Colonial Beach Town Council (TC) appointed Linda Brubaker to fill the seat council seat left vacant by Mike Ham due to his election to Mayor. Brubaker had applied for an earlier council position, but due to a paper mix-up was unable to be interviewed. Tommy Edwards was the sole council member who voted “nay” on Brubaker’s selection. Edwards did not comment on the reason behind his nay vote.
Cynthia Misicka and former Vice-Mayor and council member, Burkett Lyburn, were also interviewed for the position. TC spent some time in closed session discussing which applicant would be the new member of the council. All three applicants had a 20 minute time period in which they were interviewed and allowed to speak to the council.
Brubaker is a retired mother of two, grandmother of three, and great-grandmother to two. She has long ties to the Colonial Beach area; her Uncle Berkeley was killed in the “Oyster Wars” which took place from the 1880s until the 1950s in the waters of the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay.
Edwards questioned Brubaker asking why, following her earlier assertion that she would “See them in November,” she did not run for council in November of 2012. Brubaker’s answer was that the council, at the time, was unfriendly toward her. She said she had issues, at times, with former Mayor Fred Rummage, and that she thought it would not be good for the town or the council.
Gary Seeber asked her thoughts on the town continuing to have its own school system. Brubaker town did a good job with educating children. She has one grandchild in the school system at this time.
Councilmember Tim Curtin asked what Brubaker thought was the biggest issue facing the town of Colonial Beach. Brubaker’s reply was that the tax base, or lack thereof, was the biggest financial issue facing CB. She also stated that the TC needs to readdress the issue of town employees and their salaries, further stating, “We have high salaries.”
In further questioning, Jim Chiarello asked what Brubaker would do if a clear majority voted one way on an issue, but she disagreed. Brubaker replied that she would go with the majority, unless it was an issue of faith.
Wanda Goforth, who joined the council on January 1, asked what Brubaker’s views on the sale of town lands were. Brubaker stated she would look at each piece by itself, to look at whether it was a historic piece of property, and where funds from the sale might go.
In other council news, the ongoing issue of charging tax exempt organizations such as churches, fraternal organizations and other non-profits, for their water and sewer connection was open for public hearing. Brubaker spoke for St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, and Father de Rosa of the Church, asking that the town work with them, as “The Catholic Church has money, but our church does not.” She stated that the church had a small congregation of many widows.
Seeber stated that the town would not be charging tax exempt organizations if it was not required to by state law and the agencies who are granting the town grants and loans for the work on the water and sewer system. The agency that loaned the town the last monies needed for repairs has threatened to call in the loan, if the town has not complied with them on all measures.
These measures include reports on the number of connections on the system, how much water is used by each type of connection, and the money collected for each connection. At this time residential users pay $210 per quarter for their connection.
Chiarello brought up the idea of phasing in the non-profits paying for their connections over the next three years with a 50/80/100 percent schedule. He stated that this was done in Chicago to help the tax exempt organizations with getting used to paying for their water and sewer connection.
According to Seeber, the worst case scenario is that the tax exempt businesses would receive a bill for the April, May, and June period. He does not anticipate this and is figuring it will be June 1 before these groups receive a bill for this.
The next regular council meeting is Thursday, February 14 at 7 p.m.