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 Monday, March 8, 2010.
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian L. Billings who led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Jacob Hill/Heather Wood- Regatta Committee addressed Council concerning the date for the Independence Day fireworks display. Council previously voted to hold the fireworks on Sunday July 4, 2010. Heather Wood advised Council the Regatta typically runs Thursday through Saturday. They have tried in the past to extend it to Sunday, but that failed due to lack of support. Jacob Hill advised Council he obtained approximately 280 signatures from citizens who would like to see the fireworks display the closing night of the Regatta. Ms. Wood told Council they have a riverboat cruise scheduled for Saturday evening and asked Council to consider changing the fireworks from July 4th to July 3rd, 2010 so those who purchased tickets could enjoy the fireworks display. Councilman Gary Cotton made the first motion and Sam Juniper added the second. The motion passed unanimously to hold the 2010 Regatta fireworks on Saturday July 3rd.
Golden Herdman- Point Pleasant’s America in Bloom Committee asked Council for approval to install pet waste stations at five sites around the City. He proposed placing the stations at Krodel Park, Tu-endie-wei State Park, Riverfront Park, Gunn Park and the War Memorial. Mr. Herdman indicated it would be at no cost to the City. The Committee is able to obtain funding to purchase 5 stations with 2,000 disposal bags per station, which holds 400 bags at a time. The committee currently is seeking individuals that will donate funds to purchase future replacement bags that cost $68 for 2,000 bags. Herdman advised Council that Point Pleasant in Bloom would maintain the stations if the City was unable, but asked if the City would want the responsibility. Councilman Juniper made a motion for Point Pleasant in Bloom to maintain the stations. James Bowles added the second, and the motion passed unanimously 9-0. Mr. Herdman advised he would speak with the Mayor prior to the placement of the waste stations.
Dallas Kayser- Trinity United Methodist Church spoke to Council concerning the Court Street Alley that runs adjacent to the Church. The alley is open to through traffic, but the congregation has concerns of safety for children and the elderly. Mr. Kayser and Rev. DeQuasie asked for Council to consider closing the alley before someone gets hurt. According to Rev. DeQuasie, they do not intend to build on the property, but it could be used for handicap parking or utilized for a picnic area or a playground. Council advised the Planning Commission Board would have to address this issue and, if approved, an ordinance would have to be written and adopted by City Council. Mayor Billings indicated he would have the City Inspector, Jeremy Bryant, set up a meeting with the Board and report the results to Mr. Kayser and Rev. DeQuasie.
Pam Thompson- Director of the Mason County Library presented Council with a handout displaying annual donations the library is receiving. She indicated the library is receiving $119,840 State Grants in aid. The State Law requires the library to match this amount through local funding. Currently the library is receiving funds from the Mason County Commission ($65,000), Mason county Board of Education ($20,000), Town of New Haven (7,850), Town of Mason ($3,000), and the City of Point Pleasant ($2,000), which totals $97,850. She was able to secure the shortage with grants, but those are becoming scarce. She reminded Council of the service the library provides to the community. There are more individuals utilizing the facility for internet usage and for other materials in part due to the increase in unemployment in Mason County, which causes expenses to rise. If the library is not able to match the aid, then they will lose the money they are currently receiving. Ms. Thompson asked for Council to keep the library in mind when working on the annual budget allowing for them to keep the current donation of $2,000 and to consider a possible increase. No action was taken at that time.
Johnny West- Westwood Catering approached Council proposing a lease with the City to provide concessions at Krodel Park for the camping season, April through October. He will provide various food items, beverages, frozen desserts, as well as, fish bait. As part of the lease agreement, he asked for the City to provide an air conditioner, hand-washing sink, water heater (if necessary) and asked for water service and utilities to be included. No action was taken and Council advised West the City would seek bids from vendors to provide concession service during the camping season. West would be required to submit his bid once it is publicized.
Barry Franz/ Brent Smith- Burgess & Niple (Brownfield Grants) advised Council the City’s current Brownfield grant is nearing its end which was extended to September 2010. Franz indicated grants are available for new projects that would include 2 local sites- one being the former Valley Bell site and the other is the former WV Malleable Iron site. Both sites are to have soil and groundwater samples completed by September 2010.
