Clark Wickliffe named Mayor Pro Tem of Midlothian for second year

Ross Weaver
Photo credit Justin Coffman FB

MIDLOTHIAN – The Midlothian City Council voted mayor pro tem Clark Wickliffe to serve another year in that seat.

Mayor Justin Coffman said of Wickliffe, “He has served well in that capacity, and he has done everything I have asked him to do. He is available to the community and an advocate for the community through that role.”

Coffman moved to reappoint Wickliffe, which passed 4 -1. Place 6 Hud Hartson voted against, and Place 3 Anna Hammonds and Place 1 Allen Moorman did not attend Tuesday’s council meeting.

Before the pro tem vote, Place 5 Ross Weaver took his ceremonial oath of office, sworn in by Judge Kent Traylor.

A resident spoke on behalf of the Kirk and Daily Street area along 1387 in Midlothian. He said he was petitioning to reevaluate the current zoning regulations on the south side of 1387. His proposal to the city council was to transition to a residential-commercial zone.

He said, “A change would serve as a catalyst for growth and revitalization, and it is a vision for a vibrant future.”

He also added that it would bring together residential life with commercial development.

The consent agenda items passed 5 – 0; the minutes from the City Council meetings of May 13, 14, and 21, 2024 and an expenditure from the Midlothian Downtown Business Association’s (MDBA’s) to expend $9,000 of Municipal Hotel/Motel Tax money for advertisement and production costs for the 2024 Midlothian Heritage Day Festival.

The public hearing was approved 5 – 0 for a resolution to adopt the 2024 City of Midlothian Tax Abatement Policy, establishing guidelines and criteria for a tax abatement program. The policy must be renewed every two years. The policy presented Tuesday was exactly the same as the existing policy. Staff noted on this item that the new policy does not affect tax abatement agreements already in place. It also does not guarantee future tax abatements.

On the regular agenda item 2024-184 no action was taken to amend a “Taxation” ordinance with a section titled “Exemptions.” This item was related to tax exemption for the tax year 2024 and each year thereafter on qualifying child-care facilities.

Wickliffe suggested tabling the item. Midlothian City Manager Chris Dick said they could revisit the item after the new budget year and said no one had applied for it or would receive it this year.

Item 2024-185 discussed the city’s strategy when staff moves into the new city hall in November.

The move leaves several thousand square feet vacant. The building could be used as a community center, a business incubator, or demolished.

All the council members seemed to agree the space would be best utilized for downtown parking.

Hartson said, “Help downtown businesses with more parking, and that will generate more taxes for citizens.”

The contents of the building were also discussed. Other than the artifacts to be taken to the new city hall, one suggestion was a live auction for buyers to come in and bid on the contents of the entire room. No decision was made.

Item 2024-186 authorized the City Manager to enter into a Professional Services Agreement with Parkhill for $418,250 for design and engineering costs associated with the Heritage Park expansion and downtown design improvements.

Resident Lisa Healy made public comments on this item. She said, “This was an item on the bond list,” and she suggested “not spending” almost half a million dollars on a park.

“That is our tax money, and there are more important things to spend money on, such as putting a parking lot in,” she added.

Coffman said he believed the process would take several meetings with the council, the Parks and Recreation Board, and community surveys before any decisions would be made.

Again, a downtown parking structure was discussed, and Wickliffe mentioned perhaps it would be a good idea to determine how much parking space is needed and then design the park around it.

Dick told the council he would begin with a concept just for the Back Alley Plaza, Heritage Park, and the triangle.

No action was taken on this item, and it was determined that it would be tabled indefinitely.

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