~ PVN staff report
STANLEY, June 8 — On Wednesday night, the Stanley Council set a budget workshop for next week in order to adopt the Town’s $3 million spending plan for fiscal 2022-23. The action followed a public hearing on the upcoming budget, in which no speakers addressed the council.
The new budget takes affect July 1 and increases spending by more than $400,000 (15.4 percent), with the lion’s share being used to give salary increases to Town employees, cover increasing costs associated with the Virginia Retirement System, hazard/bonus pay, and keeping up with rising costs to provide public services.
While federal ARPA funds are anticipated to alleviate some of the financial burden, taxpayers will see slight increases in several levies and fees.
The real estate tax rate within Stanley’s corporate limits will increase from its current rate of $0.25 (per $100 of assessed value) to $0.26. The one-penny increase is projected to generate an additional $10,000 in revenue. There were no speakers against the tax rate increase during a public hearing held in May.
While there were no increases to personal property tax rates ($0.75 per $100 of assessed value), the Town expects an increase in revenue due to the rising value of vehicles. There were no changes to levies on lodging (4 percent), food and beverage (5 percent), motor vehicle license ($20), cigarettes ($0.20 per pack), or business license.
Water rates for residential customers will increase $2 per month (inside and outside of Town limits), while residential sewer rates will increase $1.50 per month (inside and out). Fees for additional trash cans will increase by $3 as well. There were no increases to water and sewer connection fees.
In other business at its June 8 meeting, the Stanley Council took the following actions:
• Unanimously approved a rezoning request from Tom and Loretta Wright (company name of T&L Rentals) to rezone property at 804 West Main St. from Medium Density Residential to Commercial. The action followed a public hearing on the issue, in which no speakers addressed the council. The Wrights plan to expand the existing brick building that houses the beauty salon Total Look and the outdoor and hunting supply store Hidden Acres. The expansion — estimated to cost between $150,000 and $200,000 — will create more than 5,100 square feet of retail space. Tom plans to open an appliance store on the upper level, while the beauty salon plans to expand and add a sauna, massage therapy and a nail studio. Hidden Acres will move to the lower level, which will also have a vacant space available for rent.
• Reviewed a request from the family of Hunter and Harley Bowman — 21-year-old twins who drowned in Government Pond in the Page Valley Estates area of Page County on May 7 — to place a bench in their memory at the Hawksbill Recreation Park along the Hawksbill Creek. “They loved playing in the creek as kids. They loved that spot,” Town Manager Terry Pettit said in presenting the request. The family has offered to pay all costs.
• Heard a report that the planned dog park at Hawksbill Park received unanimous approval of a special use permit from the Page County Board of Supervisors on Monday night. Town Manager Terry Pettit said that a local fencing contractor has been contacted and the area will be marked off next week so everyone can see the dog park’s footprint. The Bailey Legacy Dog Park, named by donor Donald V. Feliciano, will utilize 3 acres of a 10.75-acre parcel. The project is set to include two fenced-in areas, parking and four dog waste stations, which will be maintained by Stanley’s public works and parks and recreation departments. A new VDOT-approved entrance off of Hawksbill Park Road is also planned, according to Pettit, adding that the dog park is set to be completed within the next three to four months.
• Heard a report that 22 more veteran banners have been ordered for installation prior to the Stanley Homecoming, but the town manager said that new orders would now be cut off until after Homecoming so town staff could focus on other preparations for the Town’s biggest annual event.
• Heard a report that the Town has spent $509,149 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds so far this fiscal year, with $320,125.29 remaining. Those funds will carry over, along with a new allotment in the next fiscal year of more than $800,000. The Town has until 2026 to spend the federal funds.
• Heard a report on the Hawksbill Pool that attendance is averaging well over 100 through the first 10 days, 27 dates are already booked to reserve the pool and/or shelter, and the Stanley Stingrays swim team has started its season with the first home meet set for June 16. The town manager touted the quality of the seven lifeguards hired (three new), noting a recent rescue on Monday afternoon.
• Heard a report that fundraising efforts are beginning to support the “Where Angels Play” project aimed at placing a new playground at a site chosen in Hawksbill Park in memory of fallen Stanley Police Officer Dominic “Nick” Winum. A meeting is planned Thursday night to discuss the next step in the project, which has already raised $1,000. Police Chief Ryan Dean told the council it should take about a year to complete the project, but added that “they are ahead of schedule, so it may be less than a year.” To make a donation, visit the website www.whereangelsplayfoundation.org
• Heard from Police Chief Ryan Dean that local law enforcement and school officials plan to meet on Tuesday, June 21 to discuss the local School Resource Officer (SRO) situation in light of the school shootings in Texas. Chief Dean also reported that his department is “95 percent” moved in to their new headquarters in the former Quarles building behind Town Hall.
• Heard about two musical items — a reminder of a Music in the Park event featuring Kevin Johnson & Augusta Blue from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 11 at Ed Good Park, and a live performance by Nina Bohrad and four musicians. The group performed “Stanley Homecoming,” a song written by Bohrad about a woman who finds true love in Stanley, Virginia.