, 2015

Citizens still seek ‘sprucing up’
on White Stone streets, website

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

WHITE STONE —Sprucing up the town’s appearance and sprucing up the town’s online presence were the topics of public concern at last Thursday’s council meeting.

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Carol Johnson returned to address council for a second time in about six months regarding White Stone’s landscaping. 

The “trash is awful, the bumpouts haven’t been planted and mulched,” said Johnson. 

“Then when I came up to the town office to complain, I was shocked by how bad the town office looked. There was a big pile of dirt and if anyone came up to the office [in a wheelchair] they would get blinded by a tree limb” over the ramp.

Roy Carter was also back before council for a second time to ask if the town had investigated the start-up and maintenance costs of a website. 

“I think the town really needs a website,” said Carter. “It’s 2014.”

Carter was unhappy to learn council had suggested the White Stone Business Association start and manage the website. He said it shouldn’t all be left up to the businesses. 

“What we found out,” said Mayor Lloyd B Hubbard, “is the cost is astronomical for us.”

According to town manager Patrick Frere, start-up costs range from $2,800 to just under $5,000 and plus monthly maintenance fees for changes and updates. Frere told Carter he had spoken with town managers in Kilmarnock and Irvington to get cost comparisons. 

Council did not act on either Johnson’s or Carter’s complaints.

In other business, council voted unanimously, 3-0, to pass a resolution endorsing the Foundation for Historic Christ Church’s restoration efforts. The resolution supports the foundation in its efforts to secure grant funding for repairs to the church’s roof and structure. Randy Reeves made the motion to pass the resolution and Irving Brittingham seconded it. Reeves, Brittingham and Jennifer Hodges voted in favor. Councilmen Joe Sliakis, William Hubbard, Blair Kenyon and David Jones were not present. 

Council also decided by consensus to hold a public hearing on a new flood plain ordinance prior to its 2015 budget public hearing in June. 

According to Frere, the town along with Kilmarnock, Irvington and Lancaster County, must pass the new ordinance to stay compliant with flood plain insurance. 

“It’s a cookie-cutter ordinance,” said Frere, but it requires both planning commission and council hearings. 

Council decided to hold both the flood plain ordinance and budget hearings on the same night in an effort to save on advertising expenses. The two hearings can be advertised together.

During his monthly report, Frere told council the town has collected $4,310 in annual automobile tag fees. 

“We’re over half way to the budgeted amount,” he said. 

Police Chief Cliff Dawson said he would start issuing warnings to motorists without town tags after April 15 and start issuing tickets in mid May.

Frere also told the council he was notified by the Northern Neck Planning District Commission the town’s planning grant application and its Main Street affiliate application had both been submitted. Reeves suggested forming a block grant committee to keep council updated. Reeves, Brittingham and Mayor Hubbard agreed to serve on the committee. Other council members may be appointed at a later date.

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