By Carol Vaughn —
Parksley will purchase new, wireless water meters using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The Parksley Town Council voted unanimously Monday to purchase the meters, at a cost of up to $165,000, from Consolidated Pipe. The meters come with a 10-year warranty.
There will be no tax or water fee increases associated with the new meters, according to the council discussion.
The new meters are “extremely accurate,” can detect leaks, and will save time employees now spend reading meters, according to Mayor Frank Russell.
The council discussed a transient occupancy tax ordinance regulating Airbnb-type short-term rentals.
A pubic hearing has to be held before an ordinance can be approved.
“I … think it would be a good idea, and here’s why. I wasn’t sure at first, but … we’ve had a lot of people fixing up these run-down homes in town now, and that’s wonderful. But we’ve got some folks who don’t fix them up because they can’t figure out how to make them pay off,” Russell said, adding, “If we can make it possible for them to have an Airbnb, that’s a very lucrative business from what I understand.”
Councilman Ricky Taylor recommended the council discuss the ordinance at its next work session, “so we can get a document in place that we are comfortable with” before holding a public hearing.
Russell said town attorney Tommy Dix reviewed an ordinance from another locality town officials have been looking at and said it is appropriate for Parksley.
“My suggestion is we go ahead and start now, move forward, and we’ll have a work session
In two weeks,” Councilman Henry Nicholson said.
He made the motion to discuss the ordinance at the council’s next work session Monday, Nov. 22, and also to advertise a public hearing to be held at the next regular meeting.
The motion passed with Taylor voting no.
The council also will review the town’s noise ordinance at it next work session, with a view to updating the ordinance and perhaps prohibiting loud noise earlier on Sundays.
The existing ordinance generally prohibits loud noise between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. every day, but has different times for certain items listed, including pile drivers and steam whistles, among others.
“We had several complaints this summer” about loud music being played in the town park on Sunday nights around 9 or 10 p.m., according to Russell.
Nicholson suggested the noise ordinance should be based on complaint.
“If it was a nuisance and it was bothering me, it’s a complaint,” he said.
Councilman Dan Matthews noted the county’s noise ordinance includes decibel levels.
He recommended the council review the entire noise ordinance at the next work session.
Parksley’s maintenance crew recently installed new light poles in the business area of town.
“We’ve got more light than we have had in many years,” Russell said.
Honoring Carter Parks
The council held a moment of silence in memory of former Councilman Carter B. Parks Jr., who died Friday, Oct. 29, at age 67.
A free Thanksgiving dinner will be served Thanksgiving Day at the Parksley firehouse from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. All meals will be to take out.
“The last time we did it, we served 250-some dinners. … I think it’s a blessing to the people who come get it and it’s certainly a blessing to all of us,” Russell said.
John Stoll spoke during the public comment period about conditions at a vacant building at the corner of Bennett Street and Jones Avenue, including doors being open.
“The building just screams neglect,” he said.
Town Clerk Lauren Lewis said the town office recently received a telephone call about the property and the police chief was sent to look at it.
Betty Farley asked about the schedule for picking up yard debris.
Nicholson said a schedule and guidelines have not been set yet, but he said debris put in residents’ front yards is being picked up promptly now that the town has purchased a chipper.
“We’re riding around this town every morning,” he said.
The town is trying to move away from picking up debris from the alleyways, according to Nicholson.
Russell said he met with a DMV representative last week and received a good report on the Parksley DMV Select office.
“He had nothing but praise for the ladies. No negative comments have come in to the DMV 800 number. I had two comments how nice they were, today alone, from people who made a point to ride by my place to tell me that,” Russell said.
The office is doing more than twice the business as was done under the last administration, he said.