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With big-ticket items paid for, South Hill town budget falls 17 percent

South Boston News
With the substantial completion of South Hill’s new public works building, South Hill Exchange, Public Works Director Bill Wilson unveiled the bronze cornerstone plaque denoting the historic roots of the site as an early tobacco exchange. It will hang on the building once construction is completed in late May. / April 11, 2018
South Hill Town Manager Kim Callis unveiled a town budget that cuts spending by nearly 17 percent as members of Town Council gathered for their monthly meeting Monday night.

The $12.2 million budget for fiscal year 2018-19 comes with no increase in taxes or water/sewer rates. Callis said Roanoke River Service Authority, the supplier of the town’s water, is proposing a 2 percent increase in its rates, but the town will not be passing that increase on to residents.

The new fiscal year begins July 1, and runs through June 30, 2019.

The town has paid or nearly paid off two major expenses, a ladder truck for the South Hill Volunteer Fire Department and construction of the public works building, which is the primary reason for the decrease in the budget over the current year. Both the fire department and facilities maintenance line items dropped by more than $1 million each.

Callis said spending in the various departments may change slightly once staff finalizes the health insurance rates for the coming year. Otherwise year-over-year spending is flat.

Callis asked council members to authorize advertising a public hearing on the budget for May 14 at 7 p.m., which they did. The adoption of the budget and appropriation of funds is set for June 11 at the regular meeting of Town Council.

In other business, Council approved spending $15,000 for an engineering study at Interstate Industrial Park.

“To place the town and the South Hill Industrial Development Authority in a better position to attract industry, clearing, grading and other site work must be performed at Interstate Industrial Park so that more ‘pad ready’ [prepped for construction] acreage is available for development,” said Callis. Fill dirt is needed to level out the topography in the park.

The contractor building a new car dealership in South Hill is willing to donate the dirt being removed from that site and haul it to Interstate Industrial Park, at no cost to the town.

“We must first develop a site plan to address clearing, grading, stormwater control, erosion and sediment control and other site plans required by various regulatory agencies.”

When the site plan is complete, Callis said they can move forward with making areas in the park “pad ready.”

Callis said he, business development manager Brent Morris and council members Mike Moody and Glenn Allen met with local business and property owners on West Danville Street who were concerned with the lack of parking near their businesses.

Any efforts to increase the number of parking spaces would likely involve “removing and/or reducing the size of some of the existing bump outs and realigning traffic lanes,” said Callis.

Over the next few weeks “we will set up cones along Mecklenburg Avenue and Danville Street” in downtown South Hill to test combinations of traffic flows and signal adjustments to identify the most effective way to ensure safe and efficient traffic movement while also increasing parking.

The police department’s electronic sign will be placed in the area to alert motorists and pedestrians while the study is being done. Venture Electric and B&B Consultants are working together on the study. Once they’ve completed their review, Callis said staff will make a recommendation to Council on proposed changes.

Council agreed to hire S. Walker Construction and Graybar to install decorative streetlights along East Danville Street from Mecklenburg Avenue to Brook Avenue and along Brook Avenue from East Danville Street to South Main Street. The work is Phase IV of the downtown revitalization project. The total cost for the contractors is $217,650.

Work on the town’s public works building is substantially complete, according to the Director of Public Works, Bill Wilson. Once the weather warms sufficiently, asphalt patching will take place on Danville Street. Signage for the new building is yet to be installed. 24-inch stainless-steel letters, announcing “South Hill Exchange” will be set along the upper middle of the front of the building. A concrete pad will be installed behind the building along with a stormwater drainage system.

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