Monterey councilmembers sworn in
Monterey, Va. –
The Monterey Town Council members were sworn in by Circuit Court Clerk Lois Ralston at their meeting earlier this month. Tony Stinnett did not run in the last election and Jay Garber was elected to the open seat. This year’s Council includes Mayor Janice Warner and Councilmen Butch Washer, Dale Hammer, Don Dowdy, Ron Wimer, Francis Fenn and Jay Garber. Donnie Ferrell of the county Electoral Board was also present at the meeting to present certificates of appreciation to the Council members.
The council has been working for several months on revising the Town Charter. Mayor Warner gave a final reading of the latest charter draft and some minor revisions were made. The revised Charter was approved by the Council for publication and a public hearing on the new charter was set for the October 4th Council meeting.
In other business, the Council considered the matter of taking action against absentee property owner Ruth Ann Morrison for nonpayment of town taxes. Town Attorney Melissa Dowd made a suggestion.
“We have to make, according to the code, a good faith effort to locate this person,” said Ms. Dowd. “I have sent certified mail to three different addresses and I have looked on the Internet for Rural Development and could not nail her down. And you have now checked with Rural Development. I think we have spent enough time trying to find her. I think the next thing we do is an Order of Publication and that gets published for four weeks and then we can sell the property,” she said.
The Council approved a motion to get an order of publication from Judge Franklin the next time he is in Monterey and then to proceed with the sale of the Morrison property in Monterey. The Council also discussed the matter of the town agreement with Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative. This franchise agreement involves a Town ordinance dealing with the electric company about providing power and services with respect to clearing power line right of ways, repairing downed lines and other maintenance. The proposed ordinance includes a forty year agreement – the same as the previous agreement with Allegheny Power. Town Attorney Melissa Dowd talks about an issue related to that 40 year term.
“As you guys may remember, the proposed ordinance from Shenandoah Valley Electric is for forty years,” said Ms. Dowd. ” And according to the code, anything that is in excess of five years, you guys have to put out for bid. So if you are going to consider going with forty years, we’re going to need to put it out for bid. And you can do that to have the bids opened at your October meeting. If you don’t get any bids except for ShenValley’s bid for this service, then all you do is adopt the ordinance,” she said.
The Council voted to publish the ordinance for a public hearing at the October meeting and to put the contract for providing power services to the town out for bid. Finally, town residents Rich and Linda Holman addressed the Council about discrepancies in their water bills. A bill they received in April did not show any current meter reading or consumption of water during the two month billing period. Their next bill showed a meter reading but no water consumption. The missing information apparently caused them to be billed a higher than normal amount in a subsequent bill. The Council agreed to refund twelve dollars and sixty-four cents to the Holmans.
The next regular meeting of the Monterey Town Council will be Thursday, October 4 at 7:30 PM in the Mountain View Room of the Highland Public Library.