Joe Veith- Point Pleasant Police Department (Police Pension Fund) asked to address Council on behalf of the Police Pension Board. Veith discussed Council’s recent vote for the Police Pension fund to reimburse the City for $239,635.04 in one lump sum. Mr. Veith gave a brief history concerning the pension fund. He advised Council that the City pays out approximately $9,000 a month to retirees and their widows from the general fund. In turn, the police pension fund is to reimburse the account. However, due to change of staff in the past, the reimbursements have not been made as necessary. He also told Council this happened in the past and the pension fund reimbursed the general fund approximately $70,000. Veith thought the situation had been rectified until recently when he was told that the fund currently owed the general fund $239,635.04. Council was advised of the oversight in February and voted for the pension fund to reimburse the general fund with one payment for the full amount. Veith advised Council the Police Pension Fund Board is the only one that can make a request for funds to be release and they are not prepared to do so at this time. The Board does not want this to have a negative impact on their funds. Councilman Robert Doeffinger advised Veith that the City is responsible for the account and any negative impact would be paid by the City. Veith concluded with asking Council to reconsider their previous vote and allow a payment schedule of quarterly installments of $30,000 over a two year period, which is the length of time it took for the $239,635.04 mistake to occur. Robert Doeffinger made a motion for the Finance Committee to further address this issue and follow-up with the Pension Board. Linda Smith made the second motion, which passed unanimously 9-0.
Shelia Hurst- 1506 Ohio Street spoke to Council about her concerns with the condition of Ohio Street. She wants fair consideration for all roads in Point Pleasant. Ms. Hurst made contact with Councilman at Large, James Bowles who advised her to direct her concerns to City Council. Bowles spoke of the poor road condition on Ohio Street which has been an on-going problem for over forty years that he has lived in that area. Mayor Brian Billings informed Ms. Hurst that the City lacks funds to fix and repair the roads properly. He indicated there are approximately six miles of road that are in desperate need of repairs. The Mayor also spoke of recent letters submitted to state and federal lawmakers asking for assistance and advised the City is searching for grants that would offer assistance for the necessary repairs. Councilman Sam Juniper told Ms. Hurst he intends on asking for money to be set aside for the repairs.
Gary Cotton made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular council meeting for February 8, 2010 and a second was given by James Bowles. Motion to approve minutes passed unanimously 9-0.
Gary Cotton made a motion to approve the minutes of the special meeting for February 18, 2010 and a second was given by Barbara Brown, the motion passed. A motion made by Linda Smith was seconded by Gary Cotton to approve the financial statements of the General, Coal Severance, Water and Sewer Funds for the month of February 2010. Approval of the financial statements passed 9-0. At that time, Sam Juniper asked for bank statements for the month of February. Teka McCauley, Administrative Assistant gave Mr. Juniper the requested information. Gary Cotton made a motion to approve the outstanding obligations for the month of February 2010, and James Bowles seconded the motion. Mr. Juniper made mention of the expense to Jeff Feamster and Mountaineer Computer Systems. Juniper asked the Mayor if we have contracts with them. The Mayor indicated he would do some research and follow up with Council.
City attorney R.F. Stein asked Council for a motion to approve the third and final reading of the proposed Pay/Salary Ordinance. Linda Smith made the first motion and James Bowles added the second motion. Councilman Juniper then made a motion to send the ordinance back to the Finance Committee for amendments. Juniper indicated the ordinance needs to show the accounts used to pay the Mayor, City Clerk and Treasurer’s salary since the general fund is not the primary source of payment. He also indicated the annual sewer and water reports do not indicate how the funds are allocated either. James Bowles added the second motion for the committee to review and amend the ordinance. The motion passed 9-0. Stein then called for the final vote to approve the third reading for the pay/salary ordinance; however, the motion failed 0-9. Attorney Stein concluded by discussing the Franklin Property located on Main Street. He advised Council the City has never formally accepted the property despite the deed recorded showing the ownership to the City. Stein advised Council they could formally accept the property and then re-sale to alleviate the liability issues or they could pursue legal proceedings against the Franklin’s. Council voiced concerns of accepting the property to re-sale that ranged from liability issues until sold and the duty to disclose problems with the property. Sam Juniper made a motion to pursue legal proceedings. The motion received a second from Councilman Doeffinger. The motion passed unanimously 9-0.
