Colonial Beach raises water rates
Colonial Beach Town Council voted unanimously to raise the water and sewer rates by $10 a month for all residential locations. Ordinance 629 covers this raise in rates which is needed to help cover costs of federal mandated repairs and upgrades of the water and sewer system. There was not a single comment made by any citizens in attendance about this matter during the public hearing time.
At the same time they voted on Ordinance 628 which lowers connection fees to the water and sewer system. According to state law connection fees must directly correlate to the amount it costs to actually make the connection. The connection fee for water is now $2,250 and sewer is $3,750 down from $4,500 and $7,500, respectively.
Economic Development Chair Tim Curtin, announced that the town had not received the revitalization grant that was applied for. Town officials, revitalization committee members, and staff will be meeting with a member of the grant committee in August to see in what areas Colonial Beach is lacking. The town will be reapplying next year in hopes of qualifying. The Town of Montross had gone through the same process, in which that did not receive the grant their first year, but were recently awarded one for 2012.
Curtin further stated that it was very unusual for any locality to receive this grant on the first try. He also reminded everyone that part of the grant process was how the town appears to others and that citizens should try to handle grievances, locally, in a way that looks better to outsiders.
Gary Seeber, chair of the public works committee reported that the final number of money from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) was set at $611,000 for road maintenance. Public Works is working on getting a list of all potholes in town in order to begin repairs on them. There is also a plan to hire people, and equipment, to work and clear the ditches in town, starting with the ones that flood the worst as this is part of road maintenance that formerly fell under VDOT. As this is approximately a two year commitment prior to being completed people will need to be directly hired, and not contracted out.
VDOT, prior to turning over the roads to the town, also did all the curb cut work that is seen around town. This was part of the “Safe Routes to Schools” grant, but done out of VDOT funds. Many of the corners in town now have safer, more effective curb cuts which make traveling through town easier on disabled citizens.
Colonial Beach Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Donna Power reported that due to an lower anticipated Average Daily Membership (ADM) that the budget would have to be lowered, with additional cuts being taken. She has asked for a special meeting of the school board to be held on July 26 to discuss this. Power also requested that the town allow the school to rollover any funds left from year-to-year as is now allowed by the state. This was taken under advisement, but will not be voted on until next month.
Safety Chairman Burkett Lyburn stated that the town had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday, and weekend, with a limited number of minor incidents. He also said that many visitors were highly impressed with town citizens willingness to help them out, direct them on where to go, park, and what to do in town. The majority of visitors came from the Maryland, Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area, although visitors from as far away as Belgium and Scotland visited the Tourism Center.
Police Chief Blevins reported that 1,830 came into town on July 4 from 8 a.m. until midnight, with a total of 15,703 cars incoming from July 4 through the end of the holiday weekend. At least 5,000 people were expected to have come from out of town for the fireworks, as well as thousands of town citizens.
During the open public hearing, William Flammer, who spoke at length in June, again approached the podium with a list of complaints for the town council. He began with an issue with signage needed to be more prominent on both ends of Hawthrone Ave. Flammer stated he had seen a car traveling 40-50 MPH, bottoming out, and not stopping at Washington Ave.
His second grievance involved him stating that cop cars had been seen in town, driving at 90 miles per hour, with no lights or sirens on. Audiences members proceeded to groan and remark “Come on.” Flammer had given this reporter a sheet of his discussion topics which included his complaint against the police department that stated cops had been seen running in excess of 75 miles per hour.
Flammer stated he had contacted VDOT’s Northern Neck Residency Manager David Brown, who told him that the town received $600,000 per year in road maintenance. The town of Colonial Beach has just received this for the first time as VDOT just turned roads over to the town as of July 1. His complaint was that the ends of Washington Avenue have a large amount of sand on the surface and that this could be dangerous.
He further stated that he had contacted the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality in regards to the water sitting at Eleanor Mobile Home Park. Mayor Fred Rummage interjected that the town was working on the issue. Multiple times the council has reminded citizens that there are steps involved including waiting on other entities, such as Dominion Power, before the site can be finished. Flammer continued that the DEQ would be testing the standing water and forwarding the results to him.