Marlinton pulls together during hurricane
In the opening minutes of Marlinton's regular town council meeting Monday night, Mayor Joe Smith took a moment to thank the different agencies and volunteers that pulled together during Hurricane Sandy.
“I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Office of Emergency Services, the sheriff's department, the West Virginia State Police, the fire departments, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army for their quick response and professionalism in which they handled the problems. Also I would like to thank the many volunteers who offered their help any way it was needed, and the Huntersville Baptist Church for the many hot meals they served.”
Smith said this summer's derecho storm might've helped organizations better prepare for Sandy. He said the advanced knowledge of the storm helped, as well.
“They started announcing this storm almost a week ahead,” said Smith. “We had gotten our generators and everything prepared in advance. The National Guard was here the night that we got snow, the Red Cross was here, the Salvation Army was here — they fed over 200 down here Wednesday night.”
“I'd like to commend Allegheny Mountain Radio for the communications that they were able to provide in the tri-county area during the storm,” added council member Norris Long.
With the storm behind them, the council tended to other business.
Smith said the town received a letter from the West Virginia Housing Development Fund regarding a
pump station at Fran Manor. The town will eventually be asked to integrate the station into the town's infrastructure.
“Can you share any information as to the advantages of it being accepted by the town?” asked Long.
“The disadvantage is we'll be responsible for the upkeep,” Smith said. “The advantages — I know of none. The town has never maintained that pump station, but we've always paid the electric, that was part of the original agreement. It really will become a liability to us. Just like any other pump station, when the pump goes bad, we'll have to replace it.”
Smith said he corresponded with Preferred Tank and Tower Company regarding one of the water tanks at the cemetery in town.
“It was decided we had to take one of them out of service because it was in bad shape,” explained Smith. “They called me and submitted a proposal on a tank to replace the one that's in bad shape. I talked to our engineering people — the price is fair. It's a used tank that they'll take down and put back up, that's probably why the price is fair.”
Smith presented a new draft election ordinance to council members.
“This is only a working copy,” Smith said. “I think probably in January we'll need to get together, have a work session, everybody put their thoughts into it and really work on a new election ordinance. I felt like we needed a beginning point and that's what this is.”
“To reiterate, this is only a draft. The ordinance that's currently on file is available for viewing at the Municipal Building,” Long said.
Smith informed council members that he'd heard from local business owner Rick Malcomb recently regarding garbage pick-up fees.
“He owns a business down here on Main Street, and he owns a warehouse up here,” Smith said. “We are charging him pick-ups for both places, and he doesn't think he should be charged for pick-ups at both places. It is two different locations. If we begin making exceptions, we're gonna begin creating a problem. That's my opinion, but it's your decision. He wants a waiver on one of the two places. He said he'll carry his garbage, I think, from the business on Main Street to the warehouse.”
Council members agreed to table the issue until Malcomb could be present.
Council members reviewed bids for a garbage truck they had advertised to sell. Council members voted unanimously to accept a bid from Marlinton-area contractor Terry Bennet in the amount of $2,850.
Smith said the town is in negotiations with Potesta and Associates to purchase a new combined sewer overflow pump at the cost of $4,015.
“What this is, it's a meter that tells you much overflow we have,” said Smith. “They strongly recommend we have it. When we have extreme high water or severe rain and our system can't handle it, it overflows out this one particular pipe down below the old football field at the elementary school and flows into Knapps Creek. It is a licensed, permitted overflow.”
Council members addressed the purchase of four “dandy bags” for the town's sewer grates.
“When we wash off parking lots or streets, it catches the solids and keeps them from going into our system. You take the bag out and dump the bag so leaves and things like that won't go through our system. They're reusable bags, you just wash 'em off with a hose and reuse them,” Smith said.
Council members voted unanimously to purchase the bags once they ensure all the grates are the same size.
Council members debated whether to upgrade the computers in the town offices.
“The last time our computer system was upgraded was in 2007,” Smith said. “Jeff Feamster gave us a complete proposal which we do not need at this time. We do not need an upgrade to the server. He recommends we get on some type of cycle where every two to three years we'll have work station upgrades, every two or three off-years we get a new server, that type of program.”
Smith said the office did not need new LCD monitors, just two computer workstations.
“He's quoting us $1,299 each plus $155 per hour to change the things over. I have no idea what that might entail in changing them over,” Smith admitted.
“Well, they have to transfer all the data and software programs — depending on what you have it could be hours,” offered town recorder Robin Mutscheller.
Council member Sue Helton agreed that the process could take all day or even two days.
Council members agreed to table the agenda item until an estimate for installation could be obtained.
Smith said the lawn mower the town uses to maintain the cemetery is out of commission.
“The one that Kenneth Faulkner drives — the transmission went out,” he said. “It's going to cost $2,500 to put it back on the ground. Kenneth and I went to talk to John Deere. They have our lawn mower right now, waiting for us to decide what we want to do.”
Smith said he was told that lawn mower prices will go up after the first of the year, but he received an appealing offer on a new mower.
“Right now, a $10,000 lawn mower, he's willing to let us have for $8,400 plus a $3,000 trade in on the one that's settin' down there. It brings the new lawn mower down to $5,400 with a four year warranty on it. The lawnmower we have now we've had for not quite four years.”
Smith said he spoke with the mechanics at John Deere about wear-and-tear on the riding mower.
“It's the type of terrain that lawn mower is exposed to day-in-and-day-out — hillsides. They can fix it. We can spend $2,500 and get it fixed — no guarantees that it might not break on us again next fall, next summer, next spring. So I went ahead and got an estimate on it. I really believe the cost is fair. Or we can keep the one we have, repair it, and hope for the best.”
Smith said if the town was to commit to the price of $5,400 before the end of the year, the warranty would not kick in until the mower was picked up off the lot next spring. Council members voted unanimously to purchase the new mower.
Helton talked about the re-confirming of the name of a street in town.
“We were here at our personnel meeting and we talked about Jenny Split, the extension of Eighth Street. I went back to the courthouse and did a little bit of research. I did find that Jenny Split's proper name is Morgan Street. There's a plat on the back of the wall at the county clerk's office — the original blue print, and the name is Morgan Street.”
“Sue is absolutely right. Eighth Street physically ends at Tenth Avenue,” agreed Smith. “It is a separately named street completely. It will not interfere with anything that 911 did because there's no houses on it.”
Council members voted unanimously to re-confirm the name of the street as Morgan Street.
“Next time we order signs, we'll sign it accordingly,” Smith said.