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Windsor to contribute $5K to sewer study

WINDSOR
Windsor’s Town Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to contribute up to $5,000 toward a county-administered sewer system study, intended to determine the capacity and life expectancy of existing sewer mains throughout and surrounding the town.

The matter had been previously considered during a joint meeting of the council and Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors on Oct. 26, at which the lack of sewer access on Lovers Lane and other outlying parts of town was discussed. The council’s contribution comes to approximately 25 percent of what the county had estimated the study would cost.

“If a person wanted to build today on a lot, if they went to the county for building permits and the county couldn’t tell them whether they had sewer or not, they couldn’t get a building permit,” said Vice Mayor Durwood Scott. “And they couldn’t go to the health department to get a septic permit so we have to get this completed.”

In other business, the council voted unanimously to appropriate $17,680.14 from its insurance company as reimbursement for the cost of repairs to one of the town’s wells earlier this year. They also nominated Councilwoman Patty Flemming and Town Manager Michael Stallings to serve on the county’s library task force, the idea for which was also first discussed during the intergovernmental meeting.

The council also discussed the Windsor Town Center Advisory Board’s recommendations for pricing the rental of the center, which were to charge $50 per hour for the meeting room, art room or both; $75 per hour for the meeting room and kitchen, the art room and kitchen, or the gym; $100 per hour for the gym and kitchen or meeting room, art room and kitchen; and $125 per hour for the entire building. They also suggested a special wedding package, which would give those who rented the whole building for more than one consecutive day an hourly rate of $62.50 for the shorter of the two days.

Scott suggested amending the $50-per-hour packages to be $100 for the first hour of rental and then $50 for subsequent hours on the grounds that he did not feel that $50 for a one-hour rental would provide the town with sufficient compensation for having to have someone turn on the heat beforehand and clean the facility before and after the event. Likewise, for rentals of the whole building, he suggested $150 for the first hour and $125 per hour after.

The council also discussed offering a discount to renters living within the town limits on the grounds that their tax dollars were already going toward the facility, but Councilman N. Macon Edwards III cautioned that in his experience with the Ruritan Club, when the club had offered a discount on clubhouse rentals for Ruritans, non-members would seek out Ruritans to make reservations for them in order to take advantage of the policy. They ultimately decided to take no action on the rental policies, pending the advisory board’s review of their suggestions.

The final matter the council discussed was a suggestion by Councilman Walter Bernacki to substantially scale back the town’s plans for the Windsor Town Center and instead, accelerate plans for a combined new town hall and library to be located on the five-acre plot of land abutting the town’s police station, and also add an adjoining community center to the building.

Bernacki made his suggestion after seeing the $1 million estimate the town received for the cost of its current plans for the Town Center, which he termed “sticker shock,” and argued that having all three components housed in a single building would entice more people to make use of the town’s facilities. Several other members of council agreed with his idea of combining the town hall and library into one building but fewer were sold on his suggestion to also move the town center to the site.

“There has been a lot of sweat and tears over this,” Flemming said. “I think they’re [residents] looking forward to September when it will be done. I’m ready to be in that building in September and have something, even if it costs a million dollars.”

Mayor Carita Richardson added that she did not believe the town would attract many renters if the town center were to be scaled down and used just for sports and recreation, and said that the town would likely need to borrow money and/or raise taxes to add a community center to the combined library and town hall.