Town to seek funding to continue water line improvements

By David Broyles -

Hillsville Town Council on September 28 approved a resolution seeking funding to continue water system infrastructure improvements and learned how a more strict tax collection initiative fared on accounts with outstanding balances.

According to information supplied by the Town, the resolutions were passed to facilitate obtaining financial assistance from sources including the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act and the United States Department of Agriculture. This action followed a public hearing on the intent to apply with no public comments made. The amount listed in the Public Bodies’ loan resolution calls for Hillsville to raise a portion of the cost up to a principal amount of $3,772,000.

Utilities Director Darrick Mayes said the effort is tied to a recent Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) on the water distribution system which identified leaks and breaks in water lines. He said he and Town Engineer Steve Bowman collaborated to come up with a plan to update problem areas in the infrastructure which will save taxpayers money from less water loss and improving system pressure.

The leaks and breaks are attributed to aging water lines. Mayes said another bonus for residents will be enhanced fire protection as older, two-inch lines are replaced with six-inch lines. Council also approved a resolution to authorize a grant funding application to be submitted to the Virginia Tobacco Commission and the Appalachian Regional Commission. The application specifies funds would go toward a Hillsville Farmers Market and Community Facility Project.

Town Treasurer LeAnna Surratt told Council a stricter tax collection initiative begun about a year ago had reached its halfway point on the outstanding real estate and personal property taxes. Surratt said 524 accounts totaling more than $88,000 had been collected.

Surratt told Council the Town currently has no outstanding meals and transient taxes following more than $15,000 being collected through bank liens, assessments and distress methods. She said $222,500 in transient taxes were recently collected from DBK Investments through court proceedings. Half of this has been remitted to Carroll County, per its annexation agreement.

“This year we are enrolling in yet another method of collection,” said Surratt. “We have teamed up with the State government to lien all tax refunds for payment of unpaid fees owed to the Town of Hillsville.”

Council tabled action on a proposed ordinance revision concerning animals at any town sponsored event, the Memorial Day Flea Market and the Labor Day Gun Show and Flea Market. A rough draft of the animals prohibited ordinance reads, “It shall be prohibited for any animal, other than that of marked service animals in use, to be in attendance at any town sponsored event, the Memorial Day Flea Market, or the Labor Day Gun Show and Flea Market.” Discussion centered around providing more “teeth” (specific language about penalties) be included in the proposed ordinance.

According to a Hillsville Police Department activity numbers report (for September 7 through September 21) the Department assisted 20 motorists; conducted 27 criminal investigations and performed 356 business checks. The Department had 23 false/unfounded calls; issued 170 traffic summons and issued 32 traffic warnings.

Following a closed session, Mayor Gregory Crowder announced Council had decided the theme for the upcoming Christmas Parade would be “Christmas Through a Child’s Eyes.”

David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.

By David Broyles

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