By Debbie Adams
Vinton Town Council met in Chambers on June 20. Prior to the meeting, several members toured
the nearby Vinton History Museum to gain a better understanding of an agenda item on helping
to fund the installation of a cargo lift at the museum– the historic Upson House– which is owned
by the town and leased by the Vinton Historical Society.
First up on the agenda was the introduction and swearing in of a new officer in the Vinton Police
Dept.– Officer Andrew Hagy. He was introduced by Deputy Chief Tim Lawless and sworn in by
Vinton Town Manager Pete Peters.
Hagy, 29, is from Marion, Va., and a graduate of Marion High School. He earned his bachelor’s
degree in political science from Radford University in 2017. He then began his career in law
enforcement with the City of Roanoke, where he has remained until being hired by the Vinton
Police Dept. He was pinned by his fiancée, Chelsea Mundy, and accompanied by his mother,
Amanda Hagy, and his sisters, Abby and Anna.
Council held a public hearing on a proposed amendment to the town’s FY2022-2023 budget to
appropriate funding for additional milling and paving, economic development expenditures,
projected operational expenditures, capital reserves, and stormwater projects in the total amount
of $5,329,163.16 in the General Fund, Capital Fund, and Stormwater Fund.(A public hearing is
required when an amended budget exceeds 1% of the total expenditures in the currently adopted
The budget presentation was made by Assistant Town Manager Cody Sexton.
According to Sexton, when the town transferred its water and wastewater utility system to the
Western Virginia Water Authority in July 2022, the agreement allowed the town to keep the
remaining fund balances in the Utility Fund. The town had estimated those balances to be $2.5
million and budgeted that amount for capital projects in the fiscal year 2022-2023 budget.
However, the actual amount of remaining fund balances exceeded that estimate.
Sexton noted that, in addition, several revenue streams have outperformed what was anticipated
in the original budget for the past fiscal year. Economic activity is up in the Town of Vinton,
allowing the transfer of money into the Capital Reserve Fund.
For instance, pari-mutuel taxes are $200,000 higher than anticipated. Revenues from meals taxes
are up significantly, primarily due to restaurants that have opened in the past five years,
indicating that “they are being enjoyed by the community with the town reaping the benefits.”
Revenues from cigarette taxes are “robust.”
The Vinton War Memorial had a record year of bookings, leading to increased revenues. Interest
rates are high, and the town has made prudent investments which are bringing in about $25,000
per month in added revenues. The state sales tax is also “robust.” VDOT has unexpectedly
increased funding for highway maintenance which will pay for more paving in the town. Due to
a settlement with Monsanto involving contaminated water, the town has $246,000 to add to the
Stormwater Fund. Remaining ARPA funding in the amount of $1.8 million has been transferred
to the General Fund.
The list is long, but the takeaway is that the town is in excellent financial shape and virtually
debt free. Council adopted the resolution to amend the budget.
Finance Director Andrew Keen reported that the town has approximately $4 million in cash and
$7 million in investments for a total liquidity of $11 million through the end of April.
Debbie Pitts, Treasurer of the Vinton Historical Society, and Judy Cunningham, Executive
Director of the Vinton History Museum, briefed Town Council on the proposed installation of
the cargo lift at the museum to enable easier access to the second floor of the historic building.
The original plan was to add an elevator to the structure, but a price tag of $300,000 was too
costly and changes to the building would have been too extensive.
The revised cargo lift option, designed by Hill Studio, will cost approximately $163,000 with no
structural changes to the building and no loss of space for exhibits. The lift will make the
museum ADA accessible and safer for staff and visitors; currently there is only a steep, narrow
set of interior stairs to reach the second floor. Many of the museum’s thousands of Vinton
artifacts are heavy and difficult to move from floor to floor.
Seeking council’s approval, the Historical Society proposed a fundraising campaign. The
organization has been setting aside funds for the “Rising to New Heights” project for quite a
while. They would like to form a joint committee with the town, local businesses, and
community members to define and facilitate the project. Council gave the “head nod” to proceed.
In other business, council adopted a resolution appropriating $15,182 from a VRSA insurance
claim reimbursement for construction costs for water damage to the Vinton Farmers’ Market
during last year’s cold weather to the Farmers’ Market Expenditure Account for Special
Town Manager Pete Peters updated council on several projects. Demolition will resume shortly
on the downtown block damaged by last summer’s fire. The owners of the majority of the
affected properties are eager to rebuild and have hired an architectural firm to begin planning.
Milling is underway on Cleveland Avenue with paving soon to follow. There will be temporary
striping of the pavement until town-wide restriping is scheduled.
The 3rd Street Lift Station project is in its final stages; water meter replacement is also “in the
The new Pollard 107 South restaurant plans to open in July, once the ABC licensing process is
The Vinton Police Department has been successful in applying for more grant funding, receiving
two grants, one for $5,000 and another for $158,000.
The town’s annual paving program will begin in August with approximately $1.4 million to be
spent, mainly in the neighborhoods behind Kroger and Oakey’s.
The Midweek Crew of Pathfinders for Greenways will be clearing the sediment build-up from
Wolf Creek Greenway in the tunnel under Route 24. Vinton Public Works will assist.
The Town of Vinton has received its second EPA Brownfields Environmental Assessment
Program Grant in the amount of $500,000. The first grant for $300,000 leveraged funds to assist
in expediting projects for Gish Mill, Vinyard Station, the Cleveland Mart, and the proposed
Construction is expected to resume at Gish Mill in September.
Planning and Zoning received a grant of $218,000 to assist with development of a community
park at the former Vinton Municipal Pool site.
Assistant Planning and Zoning Director Nathan McClung reported on the June Community
Development Committee meeting. Topics of discussion included an expansion of the dumpster
site at the Vinton Farmers’ Market in an effort to support downtown businesses. The Hotel
Market Report and Engineered Site Plan has been completed and will be used to assist with
financial investor recruitment.
McClung said that the Planning and Zoning staff will be working to update the street light
ordinance in order to better manage light levels (control lumens) for private street lamps that are
in the town’s right-of-way. This has become an issue on Ramada Street and McClung anticipates
the complaints will spread in the future.
In council remarks, Vice Mayor Mike Stovall updated members on the proposed playground for
the Boys and Girls Clubs of SWVA program located at Vinton Baptist. The playground will be
located on the lot next to Lotz Funeral Home. The property is owned by the church. The project
is in partnership with KABOOM.
The July 4 Town Council meeting has been cancelled due to the fireworks festivities at the
Vinton War Memorial that night.