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Danville City Council – LIVE! (6/7/16)

SouthsideCentral was LIVE! at Danville’s Municipal Building for Tuesday’s Danville City Council meeting. We’ve got the most comprehensive recap of the meeting and lots of photos, so enjoy this article.

We’re underway! Everybody is here tonight. Fred Shanks does the prayer and leads the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mark McFaddin & Ken Gillie are motorcycle instructors and pick up a proclamation for National Ride To Work Day.

Paul Bacon, the president of DanChem leads off the public comment section. He praises the new Large Industrial power rate plan and says that the plant is adding five new jobs because of the cost savings.

Cecil Bridgeforth asks about the timeframe for demolishing two condemned houses in Almagro.

Sonya Ingram, president of the Danville Historical Society, talks about and passes out information about the group’s coming events. Nothing for us at the media table, so there.

Two ladies speak to keep the White Mill Dam.

And that’s the end of the public comment section.

I spoke to the ladies and gave them high praise for being brave enough to sit on the front row. Heh.

The minutes are approved and we move to old business first. The main feature tonight is the official approval of the new fiscal year’s budget. Alonzo Jones says he will vote no because of the dependence of increased electric rates. (CORRECTION: I misheard what Alonzo said. He showed my his prepared remarks saying that he would not vote “no” on the budget.) Gary Miller says the electric rate increase was needed because of the deficit. Everybody else concurs that the electric rate was needed except Lee Vogler. He says he was against the electric rate increase but he’ll vote for the budget anyway. Alonzo is hung out to dry on this. All of the budgets pass.

Next, we move to new business. That starts off with the monthly rezoning and special use permits from last month’s Planning Commission meeting.

While we take a look around, here’s one side of tonight’s audience.

And here’s the other side of the audience.

Gus Dyer is up first.

Fred Shanks notes that this rezoning could lead to townhouses being built on the properties. Ken Gillie explains it all.

Dyer’s rezoning is approved along with everything else. That includes a permit for Urban Agriculture to a man with remote land near the 265 bypass.

Corrie Teague speaks for the owners of the old Schewels building on High St. They need a special use permit to build their apartment project.

The annual personnel update is approved and there’s a first reading to formally accept the Duke Energy settlement into the city’s budget. That’s just a formality, as the settlement has been signed and is complete.

Whoops. We missed the representative from Virginia’s Game & Inland Fisheries. He was hiding in plain sight on the front row.

Around the horn time. City Manager Ken Larking notes that Danville was recognized in a Virginia Business magazine for the propane-fueled fleet project. James Buckner has nothing. Heh. City Attorney Clarke Whitfield is congratulated for some legal recognition he’s received. Gary Miller recognizes Steve DelGiornio & Rick Barker for plans to open a new restaurant beside the museum. Buddy Rawley talks about the geese problem with them crapping all over everything. Lee Vogler has nothing to say in his around the horn session and we’re all amazed. Heh again.

Let’s move to the work session…

We lead off with boards & commissions appointments. The main point of interest is Trina McLaughlin to replace the term-limited Bob Schasse. Mike Nicholas is to be reappointed, and Fred Shanks semi-questions that, hinting that his attendance record hasn’t been good. Nothing changes and Nicholas is back for another term.

Now to the White Mill Dam. Public Works director Ric Drazenovich makes a fair and objective presentation of the Keep, Modify and Remove options.

This almost looks spooky.

Gary Miller makes his case for Remove based on safety. Fred Shanks says the Modify option is out, but endorses Keep because of the beauty. One Keep, One Remove so far.

Lee Vogler points out that few people really know about the proposed waterfront park around the dam area. I’ve talked and written about that but it remains a mystery to most people.

Everybody has made their point, so Sherman Saunders asks for a straw poll The results show 5 for Remove (Saunders, Miller, Rawley, Campbell, Jones), 1 for Keep (Shanks), 3 for Undecided (Gilstrap, Buckner, Vogler). That means it will go on the June 21st business agenda. If dam supporters want to save it from demolition, they’re going to have to lobby hard. It’s going to take one of the five Remove votes to switch and all three of the Undecided council members to go to Keep. That’s going to be a very tough thing to pull off.

The rest of the work session goes quickly. The city will continue to pick up glass as the curbside recycling goes to bi-monthly pickups, and James Buckner’s idea to start trolley service between Ballou Park, Averett and downtown gets the green light to proceed.

It’s a closed session for an economic development, so we’re done here. Somehow the “Program Update” got moved back to after the closed session, so it’s just not worth it to wait for that. Sorry. folks. That needs to be moved back before the closed sessions so that people can hear what’s going on.

And there you go. Thanks for reading the most detailed recap of Tuesday night’s Danville City Council. We’ve put 13 photos in this article, but we’ve got enough to do a BonusCentral article of additional photos later in the week.

6 comments to Danville City Council – LIVE! (6/7/16)

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