The Common Council of the City of Point Pleasant, a Municipal Corporation in Mason County, West Virginia, met in Regular Session at City Hall, 400 Viand Street at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 12, 2010.
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian L. Billings who led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Darlene Haer/ Flood Wall Committee- advised Council that Robert Dafford, mural artist, would complete the mural project in November 2010. The last mural to be dedicated is of Mad Anne Bailey. She advised Council Mr. Dafford has worked on the murals for five years and they are the most unique since they give a history lesson to all that visit. Darlene told them a surprise reception will be held to honor Mr. Dafford and his hard work and asked for Council to present the artist with a key to the City. Mayor Billings indicated he would order a key and asked Council for a motion to present Mr. Dafford with a key to the City of Point Pleasant for all his hard work and dedication on the murals. William Park made the first motion, while Mr. Bonecutter added the second. The motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Haer concluded with advising Council they would receive invitations for the reception that will be held at the Gallery at 409 presented by Main Street Committee and the Flood Wall Committee.
John Bibbee/ Skateboard Park- spoke to Council concerning a location for the propose skateboard park. Determining the location is the first step in moving forward with bids. Bibbee feels the Harmon Park area would cause the least disturbance, and recommended two areas. He said the area to the left of the Youth Center has a large enough spot and it would not affect any ball fields or parking. He also suggested there is a low lying area across the road along the curve that the City owns that could also be a possibility. Council agreed to the left of the Youth Center is a good location but questioned whether the drainage project would cause a problem. Mayor Billings indicated he spoke with Mike Davis of Burgess and Niple and he indicated he did not think the skateboard park would interfere with the drainage project. Mr. Doeffinger said the engineering for the project should be completed within a month and adjustments could be made with the park location. James Bowles made a motion for the skateboard park to be located in the Harmon Park area, and Mr. Bonecutter added the second motion which passed 10-0. Mr. Bibbee also spoke of the specs for the pad that is necessary for the park. Councilwoman Smith advised she had a virtual video that has the specs on it and he can use it as a guide. Bibbee then spoke concerning the costs and the different avenues he will explore in an effort to fund the project. He had several great ideas for the funding and hopes to move forward with the project. In conclusion, Bibbee stated that he hopes to have the skateboard park completed by June 21, 2011, which is National Ghost Skate Day. This is the longest day of the year and it is being recognized all around the world.
Richard Mabe asked to be on the agenda, but was not present for the meeting.
Derrick Taylor/ Krodel Park Campground Manager- told Council the campground was nearing the end of the season and would be closing November 1st. Taylor stated that he had a great year and estimated closing deposits would reach nearly $40,000. Last year the closing deposits were $22,000. He also told Council he made some additions this year with recreational games that he furnished for campers and he also provided firewood. Taylor advised he would like to have a meeting with the Recreational Committee to allow them to view questionnaires from campground guests, and to discuss new ideas for next camping season. Taylor mentioned there are some necessary improvements that need to be considered for the bath house and restrooms. Mayor Billings applauded Mr. Taylor for his hard work and additions he made to the park this season and hopes to see him back. James Bowles and Elaine Hunt recommended that Mr. Taylor be reimbursed for his out of pocket expenses. Mr. Taylor indicated it was not necessary, he enjoyed the season and hopes that Council will allow him to continue as the manager of the campground.
Gene Zopp addressed Council regarding the tolling of U.S. Route 35. He first read a letter that he wrote to Governor Manchin that asked for the Governor to allow the residents of Mason County to have a vote on the tolling of Route 35. Mr. Zopp gave proposed alternatives to tolling the new U.S. 35 upgrade. In addition, Mr. Zopp made a request of Council to write a letter to Governor Manchin, State Senators Mike Hall and Karen Facemyer, local state delegates, the Parkway Authority, the West Virginia Department of Highways, and FHWA requesting a county vote of registered voters on the tolling. In conclusion, Mr. Zopp announced that funding could possibly become available from the Obama Administration that touts a $50 billion transportation proposal.