City Clerk Amber Tatterson discussed a draft for the proposed Alcohol and Drug-Free Workplace Policy for the City of Point Pleasant. She advised Council they received a copy of the draft in their packets and asked if there were any revisions or additions desired by Council. Councilman Gary Cotton asked for part B item number five to be changed to reflect the City having a zero tolerance policy. Clerk Tatterson agreed to work with the City Attorney to meet the requested revision. Tatterson added that she contacted the testing agency, Joe Boggs & Associates, to ask if a contract was necessary and if a discount would be given if the initial testing included 20 employees. According to Joe Boggs and Associates, a contract is not required, only an annual fee of $50 and the rates would remain unchanged for as long as we conduct business with them. Mr. Boggs indicated if we tested 20 employees for the initial testing, they would not charge the mobile fee of $40. Clerk Tatterson then read a Proclamation to recognize the Point Pleasant Black Knight Wrestling team for their recent accomplishment being crowned Class AA/A Wrestling Champions. They additionally offered a congratulations to first year coach John Bonecutter for being voted Coach of the Year for his division. A motion was made by James Bowles to approve the proclamation and Barbara Brown added the second. The motion passed 9-0. Clerk Tatterson asked Council for a motion to approve the 2010-2011 annual budget for $2,803,928. Leota Sang made the first motion while Linda Smith added the second. Council discussed some items that need to be revisited due to some changes. Councilman Doeffinger made a motion to send the budget back to the Finance Committee to review and make necessary changes and clarifications. Sam Juniper added the second and the motion passed 9-0. Mayor Billings called for a final vote to approve the 2010-2011 budget which failed 0-9. Tatterson advised Council the Finance Committee would hold a meeting Thursday March 18, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss various items. Clerk Tatterson then read a Proclamation declaring April Fair Housing Month. The proclamation marks the 42nd anniversary of the National Fair Housing Law during the month of April which provides an opportunity for all Americans to rededicate themselves to the principle of freedom of choice and to reacquaint themselves with the rights and responsibilities that are theirs under the law. Linda Smith made the first motion to approve the proclamation and Marshall Bonecutter added the second. The motion passed unanimously. Clerk Tatterson concluded by advising Council the employee and benefit handbooks were in their packets for review and revision. In the February regular Council meeting Leota Sang asked to discuss the handbook in March’s meeting. She indicated there are some issues with the section titled “advanced sick leave” on page 5 of the benefits handbook. After further discussion with Council, Sang made a motion to strike the paragraph titled “advanced sick leave”. The motion was seconded by Councilman Juniper and the motion passed unanimously 9-0. Tatterson will make the revision to the handbook and present a copy to Council for review.
Mayor Brian Billings asked for Councilman Robert Doeffinger to speak in reference to the North Point Pleasant Drainage Project. Doeffinger advised Council of a recent meeting he, the Mayor, and the City Clerk attended in Charleston with the DEP, Burgess & Niple and Kathy Elliott of Region II Planning and Development Council. Doeffinger indicated the DEP has the money for a loan to fund the North Point Pleasant Project. As of now, DEP is offering a rate of 2%-3% for a 20 year loan. If approved for the Green Infrastructure Grant, those funds would be deducted from the initial loan amount. Doeffinger advised Council they need to move forward with this project since it will take Burgess & Niple three months to get all the necessary items to the DEP for approval for funding. Doeffinger also mentioned the need to move forward with engineering fees. Doeffinger gave Council copies of a proposed agreement for services of project administrator with Region II Planning and Development Council. The agreement outlines the City’s intentions with the project and the services furnished by Region II. He made a motion to give the Mayor authority to act on behalf of Council to sign and accept the agreement for services of project administrator with the understanding the City will dictate the funds. The motion was seconded by Marshall Bonecutter and passed unanimously. Doeffinger indicated that Kathy Elliott, of Region II, would be able to assist the City in securing the necessary funds from start to finish. Mayor Billings then read a resolution to accept the North Point Pleasant Drainage Project preliminary engineering report prepared by Burgess & Niple and submittal of a preliminary funding application to the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council. Robert Doeffinger made a motion to accept the resolution while James Bowles added the second motion. The motion passed 9-0. The Mayor then advised Council he along with Clerk Tatterson, Street Commissioner Call, and Councilman Bowles met with David Humphreys from the Corp of Engineers. According to Humphreys, FEMA has new guidelines pertaining to floodwalls since the occurrence of Hurricane Katrina. The City will be required to be in 100% compliance with those new guidelines to receive federal aid. A certified floodwall specialist will be required to inspect all floodwalls. The City is currently 75% in compliance with those guidelines. It will take approximately 8-10 months to reach 100%.
