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Halifax Town Council approves $1.46 million budget

SoVaNow.com / June 12, 2014
Halifax Town Council on Tuesday evening approved its $1.46 million budget for the coming year, which calls for no increases in taxes or fees. Real estate tax rates remain the same at 17.5 cents per $100 value, with personal property tax rates continuing at $1.68 per $100 value, and the machinery and tool tax rate steady at 50 cents per $100 value.

Included in next year’s budget is an $11,000 contribution to the local library system, and $12,000 for a new fire truck.

Also, two part-time employees — one in the police department, the other in the sanitation department —will move to full-time status.

Council members also set a public hearing for July at which time they will consider the new fines for parking violations.

Most parking violations currently carry a $10 fine, but are recommended to be increased to $25. Fines for parking in handicapped spaces are recommended to double from the $100 current penalty to $200.

Council, however, delayed taking action on a proposal establishing sick leave and vacation time to allow members more time to study what Mayor Dick Moore termed “a complicated issue.”

Town Manager Carl Espy advised that he is seeking estimates from qualified contractors to demolish four vacant derelict buildings, as well as clearing the surrounding brush and debris. Three of the four structures are located on Back Street, with the fourth on Cowford Road.

Espy said proposals for the demolition are due by the end of business day on Friday, June 27.

Council members were surprised to learn that the Virginia Department of Transportation has increased the speed limit on U.S. 501 from the south end of the Banister River bridge to the Sportsman’s Club (near the intersection of State Route 360) from 35 mph to 45 mph. The action became effective on May 23 when signage was posted along the route.

According to a letter from Residency Administrator Kenneth Martin, the increased limit came after a speed study by VDOT was requested last June by a citizen. In his letter Martin wrote “most drivers do not operate their vehicles at 35 mph and we continue to receive input from drivers who have concerns with the low speed limit.”

Good news came during the committee workshops held prior to council’s regular meeting as Marsha Hite, president of the Halifax Village Association, reported that 75 percent of the funding needed for the Community Clock Project has been collected.

Hite said she expects bids to go out soon for construction of the clock plaza, which will be located at the front of the Halifax Marketplace on South Main Street.

Event Coordinator Rebecca Ramey reported on this past Friday Night Jams, noting that there were 189 paid guests, down slightly from last year’s attendance, but overall well received. She praised the performance of both bands.

Tobacco Apache and Barrelhouse, which she said “far exceeded my expectations.”

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