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Budget, assessment on agenda

The Town of Farmville is set to hold a presentation and public hearings Wednesday to discuss an assessment of the Farmville Fire Department, a surplus in the town’s 2017-18 Fiscal Year (FY) budget and an ordinance for maintenance of trees and vegetation on public right of ways.

The presentation of the fire department assessment, conducted by the Virginia Fire Services Board (VFSB), is set for 6 p.m. at the Town Office on 116 N. Main St.

Dean Farmer, chief of Farmville Fire Department, said in a previous email statement that the Town requested a study from the VFSB to evaluate the department. He said the the representatives of the study include staff from the fire services board, Department of Forestry, Office of Emergency Medical Services and staff from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs.

“During their visit they will evaluate organizational structure, budgeting, personnel, training, fleet management and operations,” Farmer said.

Farmer said he sees the study as a way for the department to grow in the way that it provides services to the community. “We look forward to this great opportunity to enhance the services which we provide,” Farmer said.

The VFSB held a public town hall meeting to get input from town residents about the department June 5.

The Farmville Town Council is set to hold two public hearings later in the evening, beginning 6:45 p.m. to discuss distributing funds from a surplus in the town’s budget.

A previous Herald report cited that the council voted to approve the FY 2018-19 budget June 22 and determined June 30 that the previous year’s budget, FY 2017-18 had a surplus of $747,383.09 that could be carried over into the recently adopted 2018-19 budget.

The 2018-19 FY budget totaled $27,871,389.71. The surplus would result in the FY 2018-19 budget totaling $28,618,772.80.

The more than $747,000 surplus is proposed to be distributed through several allocations, including $489,847.41 added to the general fund, $21,379.49 added to the water fund, $111,286.45 added to the sewer fund and $124,869.74 added to the transportation fund.

The council is also seeking input from the public about adopting an ordinance relating to maintenance of trees and vegetation in public right of ways.

The ordinance, according the council meeting board packet, states that the town would not be required to “cut and/or remove weeds, brush, plants, grass or other vegetation growing in the public alleys, unimproved streets and other unimproved rights of way,” unless weeds located in the town are in excess of 10 inches in height.

According to the town code, weeds more than 10 inches tall “are found to be a danger to the public health and are hereby declared to constitute a public nuisance.”

The ordinance continues that the town would take similar action to remove or prune any trees or tree limbs that are found to pose similar threats to citizens or cross into private property.

“Any adjacent property owner, tenant or citizen, at their own expense, may cut and/ or remove any weeds, brush, plants, grass or other vegetation growing in the public alleys, unimproved streets and other unimproved rights of way and in the unimproved portion of the public right of way lying between any public property and private property lines,” the ordinance cited. “No person shall cut and remove or prune any tree growing in the public right of way without first obtaining a permit from the office of the Town Manager.”

The ordinance cites Section 27-17 of the town code, which states that “no person shall plant, spray, fertilize, preserve, prune, remove, cut above ground, or otherwise disturb any tree on any street or town owned property without first filing an application and procuring a permit from the office of the Town Manager … Applications for permits required by the provisions of this article shall be made at the office of the Town Manager not less than 48 hours in advance of the time the work is to be done.”