Windsor signs gym lease, discusses flooding and trains
Published 4:08 pm Thursday, February 16, 2017
Windsor’s town council voted unanimously to authorize Town Manager Michael Stallings to sign the Windsor Middle School gym lease agreement during their February meeting, held Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the council chamber of Windsor’s municipal building, and discussed proposed bylaws for the creation of an advisory board for the facility.
According to Stallings, the town has been working on the layout for the gym, which will be renovated into a town center, and the council is in the final stages of the design work. The advisory board will make recommendations to council on how to use the facility and how to spend whatever budget the council decides to allocate.
Stallings added that the council is still debating who would run the day-to-day operations of the town center and that Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation has expressed interest in finding a part-time employee to do so, but would likely not create a new position for the center. The board would serve strictly in an advisory capacity with council having the final say on any decisions concerning facility use or budgetary spending, and the board would technically be more of a committee than an independent unit since council will retain control over the group’s bylaws.
As the proposed bylaws currently stand, the board would have no more than 10 members. Windsor’s town manager and the county’s director of parks and recreation would also serve but be non-voting members, except in instances of a tie, in which case the town manager would break such a vote.
During the council’s January meeting, Mayor Carita Richardson suggested the following names for appointment to the board: Brenda Stevenson and her sister, Marie, who have expressed interest in working on programs for senior citizens; Melvin Evans, a former AARP president; Kim Garrett and her teen daughter, Brooke; Jessica Slaba, who has two children and is a member of a group of young professionals, and her husband, Tony; David Smith, the town’s new parks and recreation director; and Sharon and Mark Clayton, who coordinate youth groups from different area churches.
The council briefly debated the legality of appointing Brooke Garrett, who is in high school and under the legal voting age, as a voting member of the board, but town attorney Wallace Brittle likened the issue to student government associations, which make recommendations to the school board, and said that since the board is an advisory committee only, there would likely be no issue.
The council has not yet determined a timeline for the opening of the facility.
In other business, Windsor High School Principal Daniel Soderholm briefly presented an overview of the proposed renovations to Windsor High School and several members of council discussed ongoing issues with flooding in the town, citing citizen complaints.
“I was stopped by a resident at the end of Johnson Avenue right at Church Street,” said councilman Walter Bernacki. “There’s continual flooding, a ditch comes to the corner, but there’s no culvert or grate. He subsequently contacted VDOT and so did I.”
Councilwoman Patty Flemming said that a few property owners in Windsor have the misfortune of their properties acting as drains for most of Windsor during heavy rains just because of where they are situated and the topography of the town. Stallings said that a graduate student class from Old Dominion University may conduct a drainage study of Windsor next semester.
Flemming also mentioned that her husband had recently felt that the trains coming through Windsor had been whistling louder and longer, which councilman Durwood Scott said he had also noticed. Bernacki said that they both may be right, and that some train companies are advising their engineers to start whistling earlier as they pass through towns because of increased incidents of train accidents nationwide.
The council also recognized former vice mayor J. Clinton Bryant for his 12 years of service on the council and presented him with a framed copy of their resolution recognizing his service, which they passed unanimously last month, as well as a commemorative plaque. Bryant lost last year’s election to Bernacki.
“At our December meeting, I had the opportunity to congratulate Walter on being elected,” Bryant said, accepting the resolution and plaque. “I would like to thank everyone; it’s been an honor and a privilege to serve on the town council for 12 years and I can’t think of a better group of people to serve with.”
Town Treasurer Christy Jernigan also gave a brief update on the town’s progress in transitioning to new accounting software and said that the transition had created a few delays with the town’s audit.
“Beginning balances on certain accounts, but not all accounts, were not coming over so we would have multiple accounts that were fine and two or three that are very important to our auditor that were just missing numbers,” she explained, adding that the errors were strictly computer glitches and not due to any actual accounting or internal control issues.
The council concluded by announcing that their revisions of the town code are now complete and a draft of the new code is available on the town’s website. A public hearing on the changes will be set sometime in March where citizens can comment publicly on the changes before they become law.