Marlinton council welcomes back Smith
Marlinton council was heartened by the return of councilmember Joe Smith at its May 12 meeting.
Smith was sticken by a nearly fatal heart aneurism and is recovering from major heart surgery, performed in Roanoke, Virginia. Smith told his fellow councilmembers he is back to work, on light duty, and walking a mile a day as part of his rehabilitation.
Council selected Potesta and Associates to design an upgrade to the town's sewage system to meet more stringent phosphorus limits imposed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The council selected the Charleston firm by a vote of 2-0 at its May 12 meeting. Councilmembers Robin Mutscheller and Smith abstained because they were not present at a meeting when applicants' qualifications were reviewed. Councilmembers David Zorn and Loretta Malcomb were not present.
At a previous council meeting, councilmembers scored four companies that had applied on a variety of factors. Greenhorne and O'Mara received a score of 46; RK&K, 45; Pentreath, 39 and Potesta and Associates, 54.
The DEP is imposing stricter phosphorus limits on municipalities and other water discharge permit holders along the Greenbrier River to reduce a severe outbreak of algae in the river. The DEP completed a study in December 2008 which showed a correlation with phosphorus levels and algae growth in the river.ﾠ
The algae seriously degrades recreational use of the river, according to the DEP.
Some municipalities, including Hillsboro and White Sulphur Springs, have hired lawyers to appeal the stricter limits to the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board.
During the mayor's report, Mayor Dennis Driscoll informed council that $103,000 is left over in economic stimulus funds for the stormwater/sewage drainage upgrade project.
Driscoll said he sent a list of equipment he wanted to purchase to both Hannah Engineering and Region IV, Planning and Development Council, for review and/or approval. The list included a Chevrolet truck, backup sewage pumps, a trailer-mounted jetter to clean sewer lines and a smoke blowerﾠ to perform smoke tests of drainage lines.
W.D. Smith, manager of Region IV, said the DEP had final approval authority for expenditure of the leftover stimulus funds, but that the prospect for approval was good.
The mayor said two new aerators received for the wastewater plant were inoperative and had to be returned to Georgia for replacement.
Driscoll said the Federal Emergency Management Administration had approved reimbursement of $21,843 for town snow removal costs as a result of the severe storms in December and January .
Finally, the mayor reported that he and building inspector Dick Groseclose were seeking funds to remove dilapidated, unsafe buildings from the town.
In other business, council:
- approved invoice payments of $23,771.81 to Kanawha Stone for construction work, and $5,000 to Hannah Engineering for design work on the stormwater/sewage upgrade project .
- approved a sign variance request by Rayetta Barnisky to place a three-and-a-half foot square vinyl sign and a 18 by 20 inch vinyl sign on the Snowshoe Career Center building. Barnisky is opening a cafe in the back corner of the building.
- unanimously approved gas expenses for Driscoll to attend a Greenbrier River watershed planning conference in White Sulphur Springs.
- heard a complaint from Jessica Hefner about a neighbor's barking dog. Driscoll said he would refer the matter to the Sheriff's Department Animal Control Officer.
- heard a complaint from Hefner about standing water in her yard. Driscoll said he would contact the Department of Highways to clean out the drains and ditchlines in the area.
- tabled action on a water rate change. Driscoll distributed two proposals to council for review.
- tabled action on contracting Code Red emergency notification services until more information on rates was obtained.
- tabled action on a trailer ordinance variance because the committee was unable to meet. Councilmember Norris Long said the variance was unnecessary because the ordinance does not prohibit a travel trailer sitting on a lot.
- approved a $190 underwriting package with WVMR.
The next meeting of the Marlinton council is scheduled for June 9, 7 p.m. in the municipal building council chamber.