Still no nominees for ward 5 school board

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Franklin’s city council remains without any nominees for the vacant ward five seat on the Franklin City Public Schools school board following a second public hearing on the matter, held during the council’s regular scheduled meeting on Monday.

The council did, however, receive three nominations for the vacant ward four seat and, instead of closing the public hearing entirely, made a unanimous motion to close only the public hearing for ward four and to keep the ward five public hearing open through the council’s Feb. 9 meeting, which will exempt the council from having to re-advertise the hearing.

The three nominees for the ward four seat on the school board are Michael W. Foreman, Mona Murphy and Marchelle F. Williams.

Foreman was nominated by Lawyer Artis, who highlighted Foreman’s education and the fact that he has lived in Franklin all his life in his nomination. Foreman received a second nomination from Robert Tyler.

Murphy was nominated by Dr. Alvin Harris and Alice Bryant, who cited Murphy’s dedication to working with children in Franklin, including Bryant’s.

“She’s worked with me and she’s worked with my kids,” Bryant said. “She finds programs for kids during the summertime. It’s hard to find programs for kids during the summertime here in Franklin.”

Williams nominated herself and was also nominated by her neighbor, Joanna McBride. In her self-nomination, Williams cited her educational background, her past experience as a teacher with the Greensville County School System, and her current work as a case manager with the Western Tidewater Community Services Board.

The council will conduct interviews of approximately 45 minutes with each candidate at a date to be determined prior to making appointments for the ward four seat.

In other business conducted during the meeting, the council voted unanimously to pass budget amendment 2017-07, which accepts a donation of $5,000 from Enviva Holdings to be used to amend the Fire and Rescue budget furniture and office equipment line item.

The budget amendment also accepts $12,700 in grant funds from the Camp Family Foundation to support the operations of the city’s police department and Franklin and Hunterdale fire departments. The Franklin Police Department and Franklin Fire and Rescue Department will each receive $5,000 from the grant funds, with the remaining $2,700 going to the Hunterdale Fire and Rescue Department.

Also included in the budget amendment is $10,000 in grant funds from Franklin Southampton Charities, also intended for the Franklin and Hunterdale fire and rescue departments, which will each receive $5,000.

The final budgetary change listed in the amendment is an adjustment to the fiscal year 2016-2017 Smart Beginnings budget by $5,343 to reflect a reduction in actual carryover funds from fiscal year 2015-2016. The amount of projected carryover had previously been reported as $38,668 but end-of-year financial reports reflected an actual carryover of $33,325.

Also discussed during the meeting was the city’s writ of special election for the ward six council seat. The election will be held May 2 to replace interim representative Donald Scarboro and serve out the ward six term, which expires June 30, 2018.

To be listed on the ballot by election day, candidates must be qualified to vote for and hold the office sought, must be a resident of Virginia for at least one year prior to the date of the election, must be a ward six resident of Franklin by March 7, and must have at least 125 signatures of qualified voters residing in ward six by March 7 or be endorsed by a political party by March 13.

The last day to register to vote in the special election will be Monday, April 10 and the deadline to get an absentee ballot will be April 29.

During the city manager’s report, the council received an update on the South Quay Bridge project, on which the Virginia Department of Transportation is expected to begin construction in the summer of 2020. The new bridge is to be the same height as the U.S. Route 58 bridge over the Blackwater River.

The council also voted unanimously to name Vice Mayor Barry Cheatham to be the voting member of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization with Mayor Frank Rabil serving as an alternate voting member, and City Manager R. Randy Martin serving as the non-voting member.

The city of Franklin is also expecting to receive a $34,862 rebate from the Southeastern Public Service Authority, which will go into the city’s reserve funds.

The rebate comes as a result of the city paying extra dollars to SPSA in the form of tip fees, applied to SPSA’s waste stream beginning in 2013 to establish a tip fee stabilization fund. According to Martin, this fund was intended to be used to keep the base tip fee at no more than $125 per tone of waste for the duration of the current use and support agreement between SPSA and its member communities, but SPSA was able to keep the tip fee at $125 without dipping into the fund. Now, SPSA has determined they no longer need the stabilization fund, so the money paid into it by various member communities, including Franklin, is being refunded.

The city also received one proposal for getting a third party independent analysis of the city’s and county’s existing water and sewer infrastructure. The city chose to seek proposals for analysis of its water and sewer systems as the first step in its pursuit of creating a water and sewer authority that would consolidate the infrastructures of both Southampton County and the city of Franklin, as was the recommendation of a study the city completed last year.

The council concluded by going into closed session to discuss appointments to boards.