Town nets health department grant to study water system

The Valley Banner

ELKTON – The town has been awarded a $30,000 grant to study its water system.

Town Manager Kevin Whitfield made the announcement during Monday’s council meeting.

The grant is from the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water.

An engineering firm, Whitman, Requardt and Associates of Blacksburg, will be conducting the study.

The grant will determine the location of the town’s pipes and valves and will help as the town replaces its aging water system.

Whitfield noted that town staff replaced 13,316 feet of water pipe in 2015.

‘Clean’ audit
The town received a “clean” audit from Harrisonburg CPA David Black on Monday.

Elkton invested $634,000 in new equipment and assets during 2015 and paid down $416,000 in debt.

Black said the town received $173,963 in revenue for the Elkton Area Community Center in 2015, including $98,908 in memberships, $8,555 in contributions and $66,500 from the county.

The town spent $178,000 at the EACC, but this doesn’t include the electricity usage, which he estimated ran around $100,000 the first year it was open (2006). He didn’t have the community center’s electricity usage from 2015.

Black reminded the council of the need to shore up the cemetery committee’s finances.

He noted the town may take a financial hit if President Barack Obama increases the threshold for overtime pay for salaried employees on July 1.

Currently, any salaried employee who makes more than $23,600 a year is ineligible for overtime.

Under Obama’s proposal that level would increase to $50,440.

Black said he expected the threshold to be increased on Jan. 1, but the next target date is July 1.

The threshold was last updated in 2004.

According to the Obama administration, the proposed changes would affect an estimated 5 million workers nationwide, or 40 percent of the country’s full-time salaried workforce.

Police matters
Councilman Jay Dean noted that town police made 44 drug arrests in 2015, which was an increase over 2014, and issued 242 speeding tickets.

He asked that Police Chief Aaron Hammer have his officers monitor U.S. 33 more closely.

Dean said he was passed recently by a black car with antique tags that he estimated was traveling 130 mph.

Dog issues
Tony Plume and Jan Hensley spoke during public comment about dogs at large.

“They’ve gone after me and my neighbors,” Hensley said. “There needs to be more done than just a ticket.”

She said that a recent attack on Plume was witnessed by three others but the police couldn’t do much because they didn’t personally witness the attack.

In response, Chief Hammer said that a dog owner on Ashby Avenue has been charged five or six times and levied fines totaling $500 to $600.

“Until a dog attacks someone and is declared vicious, there’s nothing (else) we can do,” he said.

Hammer noted that at least one county magistrate won’t issue a warrant unless a police officer personally witnesses an attack.

Mayor Wayne Printz said the council would look into what it can do to strengthen the town ordinance.

In addition, Plume requested that a sign be placed outside the playground at Elkton Elementary School due to a dog owner allowing his dog to go inside the playground after school.

The dog owner doesn’t clean up his dog’s waste and this creates unsanitary conditions for children, Plume said.

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