This is the first in a series of articles aimed at studying the Brookneal community, revealing its strengths and vulnerabilities, and how the future may look for Brookneal citizens.

Brookneal Mayor James “Champ” Nowlin, along with town council and staff, are very proud to serve the citizens of Brookneal, founded over 200 years ago in 1802.

Thomas Jefferson was President of the United States and James Monroe was Virginia’s Governor at that time. Some town citizens are collecting signatures on a petition with the intent of forcing the town, Mayor, and council to enter into a “consolidation agreement” with Campbell County.

The citizen who started the petition was featured on a recent television segment related to this activity. The town office has received numerous calls by concerned citizens, especially senior citizens, asking “what is going on?” To be clear, this consolidation effort was not started by Mayor Nowlin or town council. The consolidation group has labeled themselves “Residents for a Better Brookneal” and local attorney Annabel Maley has been assisting the group.

To be a county, city, or town the Virginia General Assembly grants charters thereby conferring and granting authority as official subdivisions of the Commonwealth to local governing bodies. The label “town” does not simply mean some region, geography or community. To be granted a town charter is a very specific legal standing. Without a town charter, there is no “town.” Without a town charter, there will be no more “Town of Brookneal.”

Furthermore there is no half-measure whereby Campbell County can help out in some areas of town operations, and the Town of Brookneal continues to handle some areas of operations. If the town charter goes away, everything goes away. There is no such thing as a partial charter, or a partial town, or partial consolidation, as some individuals have claimed. If town status goes away all town employees will be dismissed, the governing body will be dismissed, and all town services will come to an end.

Read this whole story in this week's Union Star.