REMEMBERING COUNCILMAN — Covington City Councilman Bill Zimmerman’s empty seat was marked with a rose during council’s Tuesday work session at Covington City Hall. Zimmerman died Monday at the age of 74. He had served on council for many years and was a former vice mayor of the city. Zimmerman’s colleagues on city council held a moment of silence in his memory before Tuesday’s meeting (Jerome Johnson Photo)
Members of Covington City Council paused for a moment of silence Tuesday evening to remember their fellow council member Bill Zimmerman, who died Mon-day evening.
Zimmerman, 74, had served on council for many years. He was a former vice mayor for the city of Coving-ton.
Following the moment of silence before Tuesday’s council work session, Covington Mayor Tom Sibold gave remarks about his time spent with Zimmerman.
A main takeaway Sibold had from his time with Zimmerman was that no matter how much they disagreed on certain issues, they were able to separate that disagreement once meetings were adjourned.
Sibold said he appreciated that they would be able to get along, joke around and have pleasant conversation.
Zimmerman served on city council from 1976-1980 and from 1998 until his death. His health had deteriorated in recent months.
In addition to the number of committees he served on during his time as a city councilman, Zimmerman also filled the capacity of Covington vice mayor.
Back in 2006, Zimmer-man give this quote that expressed his passion for the city of Covington and his work on city council, “Many of my constituents have urged me to seek re-election. After much thought, I decided that Covington is in too critical a stage to simply walk away from it.”
Zimmerman continued, “With the loss of jobs, schools at a crossroads, major water and sewer projects around the corner and our landfill reaching capacity, just to name a few major issues, now is the time to stay, work harder for regional cooperation, economic development and grow Covington and the Alleghany Highlands into the great area that we know it can be.”
A couple more significant moments during Zimmerman’s time on city council were the boycott of a work session held outside of council chambers and a survey he conducted that reported favor of consolidation and a joint school system.
“Last month, when council discussed bolstering up the local restaurant business by council member attending these eating establishments to show our support, I was all for that,” Zimmerman said back in December 2006.
Zimmerman continued, “In my opinion, it is improper for council to conduct official city business in a privately owned, commercial establishment, be it Applebee’s, Double C Restaurant, D&J’s, Court Street, etc. Our city hall is where we should transact this business and I think that the general public feels more comfortable at city hall than at a restaurant.
“I will not be in attendance tonight at the work session at Applebee’s. I will be at city hall. If anyone wishes to come by and discuss work session topics or add items to next week’s agenda, please feel welcome,” Zimmerman said of his boycott of the Applebee’s meeting.
The survey Zimmerman conducted showed that 51 percent of those responding favored the consolidation of the governments of Covington and Alleghany County.
“I was a little surprised at the 51 percent score on the consolidation issue. I didn’t think it was going to be that high,” Zimmerman said in May 2006 of the survey.
Zimmerman, a 1960 graduate of Covington High School was also employed as a diversion specialist for Alleghany County. For a time, he also served as an advisor to the Covington High School Jayteens.
He also worked at Hercules, Inc., Dominion Bankshares in Roanoke and at Boys’ Home (now known as Boys Home of Virginia).
Funeral services for Zimmerman will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18, at Granbery Memorial United Methodist Church, beginning at 2 p.m.
Zimmerman’s empty seat at the council table was adorned with a rose during Tuesday’s meeting.