COVID kills town music series and Labor Day plans, while council expands water plant

By Clint Parker

Weaverville – The Weaverville Town Council continued meeting via video for their regular monthly town council meeting on Monday night (July 25).

After council housekeeping items were dispensed with, the board first attacked the consent agenda where they heard the tax collector’s settlement report for 2019-2020, which included nearly $50,000 left to be collected. It further incorporated a budget amendments for 2019-2020 for an ABC distribution for the quarter ending June 30, 2020, where the town received $1,189.62 for alcohol education and $849.73 for law enforcement. Additionally, the Town’s Fire Department received a private donation from the public of $100. 

The consent agenda further contained a Pay & Classification Plan, which is reviewed annually with the positional pay plan having no change in salaries. Two changes in positions were including the removal of tax collector due to Buncombe County becoming the town’s tax collector. There was a title of deputy police chief to assistant police chief in anticipation of a restructuring change in the police department. 

The consent agenda also contained a water commitment extension for The Holston Development at 135 Monticello Rd and the appointment of Andrew Nagle as the town council liaison to the planning and zoning board.

While there is usually no discussion needed for the consent agenda, Councilman Doug Jackson asked about one taxpayer, King Bio, which he said made up 75% of the delinquent taxes and about tax debts more than 10 years old.  Weaverville Town Attorney Jennifer Jackson said the town could not collect taxes on properties in bankruptcy and while they only could enforce payment of overdue taxes 10 years in arrears, if someone wanted to pay taxes older than that, they would accept them. The consent agenda then passed.

In her report to the board, Weaverville Town Manager Selena Coffey said the town had applied for COVID relief in the amount of $47,365.17. She also expected the order not to disconnect utilities, by the governor because of COVID, would end in a few days. Out of 2,945 water accounts, there are 149 that have delinquent balances.

She furthermore said after talking with Weaverville Mayor Al Root, the remaining August and September Saturday Summer Series events had been canceled due to COVID concerns.  Councilman Andrew Nagle recommended live-stream performances on Facebook to help out the musicians. Coffey asked that she be able to go forward and talk with all four bands had been canceled over the summer months to see if they would agree to perform which the council allowed.  She noted the new community center construction is moving along very well! “Close to 100% under roof.” 

Coffey stated Police Chief Ron Davis and his department leaders, along with the town attorney, and herself have been reviewing and revising the Weaverville Police Department’s use of force policy to determine the policy’s alignment with the “Eight can’t wait” reform campaign. “I will be sending the Mayor and Town Council the final revised policy for your information and thoughts within the coming weeks.”

“The new waterline installation on Ollie Weaver Road is progressing well,” she told the council, “with about 40% of the pipe in the ground. We are projecting that this project will be completed short of the 14-month timeline by possibly two months, as long as we continue to have weather that is conducive to the continued pace of work.” 

Finishing her report, Coffey said, “The next workshop will be held on Tuesday, August 11 and the topic will include historical monuments and markers and the September 8 workshop topics may consist of discussion of the town’s charter and fundraising plans for the new community center.”

In the discussion and action items, Weaverville Public Works Director Dale Pennell asked the council to reconsider a request for accepting a street commitment from Fox Lair Crossings. They had made what he called “a strong case” for rehearing their application after the council had voted against acceptance of the development’s streets earlier this year.

Pennell said after a list of 14 needed action items had not been acted on by the homeowners, he figured they were not interested in moving forward to be accepted but had been told the delay was due to COVID-19 as they had not been able to meet with the homeowner association.  With further discussion on the matter, the council voted to reconsider with Nagle voting against reconsideration. When the board was asked to make a motion on how to proceed, the subject died for the lack of any proposals. 

The council voted to accept the waterline from Fairfield Inn, which plans to be open in about a month. The board also passed a Water Treatment Plant Expansion Resolution of Intent, which authorized staff to start the first steps in expanding the current water treatment plan.

In discussions about a possible Labor Day Fireworks event to make up for the town’s Fourth of July event, which had been canceled because of COVID-19, the council voted to postpone fireworks until July 4, 2021, and pay a penalty of about $3,000. They then heard a quarterly planning report before the meeting adjourned.

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