William Park made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular council meeting for September 13, 2010 and a second was given by James Bowles. Motion to approve minutes passed 9-0-1, with Sam Juniper abstaining. A motion made by Linda Smith was seconded by Robert Doeffinger to approve the financial statements of the General, Coal Severance, Water and Sewer Funds for the month of September 2010. Councilman Juniper asked Teka McCauley, administrative assistant if she was able to verify receipts with the CSO account balance. Ms. McCauley advised Juniper she is working on the receipts and verifying project numbers and based on the training she is receiving from Accufund it will be more involved than originally thought. The financial statements were approved 10-0. Councilman Marshall Bonecutter made a motion to approve the outstanding obligations for the month of September 2010, and Mr. Park seconded the motion, which passed 10-0.
Attorney Stein asked Council for a vote to approve the 2nd reading for the amendment to article 305.02 pertaining to two hour restricted parking on Main Street. Stein received a motion from Mr. Juniper to approve the amendment and a second was given by James Bowles. Juniper told Council he spoke with various merchants on Main Street and 11 out of 15 where in favor of the proposed amendment. Mr. Doeffinger voiced concerns of enforcing such an ordinance when it was tried in the past and failed. Juniper advised it would be necessary for the Police Department to chalk tires and enforce the parking ordinance. Other Council members advised they did not see parking as an issue many face on Main Street. Juniper responded by advising Council that businesses are complaining mainly because it is renters that are taking up the spaces, not consumers. Juniper also indicated he received compliments from the merchants thanking him for addressing the problem and asking them their opinion before passing an amendment to the ordinance. Mayor Billings also indicated that renters and Courthouse employees are using the spaces, which prevents citizens from being able to shop. Mr. Doeffinger advised writing letters to those that are causing the issues. A final vote was called, which failed 4-6 with Bonecutter, Doeffinger, Park, Smith, Hunt, and Brown casting the no votes.
Attorney Stein told Council he has received a list of those delinquent on their municipal service fees from the water office on two occasions. He advised that he is working on the list and wants to fully understand and confirm his understanding that even if someone is not provided with city water and sewer they are still subject to the municipal service fees. Mr. Juniper advised Stein he is correct according to Article 747. He did indicate that one problem that seems to reoccur pertains to properties of those who have passed away and the Sheriff’s department becomes the administrator of the estate. The Sheriff’s department is billed and they pay, then when it comes time to settle they are unable to due to continuous bills. Stein feels that the estate needs to settle and then fees can be passed onto the inherited property owner, Council agreed. Mr. Stein concluded by advising he would proceed and take action to put liens on those that are very delinquent and apologized for the delay.
Councilman Doeffinger asked Attorney Stein for an update on the Yeager property. Stein advised he has recently hired a part-time associate at his office and they are currently working on this issue, as well as, the Franklin property issue. Stein hopes to have an update to present to Council during the November meeting.
Mr. Doeffinger also asked Attorney Stein if the recently passed Bill that addresses distressed/rental properties could be used when trying to move forward on the municipal service fee issue.
Doeffinger asked Mr. Stein if there would be a way to incorporate part of the recently adopted Bill and make an amendment to Article 747. The bill indicates that out of state owners are to appoint a local agent as a contact for issues that arise. If we had names and addresses we could send municipal service fee bills to those individuals. He asked for Stein to review the Bill and make changes necessary to track these people and make them pay their municipal service fees.
City Clerk Amber Tatterson invited Council to a Neighborhood Watch meeting that is being held at Heights United Methodist Church on Tuesday October 19, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. Tatterson said that Brad Sang is volunteering to act as the chairman for one year and wants to hold a meeting once a month at various local churches. She indicated the City would be placing a notice in the local newspaper bulletin and she would like to see Council members become involved and show support. A few Council members indicated that there have been attempts in the past to begin the groups and they have not been much of a success. Tatterson indicated that Mr. Sang has expressed a great interest and has several ideas he hopes will make this time a success.
Clerk Tatterson then read a Resolution to accept an agreement with the Transportation Enhancement Program for a grant that will allow the installation of an HVAC system and replacement windows in the A.F. Kisar House. Leota Sang made the first motion to accept the resolution and Linda Smith added the second which passed 10-0.
