative costs of $416,913 with two percent ($24.250) going to business development. Another three percent or $41,310 is earmarked for the operation of the municipal building while operations of the Police Department take 20 percent or $274,849 of the budget. The fire department gets three percent of $36,050.

The largest slice of the budget goes for street work — 35 percent or $500,516 — which includes $435,716 in VDOT grant funds for the Banister River Gateway Project. The final eight percent of the budget funds goes to the Sanitation Department for landscaping and waste and recycling collection.

Council also approved a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 147 member Mary M. Bethune High School Class of 1963 reunion set for Saturday, June 29. The resolution states that many of those students pursued careers serving in the Pentagon, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Postal Service, the National Maritime Administration and were hired in positions with national companies like IBM, Exxon, Blue Cross Blue Shield and AT&T or became employed with local industries like Burlington Mills, Daystrom Furniture and Craddock Terry or forged ahead as small business owners.

Council members also approved a resolution requesting VDOT to lower the speed limit along Cowford Road from Terry’s Creek for almost a mile within the town limits to 35 mph. Town Manager Carl Espy said VDOT is expected to post the proper signage denoting the change in the speed limit very soon.



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