Halifax Town Council plans to vote on a resolution to update protocol for citizens’ comments and public hearings at its meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the town hall at 70 S. Main St. A public hearing and a public comment period also are on the meeting agenda.
“This resolution is to emphasize the speaker time limits, and it contains more language about speaker comportment and being respectful,” said Halifax town manager Carl Espy.
Espy said the town has had a time limit of three minutes per speaker on public comments at council meetings since January 2008. At Tuesday’s meeting, Espy said each speaker would be notified when two minutes’ time had lapsed and would be asked to conclude their comments at the three-minute mark.
In addition, the town manager said the resolution states, in regards to speaker comportment, that it is “not appropriate at a public meeting to make personal attacks or to disparage individuals or identifiable groups.”
It is anticipated that citizens in attendance at Tuesday’s town council meeting will ask for Councilman Jack Dunavant’s resignation from council, although the number of citizens signed up to speak in the public comment portion of the meeting was unknown at press time Sunday.
Dunavant’s term on town council is not set to expire until December 2022.
Taquan Logan of South Boston started a petition on www.change.org, calling for Dunavant’s resignation from town council, and as of Sunday afternoon, 872 people had signed it.
The petition is in response to a letter to the editor entitled “Killing America” written by Dunavant and published in both local newspapers. The letter sparked a protest where individuals marched against “racism and racism in leadership” that was held in downtown Halifax the evening of Aug. 2.
Following council’s vote on the resolution to update protocol for citizens’ comments and public hearings, council is slated to hold a public hearing to receive input from the town’s citizens about proposed bonds to refinance debt associated with improvements related to the Halifax Market Place (farmer’s market) building and the Halifax Town Hall.
The proposed bonds in the estimated maximum principal amount of $500,000 will finance additional interior and exterior improvements to the Halifax Market Place, as well as roofing and site improvements to the town hall. Town council plans to take a roll call vote on the general obligation bond ordinance directly after the public hearing.
Also on council’s regular meeting agenda is the monthly police department report by Halifax Police Chief Stuart Comer and a 2020 farmers market week resolution.
A 6:30 work session will precede council’s regular business meeting.
Council is expected to receive updates from business development chairman Mike Trent on the following items: “Here’s Halifax!” working group’s next steps, Halifax Market Place redevelopment and farmer’s market activities/construction progress on Viny’s Italian Restaurant and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act resources for localities and local businesses.
Finance chairman Bill Covington is slated to give the June and July 2020 finance report and provide updates on the USDA-Rural Development Community Facilities Grant award and CARES Act relief fund allocation and distribution to the town of Halifax.
Finally, current affairs chairman Bill Confroy is expected to give reports on the following items:
• VDOT Smart Scale Project and Halifax Downtown Streetscape/ War Memorial Enhancement Project;
• 2020 VDOT Smart Scale application due Aug. 3 (North Main Street/ Bethel Road-L.P. Bailey Memorial Highway roundabout): supporting resolution for Southside District Planning Commission and Halifax County;
• Initial meeting with Easley Lane residents and VDOT on July 16 for steps required to bring it into VDOT secondary road system addition;
• Derelict/ nuisance properties and code enforcement update; and
• Virginia Scenic Rivers Program 50th anniversary activities/Dan River Basin Association first Saturday outing.