Second grader serves as honorary mayor of Vinton
VINTON–Honorary Mayor Jacob Dickerson struck the gavel to open the July 17 meeting of Vinton Town Council. Dickerson is a rising second grader at Herman L. Horn Elementary School in Vinton.
His mother, Cindy Dickerson, submitted the highest bid of $16.00 during a silent auction at a school fair sponsored by the PTA to win him the position.
Organizers for the fundraiser asked the Town to donate a distinctive item for the auction to raise money for the school, and they came up with the idea of being Honorary Mayor for the Day. Council members hope to make this an annual tradition.
Dickerson was a student in Mrs. Burkholder’s class in first grade. While he has no interest in politics, he is active in the community. He is a Cub Scout ready to advance to the rank of Wolf Cub. He plays on basketball and baseball teams and attends activities at Thrasher Memorial United Methodist Church.
“I like playing video games, swimming, and playing with toys,” said Dickerson. “My favorites are Ninjajo and Ben 10 Ultimate Alien Force.”
The Honorary Mayor also spent time touring the Town Departments last week, visiting Public Works, the Police Department, and the Fire Department. He got to wear fire gear, drive a backhoe, and start up a fire truck. He was presented with a key to the Town and Town of Vinton pins.
“We really appreciate this opportunity,” said his father, Tom Dickerson. “Our whole family learned a lot about the Town and how it works.”
After Dickerson led those attending Council meeting in the Pledge of Allegiance, Council proceeded with their regular business meeting.
Council authorized Town Manager Chris Lawrence to execute a contract with Allegheny Construction Company, Inc., in the amount of $645,170 for Phase 2 of the Glade/Tinker Creek Wastewater Interceptor project, contingent upon review of a clause dealing with insurance of the company’s equipment.
Joey Hiner, assistant director of Public Works, briefed Council on a proposal by the Roanoke Valley Resource Authority (RVRA) to limit free trips to the Tinker Creek Transfer Station to 12 per household per year. While the trips are free to citizens, the locality finances the visits. Currently the limit is 20 trips per year.
The rationale for the recommendation of lowering the number of permitted free loads to 12 is that in 2011 there were 781 individual visits by citizens of Vinton to the transfer station with only 16 residents making more than 12 visits. In 2012 there have been 596 individual visits with only seven households making more than 12 visits. Residents may make as many paid visits as they like once they have reached the limit of free visits. This change would take effect on July 1, 2013.
Hiner said that the Town of Vinton is in the process of reviewing their bulk pick-up policy. He also reminded those in attendance that because of the recent storm, free mulch is available in bulk from the Tinker Creek Transfer Station, located on Hollins Road in Roanoke.
Gary Woodson, Director of Public Works, announced that members of his department have completed one complete cycle through the Town picking up debris from the recent storm. They are using the knuckleboom truck, chipper, and dump truck to completely clear each zone of the Town. They will continue the process as residents clean up the remaining debris. Their grounds crews have become brush crews to a great extent for the next two weeks.
Lawrence estimates that the total cost to the Town from the storm will be around $75,000. There may be some reimbursement by FEMA.
Councilman Matt Hare relayed concerns from citizens involving the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection (RCACP) and the SPCA, particularly issues involving their euthanasia rate and the use of volunteers at the facilities.
Vinton contributes about $39,000 each year to the RCACP, which also receives funds from Roanoke City, Roanoke County, and Botetourt County. Lawrence explained that the Town is working with the RCACP board to address the issues and how taxpayer money is being spent.
Mayor Grose announced that the next Town Council meeting will be on August 7 beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the Farmer’s Market in downtown Vinton for the National Night Out event, sponsored by the Vinton Police Department.