Monterey Town Council March Meeting
The huge piles of snow lining the streets of Monterey from February and March winter storms are gone, but snow removal will still be on the minds of the Monterey Town Council in upcoming meetings. Town Mayor Rich Holman brought up the topic of sidewalk snow removal at last week’s council meeting. He noted that with budget preparations underway, the town needs to look at the costs incurred by having private contractors clear the sidewalks, which prompted a robust discussion among council members.
The town charter does not require the town to provide this service – in fact, the charter gives the council the authority to “require and compel the abatement and removal of all nuisances, including the removal of snow or ice from the sidewalks in front of private properties… at the expense of the person or persons causing the nuisance, or the owner or owners of the ground where the nuisance may be situated. Such expenses to be collected in the same manner as fines.”
Council member Ronald Wimer noted that an ordinance regarding removal had been adopted many years ago, but neither he nor county attorney Melissa Dowd knew of the exact wording – Dowd agreed to research the issue further. Discussion ranged from who and how the ordinance would be enforced, the requirements for temporary and absentee property owners, and liability concerns. Holman stressed that he did not want a decision made on the issues without proper research and discussion, but felt the topic needed to be brought up to spur such on.
The other controversial topic on the agenda was a report on the status of the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative’s planned renovations to it’s substation west of the town. Initially, SVEC had indicated they would replace the town water supply if their upgrades caused any issues, and Ms Dowd reported that a company attorney had gone so far as to send her a first draft of an indemnification agreement. However, prior to the Planning Commission meeting addressing the proposed upgrades, the company did a reverse on this stance, and said they did not make such agreements, and would not in this instance either, citing they would do what state and federal regulations require them to do if issues arise. Ms Dowd reported that the head of their law firm had indicated that this was a “make or break” issue – if the Board of Supervisors required them to agree to anything further before construction, then the upgrades would not occur. The supervisors did include language in the conditional use permit that underscores SVEC compliance with the state and federal regulations, especially as they pertain to environmental issues due to the proximity of the water supply. SVEC will be submitting a revised site plan, due to the discovery of unmarked graves on the property.
In other business, the Council :
- Discussed the proposed location of new trash cans in town;
- Discussed the temporary hiring of Zeke Kelly to assist in town and water needs;
- Set the date for a public hearing on proposed zoning ordinance revisions for it’s May meeting;
- Heard the population of Monterey is 138 citizens, according to the Wellman Cooper Center;
- And voted to require the Rescue Squad to pay for water usage at it’s new office location – it will not be billed for usage at it’s current location