ROCKY MOUNT — After months of battle, Monday marked a victory for Preserve Franklin, the Franklin County group fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

During Monday night’s Rocky Mount Town Council meeting, the council voted to approve a resolution in opposition of the proposed 300-mile, 42-inch diameter, $3.2 billion natural gas pipeline.

At last month’s meeting, the council invited community members to share their thoughts on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, saying it would take their concerns into consideration when determining its stance on the project.

On Monday night, Town Manager James Ervin stood before the council — and about 50 citizens in attendance — to discuss that stance.

Rocky Mount has been and continues to be “pro-gas,” Ervin said, mentioning numerous attempts to bring natural gas to the town. But, at this point, he said, the council has more questions about the pipeline than answers.

“We have to take a position that is in opposition to this simply because we lack the information that those things we hold dear are going to be duly safe-guarded,” Ervin said.

Ervin read the entire resolution aloud, as the council felt the many citizens in attendance would like to hear it.

The resolution says the council opposes the pipeline “until such time as Council may determine that the pipeline does not adversely affect the health, welfare, safety, economy and utilities of the Town of Rocky Mount.”

The council unanimously voted to approve the resolution and submit it to Mountain Valley Pipeline.

One audience member’s whispered “yes” could be heard as it became clear the council was in agreement on the issue. The decision was met with boisterous clapping and a standing ovation. One person even took a video of Ervin’s presentation on an iPhone.

Later in the meeting, the council received an update on the Harvester Performance Center. Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins presented an early budget for the 2016 fiscal year that showed the music venue turning a profit of $56,058.

Hankins indicated that this is a pro forma budget and will be used to guide the center’s spending, but that it is subject to change.

The town is allocating $289,310 to cover building and personnel costs and expects that the shows will be able to carry themselves.

Looking at the shows lined up for the next few months, Hankins said, things are on the right track. Every gold seat — the most expensive tickets offered — between now and Aug. 4 has been sold, he said.

It looks like the center will meet revenue targets for those upcoming shows, Hankins said, and as long as smaller shows pull their weight, the venue will be headed in the right direction financially.

Casey Fabris covers Franklin County, Rocky Mount and Ferrum College.

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