Below are the Mayors Notes from the May Council Meeting on May 18th.
The first business to attend to was the public hearing on the proposed 2016 – 2017 budget. The only comment came from Town Treasurer Susan Slate who mentioned that our health insurance for Town employees was going to be 14% higher than expected. Thankfully, we had a 15% buffer built into our budget for this possibility so there was no issue with the increase as far as the budget was concerned. The public hearing was closed and Council voted unanimously to approve the budget.
FANTASTIC NEWS: Town Manager Terry Tilley announced that the State Public Assistance Program Management awarded the Town $62,081 for the sewer line repair that was needed following last Fall’s flooding. The repair cost the town over $90,000 and we really did not expect to get any help from the state. Terry worked with several folks from the state in hopes of getting something to help us out with our unexpected and expensive sewer line repair. We are very lucky and blessed to have recieved this funding, it was more than we hoped for and was happily accepted by the Town. A BIG Thanks to Terry for his persistance and efforts to secure this funding.
Stuart FD Cheif Buddy Dollarhite addressed the Town Council to announce the Town reciving an ISO (Insurance State Office) rating of 5 which is fantastic for a Town of our size. The ratings are from 1 to 10 with 1 being the best. In order to achieve a rating of 1 a FD would have to have a fulltime staff, brand new equipment, and millions of gallons of water available for fire suppression among many other things. Our previous ISO rating was a 7 and now has improved to a 5 which is especially difficult to accomplish. Congradulations to Buddy and the entire Fire Department.
In addition to his ISO announcement Cheif Dollarhite asked for the Councils blessing to trade in one of the town’s fire trucks in order to get a newer one. The FD wants to trade in a 21 year old truck to get something newer. The FD has money set aside for the purchase of a truck but will also need to use the trade in value of our oldest truck that the newer truck will replace. The Council did give their blessing on trading in the old truck in order to get a newer replacement truck.
Denny Alley of The Patrick County Music Association addressed the Council and talked about the Music Association and the number of locals and tourists that they bring into Stuart and the County every month. He mentioned that the Association is sponsered by local businesses and also supports several additional charities in the area. Denny asked for a donation of what ever the Town could spare to help the Music Association. The Town Council will take the request under advisement and possibly vote on it later in our budget year. Comments were made that the Association should make more of an effort to bring in some younger audienceses for at least some of their concerts.
Wayne Kirkpatrick of DRBA came in to let the Council know that the group that was marking Town storm drains was basically finished for this school year and had marked and or located more than 47 storm drains along Wood Brothers drive alone. The group had made a map of the locations of all of those storm drains including numbering them and getting the GPS coordinates. He provided that map to the town for future use. Thanks to Wayne and all of those who helped with this project we hope it will help keep Mayo River a little cleaner.
Mike Gravely of Outdoor Entertainment addressed the Town Council to ask for continued support for the Main Street trick or treat Holloween party and the 4th of July movies in DeHart Park. The Main Street Holloween party was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce uptown buisness group and the Town does offer some of our Festival equipment to help out the activities. The Town also contributes our Fire Department and money to the DeHart Park board to help with the fireworks every year. It is the Town’s understanding that there will be vendors and a classic car cruse in during the 4th of July this year. The Council indicated that they will review Mr. Gravely’s request.
The Council voted to purchase Christmas decorations to be placed on light poles throughout the Town during the Christmas season. Our current decorations are nearly 20 years old and are beginning to show their age.
Finally, Terry Tilley mentioned that we have the oppertunity to aquire a rail car “red Caboose” to be put on display as a tribute to the old Dick and Willy train line that terminated in Stuart and ran its last run to Stuart 74 years ago. Terry said that we had been looking for a caboose for a while to partner with the county and place it somewhere along or near the old rail lines and Rail Trail that the Dick and Willy ran on many years ago. The cost of the caboose is approxamately $13,000 and about $10,000 to ship. This is not counting the approxamately 30 feet of track that must be placed under it or the rehabilitation that the caboose may require. Terry will contact County Officials and other intrested parties who may want to contribute to the tribute caboose and report back to Council next month.