WINCHESTER – The first City Council meeting of 2022 opened with honors given to a business and non-profit organization that provided outstanding community support in 2021.
The Sinclair Health Clinic and Neer Food Mart were each honored with a Mayor’s Award of Excellence on Tuesday by the man who founded the annual recognition program, Winchester Mayor David Smith.
The awards, Smith said, “are given to businesses, citizens and organizations in our community who have gone above and beyond. They are nominated by community residents” and recipients are selected by a committee overseen by the mayor.
Smith said Neer Food Mart at 1856 Valley Ave. donated eggs, water and gasoline to those in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company also donated lunches to local children, the Winchester Police Department and the city’s fire and rescue service.
“They have been great community members and we appreciate all they have done,” Smith said before presenting the award to Neer Food Mart President Rajesh Sood.
Sinclair Health Clinic, a nonprofit agency at 301 N. Cameron St. that provides free and reduced-cost medical, dental, and psychological care to low-income local residents, was honored for its mission to care for people uninsured and underinsured.
“Their values include … placing patients above all other considerations and empowering them to take charge of their health,” Smith said as he presented the award to Sinclair Health Clinic CEO Katrina McClure.
In other business at Tuesday night’s meeting, City Council:
- Hosted Madelyn “Mady” Rodriguez at her first board meeting. Rodriguez was named last month to the Ward 4 seat vacated in November by the death of Councilman Judy McKiernan. She was also unanimously chosen by the board on Tuesday to succeed McKiernan on a new committee that will review the effectiveness and composition of Winchester’s appointed boards, commissions, committees and authorities.
- It was unanimously agreed to set the city’s personal property tax relief rate for 2022 at 50%, which means residents and businesses will pay approximately half of the personal property taxes owed on their vehicles. The rate has been adjusted by the board each year since the Virginia General Assembly approved the Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998.
- Held a first reading of a proposal to update Winchester’s standards for granting property tax exemptions to seniors and those with permanent disabilities. The new standards would raise the median annual household income qualification from $40,000 to $58,818, allowing more people to take advantage of the program.
- Unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding that allows the Winchester Department of Social Services to remain at its headquarters at 24 Baker St., in a building purchased by the city for $4,923,451.28.
- Unanimously re-elected John Hill for another one-year term as Vice Mayor of Winchester.
- Doug Watson was unanimously appointed for an indefinite term to the Winchester Towing and Recovery Board and Christian Rousseau for a two-year term on the Community Management and Policy Team, expiring January 10, 2024.
- Unanimously reappointed Leesa Mayfield and Paul Richardson for a four-year term on the Winchester Planning Commission, expiring January 10, 2026.
- Unanimously accepted the resignation of Calvin Allen Jr. from the Winchester Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
Mayor and Council Chairman David Smith, Vice-Chairman Kim Herbstritt, Vice-Mayor John Hill and Members Les Veach, Corey Sullivan, Phillip Milstead and Mady Rodriguez attended Tuesday night’s City Council meeting at the Rouss town hall. Councilors Evan Clark and Richard Bell were absent.