Town council meeting 10/13

At its most recent meeting on October 13, the Altavista Town Council discussed speed cameras for local school zones, an AEDA proposal for economic development in town and how the town’s CARES Act funds are to be spent.

The Chamber of Commerce provided an update, announcing that 2021 will be the last year it hosts Uncle Billy’s Day, though it will be willing to work with other local groups to give them the tools to plan it in the future. It also received the town’s approval to begin preparations to host a reverse Christmas Parade later this year.

AOT also provided an update. The Scarecrow Stroll is currently underway, and AOT is also making preparations for Small Business Saturday next month. AOT was also able to facilitate the town’s selection to participate in the Main Street Idea Pitch, a statewide contest in which towns compete for a $5,000 grant to improve their downtown areas. Altavista is currently in the top five in the state in the contest.

AOT also received $1,100 from the town to produce glass town of Altavista-themed ornaments to sell for an AOT fundraiser. AOT is expected to reimburse the town after the ornaments are made.

Council moved to approve the AEDA’s proposal for a program to revitalize and develop the downtown area and bring in industry and facilitate workforce development. The town will have the option of spending up to $100,000 per year on economic development projects related to the plan, though this money does not have to be spent unless appropriate projects are identified. A tenet of the plan is to find ways to create incentives for selling or improving vacant or underutilized buildings in the downtown area.

Next, council approved a $3.9 million contract to provide electrical upgrades to the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The contract was awarded to English Construction. Two council members with potential conflicts of interest recused themselves from voting on the award of the contract.

Council also approved a preliminary plan prepared by town staff for the uses of the $594,000 it received from Campbell County in the form of CARES Act money, including gratitude payments for town employees, funds for business assistance, improvements to town buildings including better sound and video equipment and broadband capabilities and other costs. The plan also allocates much of the funds towards offsetting current town costs. This frees up town money, which otherwise would have covered such costs, for future use.

Council also discussed APD Chief Tommy Merricks’ proposal for speed cameras in local school school zones. The proposed cameras record whether a driver is going ten miles per hour or more over the speed limit in the area during school hours. If a driver is speeding in the area, the cameras send a ticket to a driver’s address. The tickets would be considered a civil penalty, and will not affect one’s driving record. They will likely cost drivers $100.

Council gave Merricks approval to move forward on the camera project.

Council also discussed the placement of new signs in local parks, including one commemorating John H. Moseley, a leader in the community of Altavista and prominent African American citizen in the early 1900s. Assistant town manager Amy something had prepared mock-ups of the signs for council to look at.

Council also heard from AOT about their new pop-up program in which $10,000 will be available for specially-selected local entrepreneurs to pay their rent for three months while starting a business at a location in downtown Altavista. The goal of the program is to help foster new business in the town by defraying initial rent costs. Council approved the program.