Floyd Town Council, in its first meeting of the new fiscal year that began on July 1, continued to raise questions about the Parks and Recreation Authority that voted to disband in January and now is reorganizing with plans to continue.
Mayor Will Griffin told council last Wednesday that a joint meeting involving the town, county and park authority has been set for July 30.
Vice Mayor Mike Patton asked if the town should have an attorney attend future meetings of the park authority, saying he wants the town “protected” is any problems arise.
Griffin suggested a member of council attend the next meeting. Patton appeared Monday for the monthly meeting of the Parks and Recreation Authority.
Little River district Supervisor Linda DeVito Kuchenbuch also attends the meetings as one of the three remaining members of the authority board, which voted in January to dissolve and turn park activities to a county department.
Supervisors created a new county parks and recreation department as part of the new budget that took effect on July 1 and is looking for a new director after the last one went to Montgomery County for more money and better benefits.
Most counties, towns and cities in Virginia operate parks departments as a local government function. When Floyd County’s authority voted to dissolve, it was one of two such authorities in the state.
Council members Wednesday said many unanswered questions remain about how the park authority will mesh with the new county department. The authority currently has debts and is restructuring its accounts.
Kendra Edgall, elected last month as chair of the authority, introduced herself to the council and supervisors at their meetings in June, saying she is working on 30-60-90 day plans and pledged to work with both the county and town.
At her meeting with supervisors in June, Edgall said the authority hopes to concentrate on programs for children and leave athletic events to the new county department. The authority currently owns the park, buildings and athletic equipment. She said the authority hopes to set rates for the county to pay to use the facility.
At the authority’s meeting Monday, Edgall said she is developing plans and hopes to have them to authority members before the joint meeting with the council and supervisors.
Griffin said he hopes the town can work with Edgall.
“We will try to help,” he said.
In another matter, council made no changes, for the time being, on how vendors can and cannot operate within Warren G Lineberry Park.
Current regulations for events in the park allow some sales of food and other limited activities by the fire and rescue squads, but commercial vending is not allowed.
At a June meeting, musician and retired attorney Alan Graf asked for changes in how vendors could display and sell merchandise at a music event scheduled for this fall. Musicians, he said, prefer to sell CDs and marketing merchandise at their appearances.
Council member Bruce Turner suggested the council could look at changes in future events but suggested events already under contract should follow the rules in place.
“I’m not inclined to see merchandise sold in the park,” Patton said.
Graf was out of town for the Fourth of July holiday and did not attend the meeting Wednesday. The council is expected to continue discussion on the matter at the second meeting of the month, slated for July 18.
The council met in a closed-door “executive session” to discuss personnel issues. After returning to open session, the council approved a raise in hourly rates for public works employees of the town, with a new top rate of $16.50 an hour.