Tatterson informed Council that Harvey Blain and James Stearns serve on the Board of Zoning Appeals and their terms expire this month. Tatterson asked for a motion to re-appoint the two gentlemen for another three year term. Gary Cotton made the first motion while Elaine Hunt added the second. The motion passed unanimously. Tatterson also advised that after the packets had gone out she received a call from Tim Scarberry who serves on this board and he advised that he would like to resign his position due to lack of involvement. She asked for Council to consider someone for his replacement for the next meeting.
Clerk Tatterson then told Council that Sylvia Casey currently serves on the Historic Landmark Commission and her term expires this month. She asked Council if they wished to make a motion to re-appoint Ms. Casey for another three year term. Councilman Juniper then mentioned he did not think there was a member from the Main Street Program currently serving on the Commission. Based on Article 145, a member of the Board of Directors of Main Street Program shall serve on the Historic Landmark Commission. Juniper made a motion to table to the position until someone from the Main Street Program can be recommended. Gary Cotton added the second and the motion passed 10-0.
Tatterson then told Council she received two bids for the sewer department dump truck. Matheny Motors in Parkersburg submitted a state bid for $74,925 and King Kutter II in Gallipolis submitted a bid for $95,523. With bids being received, Tatterson told Council they needed to determine how they wish to make the purchase. Juniper said Dave Snowden, accountant for the City, indicated the possibility a capital grant from the general fund. However, he wished to ask further questions when Snowden is present. Mr. Doeffinger advised the capital grant is a loan from the general fund to the sewer department. Juniper advised he felt it would be better to finance the dump truck as the City did with the garbage truck. After much discussion it was determined that a lease purchase would be best since the sewer department will be asking for a rate increase, which would absorb some of the truck cost. Doeffinger asked for Attorney Stein to determine the legality of a long term lease purchase. Juniper asked for Tatterson to receive bids for the financing and present them to the sewer and finance committees. Mayor Billings asked to move fast due to the need of a new truck. Tatterson agreed to research rates and call a special meeting if necessary to move forward with the purchase.
Clerk Tatterson concluded with asking for Councilman Juniper to speak pertaining to his request to discuss the need of a sanitary board for the drainage project. Juniper made a motion to create a sanitary board and Gary Cotton added the second motion. Juniper then referred to a handout citing West Virginia code 16-13-2 and 16-13-18 that discusses the need of a sanitary board and the qualifications, terms and compensation. Juniper also referred to an email sent to Attorney Stein from Mr. Spiker, the outside attorney for the City. Juniper said that Spiker admits the City ‘shall’ create the sanitary board. Doeffinger has advised the DEP has indicated the board isn’t necessary. The City will obtain loans and generally those loans are backed by bonds and the board would be necessary at a later time; however the City is on solid ground now and should hold off until absolutely necessary. Juniper indicated all the paperwork is there that supports the need of a sanitary board, which is attached to the official minutes. Not having a board could halt the drainage project. Doeffinger stated that Council is the elected officials and they can make the decision to hold off on the board. He feels beginning the board prematurely could hold up the project. Juniper asked for Council to read the loan documents he provided that outlines the steps and stated that his motion stands on the creation of the sanitary board. Juniper also stated that according to the Point Pleasant Register, the Town of New Haven is in the process of creating their sanitary board to be able to move forward with their projects. Tatterson called for a final vote on the creation of the sanitary board, which failed 2-8 with Juniper and Cotton casting the yes votes.
Juniper also asked to discuss Business and Occupational Taxes on class four properties. Juniper asked Clerk Tatterson what progress has been made on the list of class four properties he provided. Tatterson advised she has a general letter drafted that cites Article 731.10 pertaining to Business of furnishing property for hire. The letter will be sent to all who currently own rental properties in the City of Point Pleasant; it is just a matter of addressing each envelope.
Mayor Brian Billings advised Council he has worked for over a year to secure a piece of steel from the World Trade Center disaster. Billings made contact with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey after receiving an article from Councilwoman Leota Sang. Billings felt it would be a historic artifact he would like to be displayed in the lobby of the City Building, Mason County Library, or even local schools. Billings also indicated that he would have the piece of steel dedicated on the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy. The Mayor advised he is trying to find out the cost to ship the piece of steel, but has yet to receive an answer. He asked Council for a motion to submit the agreement with the Port Authority and if the cost isn’t too large, have the piece of steel shipped to the City. The Mayor also indicated that he is willing to solicit funds if necessary to obtain the piece of steel. Councilman Juniper made a motion to allow the Mayor to complete and submit the necessary paperwork and then inform Council of the costs. Mr. Cotton added the second motion, which passed 10-0.
