VINTON–Vinton Town Council met on June 7 to approve a budget and appoint a new town manager.
First Police Chief Thomas Foster introduced a new police officer–Andrew DiCarlo. He has worked as a Deputy Sheriff in the Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office for about four and a half years in the Jail Security Division.
DiCarlo, age 26, is a native of Roanoke who was home-schooled from second grade through graduation in 2008. He spent a great deal of time in his youth volunteering at his church, Harvest Baptist, in southeast Roanoke. He began working in construction at age 17.
He became interested in law enforcement at a young age. He says he has always loved being able to help and interact with people and when he was 21 he began planning a career in law enforcement.
He married his wife Elizabeth on April 30, 2016, and on May 31 was hired by the Vinton Police Department.
Council next presented the Vinton Treasurer/Finance Department with their 21st annual Certificate for Excellence in Financial Reporting (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. The CAFR is a detailed presentation of the municipality’s total financial condition and the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. The CAFR award is presented by the Government Finance Officers Association and signifies that the town uses best practices and is transparent in its financial dealings.
Vice Mayor Hare commented that receiving the CAFR “has now become routine for us” with Treasurer and Finance Director Barry Thompson as the driving force behind the award. Thompson gave credit to the Finance Department and town council “for making me look good.”
In the “Citizens Comments and Petitions” section of the meeting, Roy McCarty who lives on Jackson Avenue near downtown Vinton brought to the attention of council that the area has become “inundated” with deer who are destroying home gardens and property. He urged council to once again hire a full-time animal control officer.
Chief Foster said that he hopes to restore the animal control position in the near future as the Police Department has been suffering a personnel shortage in recent years. He hopes the department will be at full manpower by fall. He stated that he will consult with other localities to see how best to control the deer population in the area. Roanoke County is assisting with animal control issues currently.
Vice Mayor Hare explained that the police department is not at fault, but that town council, in an effort to reduce costs, eliminated wildlife control services in recent years.
Council voted to approve the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2017. Anne Cantrell from the Finance Department presented the proposed budget of $12,613,788, with revenues and expenditures in the General Fund of $8,629,845; of $3,684,151 in the Utility Fund; and $299,792 in the newly created Stormwater Fund. The Stormwater Fund was created from both General and Utility funds as a way to track stormwater expenses.
The budget includes a two percent increase in pay for full-time and part-time employees (not including town council) with market adjustments for some positions as identified through the compensation study completed by the Human Resources Department.
There were no increases in real estate or personal property taxes this year. There was an increase in law enforcement funding from the state after several years without.
The budget reflects CIP funding of $85,000 for replacement of an ambulance and maintenance for Garthright Bridge in the General Fund and $305,250 for various, much-needed CIP projects in the Utility Fund. Those include replacement of several water and sewer lines, generator connections at two wells, an upgrade to the Meter Reading System, a mini-excavator, a Skid Steer loader, a sewer rodding machine, a sewer line acoustic inspection system, and design and engineering for the Third Street lift station.
Council adopted a resolution concerning a residency policy for council appointed officers which will require the Town Manager, Town Treasurer, Chief of Police, and Fire Chief to reside within the town’s utility service area which includes the incorporated Town of Vinton as well as part of an unincorporated section of Roanoke County.
Council next voted to appoint Barry Thompson, who has been serving since January as Interim Town Manager, in addition to his positions as Treasurer and Finance Director, as permanent Town Manager.
Councilman Doug Adams congratulated Wayne Guffey on being elected chief of the Vinton First Aid Crew. Chris Sayre will serve as Assistant Chief; Aaron Albertson as Captain; Greg Meinel as First Lieutenant for training; and Steve Thrasher as Second Lieutenant for equipment. Jason Peters will serve as Sergeant; Teresa Rogers as Secretary; Tom Philpott as Chaplain; and Jordan Fifer as reporter.
Thompson updated council on continuing water and sewer problems on Hardy Road where there has been a water leak for several weeks and subsequent failure of a pump controlling the leak. Town staff and Public Works have concluded that it is time to do exploratory digging to locate the problem.
Sink holes on Jefferson and on Chestnut have been repaired. The pipes have been replaced at the Pine Street sink hole near Thrasher Memorial, and the road has been re-opened to through traffic. That sink hole was the result of a severe rainstorm.
A briefing followed on changes to the Itinerant Vendors ordinance and Mobile/Temporary Food Unity Policy and License information, with discussion to be continued. Proposed changes to the ordinance center on reducing the license tax from a prohibitive $500 to $50 each year.
Councilwoman Sabrina McCarty reminded council members that the new Twin Creeks Brewery opening in the fall on Pollard Street hopes to partner with local restaurants but most likely will also need food trucks to serve its patrons.
Anita McMillan, Director of Planning and Zoning, briefed council on the petition from Roanoke County to rezone the former Vinton Library property from Residential Business to General Business to accommodate a full-service Macado’s restaurant. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal on June 9 at 7 p.m.
Council then moved into closed session to discuss appointments to boards and commissions.