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Culpeper Council lambasted at meeting

BY DONNIE JOHNSTON / THE FREE LANCE–STAR

Tom Letts, a Fourth Street resident, attacked the Culpeper Town Council on several fronts Tuesday night.

Angered by a police report that concluded that there were no organized drug or gang problems in his neighborhood, Letts told the Council during a public forum session that the group has “little or no concern for town issues.”

He said that he was “tired of the drug market and the shootings” in his neighborhood and complained that the Town Council had “gutted the maintenance code” that would have helped clean up some of the illegal activity along the Fourth Street corridor.

Letts’ statement that Councilmen Bobby Ryan and Frank Reaves had lied to him regarding their stance on the maintenance code issue drew a sharp rebuke from Ryan, one that Mayor Chip Coleman was prompted to cut short.

Reaves later said that it would take more than that to make him angry.

Later last night, the Council adopted a basic version of the much-discussed Virginia Maintenance Code, the same sections already in place at the Culpeper County building department.

The vote was 8–1. Ryan dissented, saying, “I’m concerned where the next stop will be.”

Letts promised to return each month until the Council changes its attitude.

George Bryson again complained about the proposed Inner Loop’s passage through the Mountain Run flood plain and its proximity to Fairview Cemetery.

Moments later, that road—which will link North Main Street (at Wendy’s) with the Sperryville Pike (at Virginia Avenue)—got its official name: Colonel Jameson Boulevard. Jameson, who was born nearby, is reputed to have captured a British spy during the American Revolution. The vote was 8–1, with Ryan against.

Other name possibilities were Admiral Strauss Boulevard and Minuteman Way.

The Council appropriated $30,000 to keep the doors of the Museum of Culpeper History open for the rest of the fiscal year. Museum board member Bob Kenefick said that fundraisers had come up short and the group’s cash flow had stopped flowing. He added that the museum had enough funds only to get through Feb. 27.

Kenefick told the Council that the museum had lost more than $70,000 in state funding since 2008 and now gets only $16,200 (plus rent forgiveness) from the town.

After granting the request, Councilman Dan Boring suggested that the museum’s plight be taken before the finance committee in hopes that more funding could be arranged in the FY-2014 budget that is now being formulated.

The Council, now without a town manager, also approved the line of command if acting town manager Chris Hively is absent. Next in line would be public works director Jim Hoy, who Hively has appointed as assistant acting town manager, and then Chief of Police Chris Jenkins.

Donnie Johnston:

djohnston@freelancestar.com

 

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