Mr. Billings advised Council he and Clerk Tatterson recently met with Frank Athey, the gentleman who purchased the former Point Pleasant High School property. Billings indicated there are not any definite plans for the property at this time. Athey has indicated he hopes to bring a grocery store and a steakhouse, and that he has been contacted by a few businesses that wish to locate on the property.
Mr. Billings updated Council concerning dredging that is needed at the Point Pleasant boat launch. He referred to a letter received from Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito that stated they are unable to dredge due to various issues. According to Capito, mussels are in the water at that location and they do not have the funding necessary to move them to a new site. Also, they have a real estate issue that prevents them from finding an upland disposal area where they can dump the material dredged.
Mayor Billings then read a letter from the Public Service District’s Attorney James Kelsh addressing the Point Pleasant and Mason County PSD Sewer Agreement. According to the letter, the district would rather pursue the construction of a new plant in Camp Conley rather than entering a joint venture with the City of Point Pleasant. The letter invites the City to attend a meeting being held with the DEP and the PSD that will discuss the change in approach. In conclusion the letter asks for the support and cooperation of the City for the new endeavor. Mr. Doeffinger then gave an update of what lead to this new approach. Doeffinger feels it is unnecessary to attend this meeting. The City has no opposition to the new approach and wishes the PSD well with the new endeavor. Councilman Juniper indicated he felt the City should receive a refund for the $4,000 that was in the original agreement with the PSD for this
project. Doeffinger then made a motion for the Mayor to send a letter declining to attend the meeting and to express no opposition to the new wastewater treatment plant they hope to construct. Mr. Juniper added the second motion and the motion passed unanimously. Juniper then asked for Attorney Stein to read the original agreement and see if there is a way to get back the $4,000.
Mayor Billings told Council he wanted to discuss the new pay ordinance that was recently enacted. Billings advised that when adopting the ordinance approximately $1,600 was removed from the paycheck of the Mayor’s position due to cost of living adjustments that were previously received. It has been proposed to amend the pay ordinance for the Mayor that takes office July 1, 2012 by adding the $1,600 back onto the Mayor’s salary. Sam Juniper made a motion to refer this matter to the Finance Committee before voting on the amendment. Councilman Doeffinger added the second motion. Juniper indicated the current pay ordinance states figures that may not be clear in representing the Mayor’s true salary. Juniper also would like to amend the City Clerk and Treasurer’s salary. The final vote was called and passed 10-0 to call a finance meeting to discuss the pay ordinance.
Mayor Billings advised Council that Willie Call, street commissioner, has indicated some tree and vegetation needs to be removed from the riverbank at the picnic area to 14th Street. Billings indicated this is necessary to follow FEMA guidelines. Mr. Call received two estimates for the removal. Fetty’s Tree Service estimated a cost of $4,500 and Johnson’s Tree Service estimated $2,500. Council had many questions and after much discussion, Mayor Billings advised he would like to get more information to clear up any misunderstandings and present this matter to Council at a later date.
The Mayor told Council Mr. Call has also asked for two new trucks and a backhoe for the Street Department. The current backhoe has 6,000 hours on it and parts are being replaced. The estimate Mr. Call provided indicated a used backhoe could cost approximately $52,000. Council asked how many backhoes the City currently owns and the Mayor indicated he thought one, maybe two. Council asked for the Mayor to find out how many backhoes the City currently owns and to discuss the purchase at the finance meeting. Mayor Billings spoke of the street department’s need for two trucks. Billings said that once the new truck is received for the sewer department, the old truck will go to the street department, but they still need a couple trucks. Mr. Call provided a list of state bid trucks and asked for Council to consider a few on the list. After much discussion, it was decided that the street department is in need of some vehicles. This issue will also be discussed during the finance meeting.
*At 9:12 p.m. Mayor Billings asked Council for a motion to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters relating to Code 6-9A-4. Councilwoman Smith made the first motion and Marshall Bonecutter added the second and the motion carried.
