Windsor postpones vote on municipal code

Published 10:23 am Monday, March 20, 2017

Windsor’s Town Council voted unanimously to postpone its vote on proposed changes to the town’s municipal code during its regular scheduled meeting on Tuesday following concerns raised by councilman N. Macon Edwards III over additional changes to the code he felt should be made.

The council also held a public hearing on their other revisions to the code, which were advertised in the newspaper and posted to the town’s website for the public to review. Nobody spoke for or against the changes during the hearing.

Edwards’ additional concerns with the new draft of the code focused on several sections in which no penalty was specified for an infraction. Two examples he mentioned during the meeting were chapter 37 section one, concerning the placement of signs on street light poles or telephone poles, and chapter 73 section 10, which concerns the sale, use and possession of fireworks.

The code specifies that “where no specific penalty is provided for the violation of such provision and such violation is not described as being of a particular class of misdemeanor, such a violation shall constitute a class one misdemeanor.”

The penalty for a class one misdemeanor according to the town code is a fine of not more than $2,500 and/or confinement in jail for not more than 12 months, which Edwards thought might be excessive for some of the more minor infractions he identified.

Town Attorney Wallace Brittle clarified that the prescribed penalty is the maximum a judge could give during sentencing, not the minimum.

According to Town Manager Michael Stallings, a new public hearing following the changes Edwards suggested will not be necessary because the changes won’t substantially change the code.

During the treasurer’s report, Town Treasurer Christy Jernigan said that the treasury department has nearly completed its transition to a new accounting software called Munis, with the only thing left to transfer being utility billing, which will be migrated next month. She added that corrected versions of any real estate bills that had errors should be sent out to residents this Friday.

She also mentioned that the town should receive reimbursement from the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors for its repayment of machinery and tools taxes sometime within the next two weeks.

The council then voted unanimously to formally appropriate $100,000 from its water fund balance back into its general fund, which the council had voted to do several months ago to pay off some of its water fund debt.

They also voted unanimously to approve the bylaws for the new Windsor Town Center advisory board.

During the mayor’s report, Mayor Carita Richardson said that the town’s dedication ceremony for the new butterfly garden at the Windsor library was well attended and she had been asked by several citizens why the town no longer has signs designating it as a sanctuary for birds as well.

The council concluded by going into closed session to address possible acquisition of property.