LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Mayor: Keep town government

To the editor:

On July 12 the Mineral Town Council had its regularly scheduled meeting. Councilor Ed Jarvis requested that the town charter be added to the agenda for discussion. When this topic came up, he made a motion to begin the process of annulling the charter.

Councilor Tom Runnett seconded this motion, and after discussion a vote of three in favor (Jarvis, Runnett and Roy McGehee) and two opposed (David Lawson and Ed Kube) was recorded. 

Jarvis told The Central Virginian that his reason for his motion was because the town has no plan and is diminishing. He has been on the town planning commission for three years. If a plan is what he is looking for, why has he not provided one?

I ask what is his definition of diminishing. My definition is not a town that has a DMV Select office that has always been one of the state’s three top-performing branches; a new town hall; a VFW Hall and Masonic Lodge; and numerous other businesses. Also, a very active Little League ball field, a playground and three restaurants that are always busy, a motel and a bed and breakfast. 

We have our own water system, sometimes supplemented with water from the county. Our sewage is handled by the county. We have a 12-year-old farmers market that is visited by county shoppers regularly. We have a cemetery that is filling too quickly, a rescue squad, a fire department that would lose $15,000 if the charter is annulled. We also have Walton Park, which is constantly used. We also have The Journey Home, a blessing to those in hard times. We got our LOVE sign before the signs became so popular. All this within a one-square-mile incorporated town.

We do not have a police department or court system because they are not needed.

On July 19 the mayor, at the request of three councilors, called for a special meeting to be held on July 22 to discuss the motion to annul the town charter. McGehee decided he was no longer in favor of the motion and wanted to re-discuss before the council went forward. If there are any benefits in annulling the charter, the council wanted to hear them. 

In order to have this meeting, four council members needed to be present and five to possibly annul the previous vote. Only three attended (Kube, Lawson and McGehee); Henshaw, Jarvis and Runnett did not attend. There were 14 community members present to state their opinions on the issue. Without the number needed to have a formal meeting, I allowed the public to make their statements. 

All present were against annulling the town charter and questioned if the members of council who considered this should be allowed to remain on the council. The three councilors present and I all committed to not support annulling the charter. McGehee apologized during the meeting for having supported it.

We are a quiet, small community that for our tax dollars get weekly trash pickup, street lights and a sense of a safe community that is priceless. I ask, what is missing? If your lifestyle requires more, then a small town is not where you should call home. 

The town council’s next meeting is Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. at town hall. I urge you to attend.

Pam Harlowe

Mayor, Town of Mineral

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