6Suburban Acres Civic League

Minutes for General Meeting Held on: June 11, 2018

Prepared by:  Peter Beznoska

Meeting called to order by Louis Gabriel, President, at 6:35 PM, followed by Pledge of Allegiance.

New Neighbor Report: No new neighbors.

Community Resource Officer Report: Given by Officer William Old, Norfolk PD

Officer Old notified the members that the Norfolk PD doesn’t want the Community Resource Officers reading crime stats in the Civic League meetings, but he can go over cases, issues and incidents and any resolutions or investigations ongoing.

Incidents to report/Discussion Items:

-The recent robbery at the Tinee Giant on Thole Street was perpetrated by 3 males, one of which lives in the area, but not in Suburban Acres.

-Several cases of shoplifting at the ABC Store in Wards Corner.  Perpetrator has been charged and sentenced to 1 year and 3 mos. term.

-They are looking into the recent issues with graffiti tagging but need more info.  Officer Old requested that any member that had any info to give him a call or note.

-Karen Mayne informed the members of two issues on Suburban Arch involving an abandoned bicycle and attempted car break-ins.  

-Officer Old indicated that his Captain is big on truancy and curfews and to report any youth under the age of 18 out and about past 11PM.

-Officer Old also reminded members that he is not allowed to go onto Nextdoor.com, as per the policy of the Norfolk PD.  Information posted there needs to also be directly disseminated to him.

-Members discussed various surveillance options for private properties, the Norfolk Crime Line App.

-President Gabriel advocated for more monitoring of speed on Thols Street and indicated that the Civic League has not given up on acquiring a digital speed limit radar sign for our area.

-Karen Mayne did go to a recent Police Community meeting and learned that the speed radar signs are effective for a couple weeks, but lose their effectiveness over time.  The city is not going to implement any more permanent signs, but there are several temporary ones that move around the city.  The waiting list for those signs is approximately 6 months or more, as is the experience of a few nearby civic leagues.

Guest Speaker: Andria McLellan, City Councilwoman, Superward 6

Ms. McLellan presented the members with a breakdown of the City Council’s accomplishments and ran the members through her priorities for the short and long-term.

Priorities include:

-Focusing on important communities outside of downtown like Wards Corner, Ocean View, St. Pauls, Five Points

-Improving the Council’s relationship with the school board.

-Improving the economy and infrastructure to boost the Norfolk middle class

-Flooding and funding streams for mitigating risk from storms and natural disasters.

Flooding:  Ms. McLellan ran through some details of the major issues for the Council revolving around flooding mitigation.  She indicated that the issue is not only an environmental concern, but a major factor in how the bond rating agencies and bond issues look at and analyze Norfolk.

St. Pauls Quadrant Project:  This is a major focus for the City Council.  49% of the Hampton Roads Regions’ public housing capacity is located in Norfolk.  These communities were built in the 50s and 60s and are in desperate need of repair.  Major flooding concerns for these communities as well.  

Parking Downtown: Improvements to revenue generations from parking downtown will be a focus as technology needs to improve.  Parking Revenue Fund for the city is practically insolvent.

Property Tax Increase: Ms. McLellan also ran the members through the various issues involved in the decision to raise property taxes in the city.  She mentioned that Norfolk has increased taxes the least of all the Hampton Roads communities since the recession.  The city is receiving much less funds from the State.  Members pressed Ms. McLellan on making sure money goes to the areas they were earmarked for, as this was a well-known issue with prior tax increases.

Other topics introduced were:

-Dark Fiber network for Hampton Roads

-Norfolk is developing an Open Data portal

-The City is currently at about 50/60% of its debt limit, but it cannot take on anymore debt as city council imposes a 10% budget debt service limit.

-Member comments and questions included touting the private school system, improving maintenance for schools and how Civic Leagues can improve focus and execution for key community concerns.

-Light Rail budget details:  12 million in total operating expenses funded by $3.4 million from the STate, 7 million from the city and 1.7 from the fare box.

Announcements:

-4th of July parade details discussed.  10AM parade line up and 10: 30 parade start followed by gathering and refreshments, as well as prizes.

-Honda of Norfolk accepts old electronics, oil and other recyclables

-Primary Day: June 12th

-Next meeting will be held at Norfolk Collegiate on July 9th.

-Thank you to Member Lissette for providing the food for this month’s meeting.

Committee Reports:

Membership: no new members

Treasurer: Account balance = $2,456.83

Neighborhood Watch: nothing to report.

Wards Corner Task Force: Wards Corner Community meeting  is June 20th as 6 PM at the Workforce Development Center.

MEETING ADJOURNED, 7:53 pm