By Carol Vaughn –
Parksley has distributed half of the federal CARES Act money allotted the town by Accomack County in the first round of funding.
A second round of funding is expected, likely in the same amount, around $71,000, according to the council discussion.
Businesses were chosen at random to receive $3,100 each in distribution of the first half of the money, officials said.
Mayor Frank Russell said the town is reimbursed after grants are distributed to businesses and it takes about two weeks to get the reimbursement.
“So that is why we can only pay half of people the CARES money, and it was done completely randomly,” he said.
Russell said the remaining grants from the first round should be given out in the coming week or so if the town receives reimbursement from the county for the first distribution.
All businesses in town with exception of chain stores, a total of 23, will receive grants.
The method of deciding which businesses would receive grants in the first distribution was voted on during a special meeting, according to Council member Ricky Taylor.
The entire allotment from the county is being divided up among town businesses, he said.
The council voted 4-1 to approve an employee policy manual, which goes into effect Nov. 1. Council member Dan Matthews voted nay, saying he had not had time to review the manual after council members received it only that night at the meeting.
Russell said the town park is open, but the playground equipment there “is in pretty rough shape.”
Council member Ricky Taylor said improving the playground is in the works as an Eagle Scout project, but has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and related Boy Scout regulations.
“Only his family can help him now because of the COVID,” Taylor said.
A woman in the audience asked about the whereabouts of several vintage metal animals that were taken down to be painted, saying they are valuable.
Russell said they are in the town’s possession.
Russell said he recently walked the whole park and said, “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done there.” He said he will contact a town employee “and try to work out a systematic plan.”
Russell also will get an updated estimate to pave the worst sections of the town parking lot. An estimate several months ago was that it will cost $7,000 to pave the area, he said.
Henry T. Nicholson Jr., Parksley resident who is also a candidate for town council in the Nov. 3 special election, asked the council and mayor to have accountant John Bowden “run the numbers” on how much the town spent on trash collection in the last year.
“It’s time for us to get out of the trash business,” he said during a public comment period.
Mayor Frank Russell said the town’s 20-some-year-old trash truck is currently in Salisbury, Md., with a preliminary estimate of $5,000 for repairs.
Russell said Davis Disposal has provided an estimate to do trash collection in the town, and noted Parksley, along with Wachapreague and Exmore, is among the last Eastern Shore towns doing its own trash removal.
Russell said of Nicholson’s request, “I think it’s a good idea,” but added that “very likely it will not be as cheap to hire someone else to do it.”
Also on the ballot to fill Russell’s unexpired term on the town council are Carol E. Matthews, Michael D. Shreves, and Alexis Komaridis.
The special election was needed after Russell was elected mayor in May.
Matthews gave an update on a downtown revitalization project for which the town received a state grant.
The state approved plans for a band shell and improvements two alleyways more quickly than expected, Matthews said.
Around half of the facade improvement designs for town businesses also were submitted for approval.
The next steps include lining up contractors for the project.
“Everything is going faster than anybody anticipated,” Matthews said.