Ash

Daniel Michaelson, biologist, with Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries launch a boat into the Dan River at Abreu-Grogan Park landing on Wednesday in Danville. He will take U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dept. of Interior biologist out onto the rive to gather water and river bottom sediment samples from the coal ash spill at the Dan River Steam Station operated by Duke Energy upriver in Eden, N.C. 

Danville City Council approved a $2.4 million settlement Tuesday evening from Duke Energy for damages caused by the 2014 coal ash spill.

“It’s been a two-year process and I’m glad to see we’ve come to an agreeable settlement,” city council member Buddy Rawley said.

The February 2014 spill at the energy provider’s shuttered Dan River Steam Plant in Eden, North Carolina, dumped about 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River.

Council members approved the resolution after a closed special session Tuesday evening. The $2.4 million settlement includes $1.3 million in unrestricted funds and $1.1 million for specific projects.

Council member Lee Vogler said the settlement was a good deal for Danville and its citizens. Rawley and Vogler also thanked city attorney Clarke Whitfield and Charles L. Williams with the firm Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore LLP in Roanoke.

The city has received more than $3 million overall from Duke, including a $500,000 project to improve Abreu Grogan Park.

At the council work session, Danville Director of Finance Michael Adkins gave an overview of the city’s finances and revenues as council members continue work on the 2016-17 budget. Adkins said all personal property taxes and sales taxes, as well as other revenue sources, were on track for the year.

Adkins also gave an overview of the monthly finance report for the Danville Industrial Development Authority, explaining the bank accounts and transactions associated with the board.

Director of Community Development Earl Reynolds presented a plan to transfer a property at 344 Ross St. from the city to the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

“The good news is we have several people interested in buying the property,” Reynolds said.

Danville City Manager Ken Larking also said his office was making progress in discussions with Danville Superintendent Stanley Jones and the school district over ways to fund the 2016-17 school budget request. Larking said he believed he would present on ways the city could fund the additional request during the next council meeting.

In the regular meeting, council members voted to amend the 2016 budget in order to provide for a grant from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. The $31,033 grant will fund hazardous materials training and equipment.

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Metcalfe reports for the Danville Register & Bee.

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