Mayor Billings received a letter from CSX indicating they would begin repairing the railroad crossing at 11th and Viand Street sometime in the Spring of 2010. The Mayor then asked Councilwoman Sang to speak pertaining to a recent cat problem on Mt. Vernon Avenue. Sang indicated she has received several complaints about the number of cats roaming that area. The Mayor told Council traps have been placed to catch the cats and the City has picked up those cages. They took the cats to the animal shelter but recently were told they would no longer accept the wild cats. He also indicated an employee was bitten and badly scratched by one of the wild cats and he did not think City employees should be responsible for the removal and relocation of the wild cats. Sang advised the Mayor that City Ordinance 505.05 part (b) states the County Dog Warden or any person designated by the Mayor shall impound every dog or cat found in violation of this section. She said the City has the ordinance and it needs to be followed and enforced. Sang also stated she made a call to the animal shelter and was told they do take in wild cats. The Mayor indicated they will do as necessary. Mayor Billings then stated there were some emergency items that approached him and need to be addressed. The items were not on the agenda due to approaching after the agenda was sent to Council members. Apparently the sanitary pump at the City Building is in need of repair. The estimated cost for the repair is $7,976. Mayor Billings indicated the City building would be closed April 2, 2010 to observe Good Friday. He said this would be a good opportunity for the repair to take place since they will need to remove the pump, make the repair, then put it back in place. Councilman Juniper made the motion to approve the necessary repair to the pump and Robert Doeffinger added the second motion, which passed 9-0. Mayor Billings told Council the remodel on Krodel Clubhouse number two has been completed and looks great. They replaced cabinets and countertop, as well as, painted the walls, ceilings, and bathrooms. The Mayor advised he received a letter from Point Pleasant in Bloom concerning a Citywide Yard Sale. They asked for the City to waive any yard sale fees or permits on April 24, 2010 and declare that day “Citywide Yard Sale Day”. Barbara Brown made a motion to waive fees for that day and Sam Juniper made the second motion, which passed 9-0. The Mayor informed Council of the Annual Chamber Dinner that is being held April 6, 2010. The deadline to submit the attendance form is March 31, 2010. Mayor Billings concluded with advising Council Charles Humphrey’s wants to attend a conference promoting the attraction of outlet malls that is being held in Orlando, Florida. Humphrey’s advised the Moose Lodge building is for sale and would be a prime location for an outlet mall. Mr. Humphrey indicated he has received donations from Main Street Development Authority and from County Commission for $300 each. He asked for Council to donate $300 for him to attend the conference in Florida. Councilman Bowles made the first motion and was seconded by Marshall Bonecutter. The motion passed 7-2, with Sam Juniper and Gary cotton opposing.
James Bowles spoke concerning the return of a parked motor home on North Main Street. Mayor Billings advised Mr. Bowles the motor home is legal and parked legally according to Police Captain Joe Veith and City Inspector Jeremy Bryant. Bowles also stated there was a motor home parked in a driveway on Parrish Avenue. It was indicated that this motor home is also legal. According to Attorney Stein, the City has two separate ordinances for travel trailers and motor homes and under the circumstances outlined in those ordinances both situations are legal. Bowles concluded with telling Council several people have asked him about the CSO charge on their water bills.
Robert Doeffinger told Council the Charleston area now has power to clean up distressed or vacated property. He hopes the State will pass the law to help Point Pleasant with distressed properties. Doeffinger asked that Krodel Park’s walking trail is inspected before spring and make sure it is in good walking condition.
Leota Sang spoke concerning the Alley near 2016 Mt. Vernon Avenue. She stated it was becoming overgrown and needs attention but is unsure who owns the land. Mayor Billings indicated the City will take care of it since no one will claim the land. Sang concluded by asking for the City to cold patch and make temporary fixes to Mt. Vernon Avenue until proper repairs can be afforded.
Sam Juniper told the Mayor attention is needed in the Kathnor/Parrish area due to the road caving. He also indicated there is another spot in the same area that needs attention too. Juniper concluded by asking the Mayor to speak with Diane Cromley concerning the ballot for the up-coming election. He wants to know if the City could have residents vote on the possibility of a user fee for those employed inside City limits.
Barbara Brown asked for the Mayor to add Warwick Road to the list of roads that need attention for patching.
Being no other business, James Bowles made a motion to adjourn. Sam Juniper added the second and being unanimously approved, the meeting adjourned at 10:15 p.m.
Amber D. Tatterson City Clerk ________________________
Brian L. Billings Mayor________________________