Town of Dumfries

The following was among actions taken at the Jan. 8 meeting of the Dumfries Town Council. For more information, call 221-4133.

TOWN CHARTER -- The Town Council, with two members absent, voted unanimously to seek from the state legislature several town charter amendments that would permit the town's mayor to vote on all issues before the council and make the charter more consistent with Dumfries' town manager-council form of government.

The proposed amendments will be submitted to the General Assembly during the current session, which began last Tuesday.

The town mayor, like mayors in the towns of Quantico, Occoquan and Haymarket, presides over meetings and over town business as chief executive officer and votes only in the case of a tie vote among the six council members.

Councilman Edward Graham, who proposed the amendment, said permitting the mayor to vote would make the mayor more "accountable" to the citizens.

"The citizens have the right to know where all elected officials stand," said Graham, explaining that the amendment was not directed specifically at the current mayor, Samuel Bauckman.

Bauckman has stated his opposition to the amendment, but made no comment before the vote, according to Graham. Bauckman could not be reached for comment.

Also opposing the amendment on the mayoral vote were absent council members Clyde Washington and Betty Mejia-Fraley.

Washington said, when reached after the meeting, that "the mayor {now} has the right not to express an opinion. I feel a mayor should speak when he feels it's necessary to speak."

The other proposed amendments would bring the charter in line with Dumfries new town manager-council government. The town hired its first town manager in the summer of 1988 to serve as Town Hall's chief administrative officer in charge of all departments. Before, the mayor was the chief administrator of all departments.

The proposed amendments would formally place all town personnel, including the town treasurer and town clerk, and departments under the town manager.

One amendment would also eliminate the town police sergeant position as recommended by the state Criminal Justice Services department, which reviewed police department policy and procedures last summer. State officials said the sergeant position is a liability to the town because, under the charter, the sergeant has full police officer powers but is not required, as regular police officers are, to be certified by the state. The current sergeant, now charged with enforcing town zoning ordinances, plans to retire in the near future.

City of Manassas

The following were among actions taken at the Jan. 14 meeting of the Manassas City Council. For more information, call 257-8211.

POWER LINES -- The City Council approved tentative plans by Virginia Power to run a large transmission line on 69-foot poles next to the Grant Avenue side of the city water tower and near Skyline Color Lab on Prince William Street.

Virginia Power's plans for the 230 kilovolt transmission line, which would stretch six miles from Manassas to Clifton, stills needs final approval from the State Corporation Commission, which regulates high-voltage power lines.

The power company originally planned to route the line along the railroad tracks on the border of the historic district, but that proposal raised considerable opposition. Manassas residents argued that the line would detract from the appearance and economic future of Old Town Manassas.

Rejecting the opponents' suggestion to bury the line, a state official recommended to the SCC that Virginia Power instead move the line's planned route a block away from Old Town, beginning at a pole near the city water tower and running down the northern side of Prince William Street to a parking lot next to Skyline Color Lab.

At the meeting, the council agreed that if the SCC does not order the line to be placed underground, then the revised route would be acceptable.

Town of Occoquan

The following were among actions taken at the Jan. 8 meeting of the Occoquan Town Council. For more information, please call 491-1918.

PET PICK-UP ORDINANCE -- The Town Council agreed to hold a public meeting Feb. 12 on a proposed ordinance that would require people to clean up after their dogs when they defecate on town property, such as parks and sidewalks.

The proposed ordinance comes in response to complaints to council members from several residents that the town is littered with dog waste, according to Town Mayor LaVerne O. Carson.

Under the ordinance, pet owners could be fined from $10 to $50 for failure to pick up after their pets.

The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 314 Mill St.