Andrews TC says no to expensive building fixes

The Andrews Town Council has decided against making expensive repairs to the town’s aging community building.

The decision was made during the council’s meeting on Monday, Nov. 13.
Utility Superintendent Colin Bullock informed the board that the facility, located behind the Andrews Municipal Building, had sustained significant water damage. The cost to repair it, he estimated, would fall between $6,000 and $8,000.

In previous meetings, council has expressed interest in exploring the possibility of constructing a new community building. While the board has noted that such a project is not imminent, its desire to erect a new facility at some point over the next few years dissuaded it from spending such a large sum of money on the current building.

As a result of council’s decision, Shepherd’s Food Pantry, which makes use of the building, will be displaced. The board discussed alternate locations for the pantry, with Council President Bill Johnson suggesting that Bethesda Free Will Baptist Church be contacted to see if it could accommodate the pantry’s needs.

Council passed Ordinance 2017-15, which updated the section of the town code pertaining to the discharge of weapons in the town limits. The ordinance prohibits the firing of any device that is designed to propel a projectile by explosive, air or spring pressure in the boundaries of the town.

However, residents who possess backstops for bow and arrow weapons may request that Town Marshal Austin Bullock come out and assess the quality and placement of their backstop. If a backstop meets Bullock’s approval, the resident will be granted permission to use the bow and arrow weapon in the town limits.

In other business:

• Council quashed rumors that water and wastewater rate increases are forthcoming. While the board voted to raise the wastewater rate in May in order to secure financing for the town’s new wastewater treatment plant, it stated that no further rate hikes were being considered at this time.

Johnson did note that the town would be signing a new trash contract next year. He stated that if the cost of the contract did not increase substantially, the town would consider absorbing that increase rather than passing it on to residents.

• The board gave Austin Bullock permission to hire Jeremy Goff as a new part-time officer. Bullock noted that Goff also serves as the deputy marshal in Roanoke.

With the hire, Bullock stated that his staff now featured Deputy Marshal Joseph Becker, three part-time officers and two reserve officers.

• Fire Chief Tom Wuensch requested authorization to purchase a variety of items for his department. Desired items included a new set of turnout gear, approximately $1,500; six sections of firehose, $950; four pagers, $350 each; and two pairs of glasses that can be worn under fire helmets, $80 each. Council granted Wuensch’s requests.

Wuensch also informed the board that he had been voted in to serve another two-year term as chief.