JOUR 225 Exercise 6.2
The Lynchburg City Council voted in front of a crowd of over 200 people 5–2 against a proposal to move a cemetery and replace it with a supermarket Monday night.
The request to rezone the cemetery located in the 2800 block of Forbes Street was put forth by Carl Erskine. He told the council and crowd that the supermarket would be good for the neighborhood. Erskine also offered to pay for all the costs of relocating the graves to Peaceful Rest Cemetery a mile away from the present site.
After he spoke, the mayor opened up questions and comments from the audience. The general consensus from the audience was against the proposal. Only two of the 20 people that spoke were in favor of rezoning.
Walt Dropo, president of the Forbes Street Residence Association, drew lots of applause when he criticized the zoning commission for not fully analyzing how the supermarket would affect the neighborhood, and he threatened the council members not to vote for it.
“I can promise you that we will mount a campaign to recall any council member who votes for this thing.” Dropo said.
After the speakers finished and the council voted against the zoning petition, the crowd cheered and most left. Only a small audience of about 35 or 40 people remained for the final two proposals.
For the next item of business, Councilwoman Wilma Rudolph proposed a one cent sales tax for the city. The tax would raise about $400,000 to allow the city to avoid potential layoffs and possibly expand the garbage pickup service.
The city treasurer estimated that the tax would only cost family’s about $75 extra a year. The council voted for the tax 5–2.
The final proposal was to license morticians in the city for a fee of $150 per mortuary per year. Several morticians in the audience and the president of the city’s Mortician Society were critical of the proposal. The council in the end decided to table voting on the proposal.
The Lynchburg City Council voted 5–2 in favor of increasing the sales tax by one cent to raise about $400,000 in order to prevent possible lay offs next year.