No, this is not Mel Brook’s the history of the World Part Two!!!

There were three significant happenings in 2009 that may see a resolution in 2010. These are the Old Blacksburg Middle School, First and Main, and Meals Tax on Virginia Tech Campus.

I will be involved along in each discussion with one other council member. This will allow us to present more ideas from council and we will be able to communicate better with other council members as we progress.

Let’s start with the Old Middle School, a subject that has probably been discussed and debated more and longer than Victory Stadium in Roanoke. The time is now ripe for us to come together as a community to find an answer for the future of that very important site.

The Montgomery County School Board finally gave up control of the property to the Board of Supervisors. This was a long process. The Town of Blacksburg felt that until the School Board declared that they did not need to property for future use, it was not appropriate for the town to have discussions about the parcel with the BOS.

There are many ideas for that site from both the BOS and the Town of Blacksburg. We will have to work to find plans that we all can agree upon. I feel the Board understands and I know Town Council understands that the process will have to be open and receive a great deal of citizen input. This piece of property is too important to the development of Blacksburg to do otherwise.

We will keep everyone informed on the progress of our discussions and advertise the ways you can be involved in giving input. Leslie Hager-Smith will work with me on this project.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Town of Blacksburg in the question of the vested rights on the Rugby Field behind Krogers. It was a significant legal decision that will have ramifications across the state. With that decision behind us, it is vital that the town work with the owners of the property to insure First and Main’s success and viability.

We are committed to doing just that! Don Langrehr will work with me on this issue.

For years we have discussed the issue of meal’s tax on campus.

It is important to note that the Town of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech have worked together well in the past and will continue to do so in the future. From my travels across the state I know we have one of the best working relationships between a community and a university.

It is in that spirit that we will enter serious discussions with Virginia Tech about how meal’s taxes are collected on campus and I am confident that we can find some middle ground to forge an agreement.

Again, I want to be clear that the town has no intention of collecting meal’s tax from student plans or from university employees eating at university owned venues. And, it is also important to note that some of the numbers quoted in the newspaper show way too much revenue coming to the town if allowable areas were taxed.

So, once we work out a plan, it is not going to become a windfall to the town nor is this going to be a burden to the University.

I look forward to working with Virginia Tech to put this issue behind us. Susan Anderson will be involved in these discussions.

Of course, this is what we see on the horizon. We do not know what other issues will arise and I am sure there will be other controversial and important items we will have to deal with. I look forward to working with the new council and the citizens of Blacksburg as we tackle the issues both seen and unseen.

Happy New Year All!!!!

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