Council discusses fireworks, improvements plan

NEW MARKET – The town of New Market held a meeting of the committees on Monday evening where the Capital Improvement Plan for 2017-2021 was presented and the possibility of bringing back the Fourth of July fireworks was proposed.

At the meeting, Tim Palmer, chairman of Tourism, Economic Development and Historic Preservation, read a letter from local organizations and citizens wanting to bring back Fourth of July fireworks in the town.

The letter stated that the fireworks should be held on July 3 instead of July 4 and asks that the town cover $5,000 of the $7,500 cost of the fireworks display.

“We can now bring back a fourth of July celebration,” Palmer said.

Council member Eddie Litten expressed concerns about the proposal. He said the town didn’t gain back the money spent on the fireworks in previous years the fireworks that they were held.

“It was not a good use of our citizen’s tax money, and I still feel that way,” he said.

He said he likes community involvement but said the estimated cost of $7,500 isn’t accurate when you factor in paying law enforcement overtime and clean-up costs.

Mayor Douglas Bradley said that with the fireworks occurring on July 3 instead of July 4 that it will bring more people into the town from surrounding areas who will visit the local shops and restaurants, bringing in revenue.

Council member Peggy Harkness said there needs to be a plan put into place on how the various organizations would come together to make this event possible within the budget before the council decides if it wants to proceed with the event.

The discussion will continue and be decided upon at the next Town Council meeting on Jan. 19.

Also at the meeting, Town Manager Mike Ritchie represented the Finance and Personnel committee as he presented the Capital Improvement Plan for 2017-2021 to the council members to be approved at the next council meeting.

He said that the plan “lays out a roadmap for the town” but isn’t “all inclusive.”

The plan includes administrative improvements such as HVAC replacements and repairing entryway columns at the municipal building.

Public Works improvements include mower and vehicle replacement, replacing the current 1989 dump truck and 1990 skid loader.

Infrastructure improvements include replacing the faded historic district signs in the town. It also includes looking for funding to complete two projects — the Click’s Lane pedestrian improvements and the John Sevier Road drainage problems.

For Public Safety, the plan includes replacing police vehicles, replacing the light tower, upgrading the in-car computer program in police vehicles, as well as replacing in-car cameras.

Projects at the Community Park include replacing outdated playground equipment, asphalt maintenance, and re-coating the tennis and basketball courts at the site.

Water Department improvements include valve/hydrant/meter replacement, SCADA system upgrades, storage tank maintenance, vehicle replacement, possibly relocating the Shenandoah Drive entrance, and replacing a mower.

The Sewer Department improvements include enclosing the maintenance shed, collection site improvements, pump station upgrades and sewer jet replacements.

Also at the meeting, Gary Comer, public safety chairman, alleviated residents’ concerns about the New Market Fire and Rescue.

“Let me assure you if you dial 911, your call will be answered,” he said.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com