During Christiansburg Town Council’s regular Tuesday night meeting Jan. 23, Council member Tim Wilson made a motion to put a budget amendment back on the agenda for appropriation of funds to the Montgomery Museum of Art and History, followed by Tanya Hockett’s motion to readdress salary increases for Council.
During the previous Jan. 9 regular Council meeting, Wilson, along with Johana Hicks, had voted to not approve funds to the Montgomery Museum, and with council member Casey Jenkins abstaining from the vote, the action was left tied. In the case of a tie, Mayor Michael Barber must vote, and he then approved funds in the amount of $10,000.
However, Wilson stated his conflict arose when the vote was brought to the council for appropriating funds to the previously approved budget amendment for the Montgomery Museum.
“I don’t support the funding of community support grant items; however, almost immediately leaving after I voted no to both the two different museums, the Childrens Museum and the Montgomery County Museum, I voted no to appropriate something that was approved by council,” Wilson said. “And that, I keep telling you that, because that’s the part that conflicted me was that the council had already previously approved it.”
Council member Tanya Hockett also requested that the previous budget amendment to increase council members’ salaries be added back to the agenda for a future Council meeting.
“Council, in December, approved raises and I was consistent in voting no,” Hockett said. “My reasoning isn’t because I don’t think that our time and effort is valuable. There are a lot of things that we’re required to do. I simply wanted us to post that amount and I wanted to share that with the community.”
In the council meeting’s presentations, Director of Human Resources, Alicia Dials, shared the annual report with Christiansburg Town Council on resource programs and initiatives. Additional Human Resources team members also consist of Danette Poole, Senior HR Generalist, and HR Coordinator Wendy Lilly.
As part of the Human Resource mission statement, Dials said, “our employees are our greatest resources!”
In addition to the many roles that Human Resources play in the Town with recruitment and hiring processes, compensation, benefits, and professional development, the team has also been working on the implementation of a new software called Tyler Munis for the past year and half, Dials said.
“We finally went live with payroll, the HR payroll implementation on December the 18th. So, we have now run two payrolls successfully through the Tyler Munis software and we’re very excited everyone got paid,” Dials said. “We haven’t seen too many hiccups, but along with that we implemented the employee’s self-service portal. This is through Tyler Munis as well.”
The goal of the platform, Dials said, is to have all employee information in one place for ease of access. The new program allows employees to conduct personal employee business like make changes to emergency contact information, see personal information, and view pay and adjust tax withholding without having to visit the HR office. The ability to enroll and make changes to benefits on the portal is also a priority, Dials said, and they plan to have this available sometime in April.
The Town of Christiansburg currently has several employment opportunities open and has been working to fill these positions strategically and cost effectively. Open positions can be found at www.christiansburg.org, through LinkedIn, Work Rocket, and social media locations such as Facebook. The Town also has a Twitter account, @CburgVaGov.
“I am happy to report that our vacancies are down to 21, this is as of yesterday,” Dials said.
The TOC Wellness Program, which began on July 1, 2023, has 60 employees participating now and provides up to two hours of fitness time away from work each week. Employees may also take two free classes through the Recreation Center or the Aquatic Center in Christiansburg. Employees interested in this program can utilize the website, a downloadable application, or a paper form that they may submit, according to Dials.
During citizen comment, Ellie Travis represented Downtown Christiansburg, Inc. and expressed appreciation to the town.
“As you might know, over the past 18 months, Downtown Christiansburg updated our mission statement to focus on partnerships with the town business owners in our community,” Travis said. “And, over the past six months or so, we’ve really seen an increase in our partnerships, and we really feel like we’re working together for the promotion of our downtown.”
Charles Robins, an individual who is currently living in the Christiansburg area without a home, addressed Council concerning the number of homeless people coming into the area without anywhere to go during frigid temperatures. Robins said that 24-hour businesses, for example the convenience store Sheetz, are often a place that homeless people will go to warm themselves during the peak cold hours.
“If you’re like me and outside when it’s a 9-degrees, like it was the previous night, thankfully its warm this week, it’s also coming with rain and more ice afterwards, I’m kind of wondering why there isn’t a single warming center here in town,” Robins said. “My best knowledge, the last 10 years, I’ve never seen one.”
Robins said that Valley Hope Church opened their doors at 5 p.m. during the frigid weather but expressed that they were not in the town limits, and it is also a distance from the nearest known homeless camp. Valley Hope Church had three people come to their warming center and hope to continue offering this service and offer rides to their church facility. However, it can be difficult for homeless people to call or contact someone for assistance.
A conditional use permit was approved that would “allow the use of machinery and equipment sales, service and storage, and for a contractor equipment storage yard, and for rental of equipment commonly used by contractors in the General Business (B-3) District,” according to the agenda posted on the www.christiansburg.org website.
The CUP does have conditions that must be met that can be read in their entirety on the agenda and minutes Board Doc.
Council member Kim Bowman stated that a provisional should be put into place that would satisfy the applicant and surrounding business and homeowners.
“The B3 zoning intent does restrict large trucks and nuisance noises and by the very nature of this business, these are both a concern for the adjacent businesses and property owners,” Bowman said.
The Council passed the CUP with a 5-1 approval. Council member Johana Hicks voted nay and Kim Bowman was non-responsive.
The Council also had a 6-0 approval on a conditional use permit to establish a planned housing development of 114 apartments at the terminus of Sunset Drive in Christiansburg in a (B-3) General Business zoning area, with an associated vacated right-of-way request.