Town council tackles packed agenda
Council members addressed one of the busiest agendas it's seen, maybe ever, according to Marlinton mayor Joe Smith.
Smith said construction on the depot should begin within a month.
"We did contract paperwork last Wednesday or Thursday," he said. Bids were also opened last week on the proposed wellness center.
During the Mayor's Report, Smith said that after a two month delay, the state auditor will be here this week to audit the 2010-2011 books. Commitments for the state-wide Spring Clean Up program are also progressing well, he said.
"We've gotten several people that have come forward and said that they want to do some things," said Smith.
Smith talked about a recent initiative to track municipal water loss with a monthly water loss statement.
Smith said water loss was as high as 69% but is down now.
"A good improvement," he said. "We're losing about 49% of the water we pump, leaks and things, as far as we know."
Smith discussed a recent insurance inspection.
"This is the one we got wrote up on severely last year," said Smith. "This year we got wrote up on the basement again. The fire alarm system in this building is non-functional. Smoke detectors, fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, the whole system. It was put in in 1974 or '75 when the building was built. It is outdated, you can't get parts for it and it absolutely does not work, so our only choice is to try to replace it. I've contacted two local people that deal with this sort of thing, I have no idea how much it's gonna cost."
Smith was recently asked to write a letter of support for two new murals in town.
"When I say two, it's really one," said Smith. "Half of it will go on the Flower Shop and half of it will go on the Times office. It will be a Civil War mural with the Yankees on one side and the Rebels on the other side. I did write a letter of support. The one they did over on Loretta's building is nice and I think this one will be nice, too."
Council members talked about the enforcement of town ordinances.
"The state police or the sheriffs are not going to be walking around to find things wrong per se," said council member David Zorn. "If a car is parked illegally or something, they're not going to know that. Citizens have to come to town hall and make out a complaint form. At that time, it's acknowledged that there is a problem. That person is sent a copy of the ordinance and if they don't oblige then the mayor tells the state police, and the state police gives that person a ticket."
Council members discussed new cross connection fees. The fees are an annual flat-fee set by local government to address backflow. According to the Charleston Water System website, backflow is the reversal of the normal flow of water. It happens as a result of fluctuations in water pressure and can allow contaminants to get sucked back into a plumbing system or public water supply. Currently the state only requires that businesses are subject to the fee, but that may change in coming years according to Smith.
"The town didn't initiate this, this came down from the state," said Smith. "It'll be a separate bill from the water, it'll go into the water account but it will be an independent statement. It's one of those things we're obligated to do. In two to five years it's probably going to be every building, every household."
Council members voted to allow the Opera House Foundation permission to place two mobile handicapped parking signs in front of the building during events or activities.
"I kind of like that option," said council member Norris Long. "I really don't have a problem with that at all."
Smith talked about the towns need for a new chlorine process analyzer. The unit is basically a chlorine regulator attached to the top of a chlorine tank, according to Smith.
"I got a quote on it. There's only one person in West Virginia that sells it. The one we have was bought secondhand back a good many years ago and it is basically wore out, and it's expensive. A new one is $3,823.70 plus freight charges. It's something we have to have, it's that simple. The one we have could at any time go bad, and then we have no regulation of chlorine."
"The unit that we have right now, if it were to malfunction?" asked Long.
"We would have to close the water plant down until it was replaced or repaired," Smith responded. "If all our [water storage] tanks are completely filled, all of them, they estimate with normal, conserved usage, no car washes or anything, we have about a three-day water supply."
Council members voted to purchase a newer model dump truck from Mitchell Chevrolet to replace its current truck. The newer truck is a 2005 Chevrolet C4500 with a 6.6 liter diesel engine, automatic transmission, 14 foot bed, and 62,091 miles at a cost of $29,858.
"Our accountant was up here today, he said we have the money in different accounts and we can pay for it flat out," said Smith.
Smith said Mitchell's wasn't interested in the older truck, but estimated its value at between $2,000 and $2,500.
"Mitchell's doesn't want it, but there are some people that are interested in it as a farm vehicle. We'd have to put that out to bid."
Council member Natasha McMann talked to board members about a new town recycling initiative. She consulted with Mary Clendenen of the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority on the project.
"It's about $100 a ton to recycle," said McMann. "There is money out there, for municipalities it's up to $75,000 we could request to start. We could ask for money just for a study, a feasibility study."
Smith agreed the program had potential.
"It'll definitely be a benefit to the landfill, it'll be a benefit to us on our tipping fees," joked Smith. "If we could recycle 25% of the garbage that we pick up, that could be a benefit to the town."
McMann envisioned a place in town that could be within walking distance.
"There's a lot of people in town, maybe some of our older residents in town that don't have vehicles, who can maybe just take a bag of plastic bottles up there," said McMann. "They could just walk. I'm looking for something you can walk to easily."
Smith suggested an ideal location along the Greenbrier River Trail where there is already a cement slab from a previous structure. Council member Zorn expressed concerns over unsightly bins.
"It wouldn't look dumpy from the trail?" he asked.
Smith said that the town could put up a fence and make it look respectable.
Council members adopted a town drug and alcohol policy for the first time in a unanimous vote.
Council members voted to offer David Johnson a water plant operator trainee position with the town.