The Town Council voted Wednesday, June 8, to delay closure of the Farmville Municipal Golf Course, which had been set to close at the end of the month.
When voting on the town budget for 2023 at the council’s regular monthly meeting, Councilman Daniel Dwyer started a discussion on the golf course. His fear is that since the course has not yet been appraised to be sold, it would be basically condemned due to the greens not being properly kept up.
“Personally, I’d like to see one of two things, have at least the grounds maintained until we can determine if there is a potential buyer for it as a golf course, or second, we can keep the golf course open for a certain amount of time and still allow us to determine if it could be marketed as a golf course,” Dwyer said.
Councilman Brian Vincent noted that this issue has been discussed quite a bit and if the town temporarily keeps it open, the council needs to set a timeframe. Other members noted that it would be hard to set a timeframe since no one knows when an appraisal will happen and how long it will take.
Town Manager Scott Davis said the town has had a hard time finding someone to appraise the property.
“We’ve put it out to bid and did not receive any in the first round,” said Davis. “We’ve amended the date and so far have still not found anyone that is able to or willing … to appraise that property.”
It was brought up that the current real estate market could make the appraisal process take longer than usual. In order to not interfere with the budget, the money to keep the course open will come from contingency funds.
The golf course will remain open until the end of October when the council will reevaluate what is best to do for the town. This change to the golf course’s future passed 5-2 with Vincent and Councilwoman Sallie Amos voting against it.
In other business:
• The council voted unanimously to adopt the town’s Compensation/Classification Plan. This plan provides salary adjustments in ranges of the plan to be consistent with the salary increases for the fiscal year. This classification plan sets an annual minimum, midpoint and maximum as well as an hourly minimum, midpoint and maximum for salaries of each grade of town employees.
• The council voted unanimously to adopt the fiscal year 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Plan, which describes and defines the projected capital improvement expenditures for all town departments for the next five years.
• The council voted to adopt the fiscal 2022-23 budget. This budget will begin the process of implementing a combination fire department of paid workers and volunteers. With the removal of the Farmville Municipal Golf Course from the budget, there is now extra funding for raises and upgraded equipment for core services to the town. The main rise in costs for residents was a $1 raise in cost for water and sanitation.
• The council allocated an additional $15,000 to the Farmville Downtown Partnership. The partnership requested $45,000 even though there was only $30,000 in the budget. The extra funds will come from federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
• The council continued its discussion at a previous work session on a requested utility bill adjustment at 203 S. Virginia St. According to Davis, the owner received the original bill before the first adjustment had been made. The original utility bill was $2,961.16 and the first adjustment brought it down to $1,500.97. The average bill for this location was around $50 but was higher because of a water leak. After discussion, Councilman Greg Cole motioned for the owners to pay only 10% of the original bill, or about $300. It passed unanimously.
• The council voted to close Longwood Avenue from Vaughan to Holly Street for a Juneteenth celebration on June 25. It also agreed to close a portion of Hill Street for the Farmville All-Stars Baseball Team Annual Reunion Cookout.
• The Personnel Committee recommended reappointing John Miller and Jayne Johnson and appointing Rhett Weiss to the Planning Commission. The council approved unanimously.
• The council voted to refund the remainder of the business licenses for former owners of NAPA of Farmville and The Woodland.
• The council authorized Davis to sign an agreement with The Berkley Group for human resources consulting.
• Central Virginia Regional Library Director Rick Ewing gave an update during public comments. The library is still giving out free COVID-19 test kits and will be giving away free lunches through Prince Edward County Public Schools from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 13-30, except for Juneteenth on June 20.