*At 9:20 p.m. James Bowles made a motion to come out of executive session. Mr. Park added the second motion which passed 10-0.
Upon returning from executive session Mayor Billings spoke concerning personnel matters previously discussed. A motion was made by Marshall Bonecutter to hire an electrician for 32 hours a week and hire a full time employee for the water department who will work and obtain the necessary licensing. Juniper added the second motion. Mayor Billings advised the jobs would be posted as required and hopes to fill the positions by December 1, 2010. The motion passed 10-0 for the new hires.
Gary Cotton asked for the Mayor to inform Council of an issue that recently took place at the water office. Mayor Billings spoke of a resident who was disputing her water bill. The individual was behind on her bill and had her water turned off. She complained to the water office and the Mayor of a misunderstanding of payments. Mayor Billings asked the water office to provide the individual with the past three months of billings and payments. She told the Mayor he had the authority to dismiss the charges and turn her water on and he referred her to call the Public Service Commission. The resident and her boyfriend entered the water office three times in a disorderly manner and 911 was called to vacate the man from the premises. Cotton asked for the Mayor to provide the water office employees with mace and that this issue should not have happened. Mayor Billings agreed, but indicated that they will be provided with mace and the gentleman is not permitted on the premises.
James Bowles told the Mayor that vehicles are entering behind the flood wall at the 14th Street gate. He indicated there is a lot of activity and traffic in that area all hours of the night. He asked for the police department to be aware of the situation and to consider blocking that entrance. Mayor Billings advised he would inform the police department and see what can be done.
Marshall Bonecutter advised he has spoke with Police Chief Watterson concerning Ohio licensed vehicles in his area. There is one car that has been parked in his ward for 11 years. He indicated there are several cars that have Ohio licenses that are living in West Virginia and they should be forced to register their vehicles. Juniper also advised he sees a lot of the same in his ward and he has notified the police department.
Robert Doeffinger spoke concerning the rejection of the parking ordinance. He asked Attorney Stein if the current ordinance will remain in place. Stein advised he only added paragraph (g) and it was the amendment that failed and the other paragraphs would remain in force. Doeffinger indicated the merchants do need help, perhaps Main Street could do a consensus and bring to Council. Mr. Doeffinger indicated that it would be good if Mr. Humphreys could make contact with the merchants and give a recommendation. The Mayor indicated he would speak with Mr. Humphreys. Elaine Hunt advised that something does need to be done, but didn’t feel the two hour restriction was the answer. She also stated that she received a call asking her not to vote for the amendment to the ordinance. Doeffinger spoke of a septic smell near the American Legion, from First Street to Third. He believes something is not flowing properly in the sewer lines and it needs attention. Doeffinger concluded with giving Council a handout to update them on the drainage project. The handout listed items that have been completed to date and a schedule for upcoming events. A copy will be attached to the official minutes.
Leota Sang thanked the Mayor for the letter he sent to Senators Hall and Facemyer concerning blacktop. Then she asked if the sewer department has began flushing/cleaning the sewer lines. Sang had concerns of residents being aware of when it began and the precautions to take since many residents do not receive the newspaper. The Mayor indicated the newspaper listed the necessary precautions and residents are welcome to contact the sewer department with any questions and concerns. She was told that it was on the radio and that it should not cause any problems for residents.
Sam Juniper told Council the City will need to hire a Bond Attorney to assist with the CSO project and mentioned the name John Stump. Juniper stated that Mr. Stump is rated number eight in the state and he would be able to advise the City of what steps should be taken with the project. Doeffinger advised he felt it was premature to hire a Bond Attorney at this time. He believes the schedule would allow until at least February before he would be needed. Juniper indicated there are easements and right-of-ways that still need to be obtained and 80% of the right-of-ways have to be obtained before a rate case can be completed. Juniper thought it would be a good idea to consider the attorney at this point so the project can move forward. Doeffinger stated this issue should be tabled until the first of the year. Juniper concluded with asking the Mayor to contact State Road concerning the traffic signals at 28th Street and Jackson Avenue. He indicated the sun shields might be broken or damaged.
Being no other business, James Bowles made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:00 p.m. Mr. Bonecutter added the second and the motion carried.
Amber D. Tatterson, City Clerk
Brian L. Billings, Mayor