Tuesday, August 4, 2009

2009 Virginia Beach City Council Retreat - Day 2

Council reconvened this morning for Day 2 of their annual Retreat. As scheduled, Economic Development, Transportation, Neighborhood Revitalization, and Tourism were covered. Governance matters were skimmed over as everyone was ready to adjourn after nearly 14 1/2 hours.

Intriguing matters today:

1. Animal shelter - Mayor Sessoms repeated his goal of wanting groundbreaking on a new facility no later than July 1. 2010.

On Monday Councilman Ron Villaneuva related casual discussions he had with Farm Fresh about possibly converting a closed grocery store in Centerville District to serve the need.

2. Transportation - wanting public buy-in on light rail, Council is looking at even broader Transportation discussions with the public. As the Hampton Roads Center for Civic Engagement (HRCCE) has already been planning to hold stakeholder meetings on the issue, the City may partner with the HRCCE.


In today's Virginian-Pravda, Aaron Applegate reported on a proposal to bundle a number of projects and couple them with a dedicated funding mechanism to jump-start them. While Applegate's story specifically mentioned a Property Tax increase, the source of the funds was never mentioned by name during the meeting on either day of the Retreat.

This afternoon Mayor Sessoms threw out a draft list of initiatives for consideration in such a measure: West Bayside Recreation Center, Lynnhaven Parkway Phase XI (i.e. the punch-through to Chesapeake), two replacement fire stations (Chesapeake Beach and Blackwater), a fund to lure Research and Development entities, additional Open Space money, Burton Station redevelopment, a new Animal Shelter, and bike trails.


The following items Council wants to tackle on a regional basis:

1. Higher Speed Rail

2. Alternative/Renewable Energy

3. Road funds

4. Light rail

5. 3rd Crossing/U.S. 460 upgrade

6. Gangs

7. Homelessness


This is what Council put on their state agenda:

1. VRS/Defined contribution (for City employees' retirement)

2. Higher Speed Rail

3. A new outlying field for Oceana

4. Roads Funding

5. Lynnhaven Parkway Phase XI

6. Third Crossing/U.S. 460 upgrade

7. Dillon Rule


Council decided to have a Community Summit in September. The following are the items for it's agenda:

1. Sustainable City

2. Public Transit/Light Rail

3. Community Engagement

4. Project Package & Funding Mechanism

5. City Achievements of the past year

6. City Partnership Opportunities

Council will listen to the public on these first, then hold an additional meeting to vote out their priorities for the coming year.

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