Town Council Rejects Waiver Request on Mosby Water Bill

The Berryville Town Council met on Tuesday evening and gave a green light to a Liberty Street block party, a new propane distribution facility and adoption of a “fuel credit card” program that will reduce the amount of paper work required by town staff when processing monthly purchase receipts. The Council also told a local construction company that it was unwilling to waive a water bill related to dust abatement during construction of Mosby Avenue.

New Gas Distribution Facility

The Town Council set September 11 as the date for a public hearing for a proposal from Loudoun Propane. The Middleburg-based company has proposed placing two 30K gallon above-ground liquid propane gas tanks in the Berryville Industrial Park. The tanks, if approved, will be used to fill trucks that will then distribute the gas to homes and businesses.

Town Planner Christy Dunkle said that the proposed facility will include a 2,400 square foot wholesale distribution facility with tanks will be surrounded by a chain link fence.

“This is a highly regulated business and after discussing the proposal with the applicant we believe that all of our concerns have been addressed,” Dunkle said.

Town Soon to Convert to Fuel Cards

Town Manager Keith Dalton is proposing that the Town of Berryville adopt a new way of handling recurring fuel purchases and the resultant piles of receipts that go along with the purchases. Dalton said that adoption of a Commonwealth-sponsored VISA credit card will provide the Town with more flexibility and accountability when it comes to purchasing fuel and paying for related travel expenses.

“Using the fuel card will allow us to have just one purchase order per department,” Dalton said. “We believe that it will reduce our cost to process bills, provide improved accountability for tracking expenses and also offer more flexibility especially when employees travel on business.”

Dalton said that, for example, the fuel card could be restricted to “fuel only” purchases for normal job activity but expanded to allow other purchases if an employee were required to go to another location for training.

“The fuel card is offered through a state program and is accepted everywhere,” Dalton said. ”There is no fee for us to use the card but an added benefit is that the Commonwealth receives a 1.5% rebate on the purchases.”

Dalton plans to present fuel card use policies for review by the Town Council next month. Dalton also plans to investigate a similar program for general procurement as well.

Liberty Street Block Party

The Town Council approved a proposal from several churches and community organizations to throw a block party on Liberty Street on September 29th.

The application requests exclusive use of the street from 11:30am until 3:00pm.

Town Manager Dalton said that the groups have agreed to maintain a twelve foot section of the street clear for emergency vehicles and to cover the $500 cost to place barricades at each end of the street.

Water Bill Waiver Request Denied

Winchester-based Perry Engineering’s request that the Town of Berryville waive a portion of a $2,341 water bill was rejected last night by the Town Council.

In a letter to Town Manager Keith Dalton, Perry Engineer Vice President of Operations Frederick Ash said that water taken from Town fire hydrants by Perry Engineering was used solely for dust control during construction of Mosby Boulevard. Ash asked that Dalton waive the sewer portion of the bill since the Town’s sewer system was not impacted by the work and the water was only used for testing a water line and for dust control.

Ash stated in his request to Dalton; “At no time did any of this testing water enter the Town’s sewer system” and  “under the permitted uses section of the Hydrant Use Policy, paragraph e, the Town has the discretion to not charge for water usage for road and street construction.”

The 106K gallons of water used by Perry Engineering was charged at the rate of $22.07 per thousand gallons. The sewer portion of the bill, approximately $1,700, was calculated at the rate of $15.50 per thousand gallons.

In rejecting Ash’s request, the Town Council cited several disagreements with Perry Engineering’s interpretation of the Hydrant Use Policy.

“My reading of the ordinance is that new road construction is not included,” noted Mayor Wilson Kirby.

Dalton echoed Kirby’s sentiment.

“I don’t think that the ordinance was ever intended to waive the cost for large scale construction,” Dalton added. “It also requires that the Town’s Director of Public Works be notified in advance of the water use and that did not occur.”

The Town Council voted unanimously to reject Perry Engineering’s request.

Community Yard Sale

The Town Council unanimously approved use of the Crow Street parking lot for a community yard sale sponsored by Main Street Berryville. The parking lot will provide a place for vendors to set up shop for the September 8th event.

Comments

  1. $500. for barricades at each end of the street? seriously?

  2. Blossom Butt says:

    I think it is a crock that they wont credit the sewage fee. Bull about not notifying in advance, there is no way they could have used the water for anything other than washing the roads, so the sewage fee is just simply a nice chunk of change that Berryville will collect. I think it is a shame that Bville will take this stance and make such a bad PR move with a local business. Why not give them a credit, even if it is a partial credit, just to show you are not a money hungry greedy small town government?

  3. Little surprised on towns decision on the water bill… Seems like Perry had a good case.

    Why would they pay sewer rates when the water is in no way going through the sewer system?

    Odd.

    • Well it is an offensive policy but at least they are applying it equally. If you fill a pool or water your lawn in the town as a residential customer your water is not entering the sewer system but you are charged the sewer fee, no exceptions. So if a business is using it they need to be charged by the same money gouging policy the residents are subjected to.

      It really is a great demonstration of how unfriendly the town is to businesses and residents.

      • “…It really is a great demonstration of how unfriendly the town is to businesses …”

        I beg to differ. Only charging a business license fee of $30 per year instead of taxing the receipts is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

        Now if you want to say the Town officials are unfriendly, I’d agree wholeheartedly.

        • I have found the people in the Town office to be very kind and friendly people. The problem is not the people, it is the complete lack of leadership and vision in the entire organization which results in a dysfunctional town.

          You say a $30 business license is a friendly policy, I say it is a neglected component of the town’s economic development strategy (or lack there of). How business friendly is a town that charges you $30 dollars a year for the privilege of operating a business within the town limits, and then charges you more than that for the first 2000 gallons of water you use. Want to start a business that needs a commercial water hook-up? Pay $80 K like Rosemont had to. It’s an absurd melange of ad-hoc policies that lacks any cohesive vision and is the product of very nice people who are not rallied under a plan towards a goal of economic sustainability.

          • I wasn’t referring to the people that do the actual work in the Town Offices. They’re always great. It’s the OFFICIALS and their POLICIES that are unfriendly.

            Any way you look at the $30 license fee, it’s MUCH cheaper than a tax on the receipts.

          • Chuck E. Cheese says:

            Depends on the business you are referring to? A lot of empty store fronts in the Downtown Metropolis.

          • Remember what local government (and State and Federal) for that matter breed…they don’t foster an environment of success and long hours. They don’t have competition like a regular business, so who naturally ends up working there….people who are not motivated by success. They are motivated by job security, easy hours, short commute, no take home work, good benefits, retirement paid for by others, etc.

            This is why the local government should be cut back to just the bare minimum employees and services.

  4. Got-A-Dollar says:

    Didn’t the town just settle with the county over a disputed share of expenses because the town moved into the new joint government center too early.
    Wow! Who would want to do business with the town? But I suppose they need the money for gas for all the “maintenance” vehicles riding around town. Or for a coffee machine so the employees wouldn’t have to go uptown for coffee.
    Remember when the town had about four employees including the town manager? What’s the whirling sound? Oh! It’s Jack Enders and Esta Brown turning in their graves.
    Mr. Editor, don’t forget your freedom of speech policy!

  5. RealExperence says:

    The Town policy is not new, when I moved into Berryville Estates in 1998 and has a newly sodded lawn, I watered my lawn throughout that very dry summer. I averaged a $250 per month fee when rates were much less compared to $20 per month normal fee for our two senior residents. Don’t feel sorry for business when ordinary citizenst have the same expense. Perry is making a good profit and I have no sympathy.