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, June 7, 2010.
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian L. Billings who led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Dave Humphreys-Huntington Corp of Engineers (floodwall slippage) gave a brief history advising Council the floodwall was handed over for maintenance to the City in 1951 by the Federal Government. The Government still retains the rights of construction and grant of privileges to conduct yearly inspections and assess damage through the Rehabilitation Inspection Program. He then spoke concerning floodwall slippage from Tu-Endie-Wei State Park to 14th Street that has occurred due to a flooding event that took place March 15, 2010. At that time, waters exceeded the forty-foot flood stage which furthermore caused a problem with the already retreating riverbank. Humphreys indicated there is 3,000 feet of frontage that would need to be repaired and he wants to assist the City in making those repairs. Mr. Humphreys drafted an ordinance that would authorize the Mayor to sign on behalf of the City if an agreement could be made for Federal funds to be obtained. Humphreys indicated the only cost to the City would be to gain land rights needed for .65 acres of privately owned property. The ordinance doesn’t obligate the City to anything beyond allowing the Mayor to sign any necessary agreements. William Park made the first motion and Elaine hunt added the second. The motion passed to approve the first reading of the floodwall ordinance.
Nancy Hamm- Mason County Ministerial Assocation discussed Forth of July events that the group will be hosting at the Riverfront Park. The event will include free hotdogs and drinks, recognition of the different branches of the Military, Community Choir, 21 gun salute, and Squire Parsons. The conclusion of the event will be the placement of a large wreath in the river to honor all those who have lost their lives or loved ones in the Military. She invited everyone to join in the celebration and advised Council that the Mayor, Councilman Bonecutter and City Clerk has joined the group to help.
Jerri Howard- Point Pleasant in Bloom Committee advised Council there is not a sign on the North end of town to welcome visitors to the City of Point Pleasant. The committee would like to install a sign that reads ‘Welcome to Historic Point Pleasant, WV’ at the north end of town on the Simon Farm. They have a sign that was donated by Dr. Mel Simon, but the sign needs to be re-plastered and preserved. Ms. Howard indicated the cost estimated by Ohio Valley Plaster would be $1,250 and asked if the City would donate the money necessary for the plaster and preservation. Ms. Howard advised Council PPIB would like to build flower beds made out of stone to decorate the sign and they have plans to allow local artists, Jack Park and Jan Haddox, to build an Indian and Colonist to flank each side of the sign. Barbara Brown made a motion for the City to donate the money and William Park added the second. The motion passed 9-0. At that time, Mayor Billings presented Ms. Howard with a proclamation to express the City’s appreciation of the group’s efforts to beautify the City and promote community involvement.
Sam Juniper- 7th Ward Councilman advised Council that under law the City is obligated to establish a Sanitary Board. In his opinion according to 16-13-2 and 16-13-18, the Sanitation board is necessary to receive a bond since Council can’t back the bond. Sam made a motion to establish the sanitary board and Gary Cotton added the second motion. A motion was made by Elaine Hunt to table this discussion until the July regular council meeting and Linda Smith added the second. The motion passed unanimously 9-0.
Outside Delegations on the agenda that were not in attendance to speak: Melvin Johnson & Terry Wallis, Odean Legg, and Valerie Reynolds.
Dr. William Park made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular council meeting for May 10, 2010 and a second was given by Marshall Bonecutter. Councilman Juniper advised Clerk Tatterson he did not cast a vote in the May meeting when a motion was made to proceed with the lease agreement between the City and the Board of Education for the proposed Skate Park. He asked for the June minutes to reflect the clarification. Motion to approve minutes passed unanimously 9-0. A motion made by Marshall Bonecutter was seconded by Linda Smith to approve the financial statements of the General, Coal Severance, Water and Sewer Funds for the month of May 2010. Approval of the financial statements passed 9-0. Marshall Bonecutter made a motion to approve the outstanding obligations for the month of May 2010, and Elaine Hunt seconded the motion. Final vote to approve outstanding obligations was called and passed 9-0.
City attorney R.F. Stein advised Council the Point Pleasant Police Department contacted attorney Matt Clark to voice concerns with the City’s newly adopted Alcohol and Drug-free Workplace Policy. The officers are currently covered by Civil Service Rules and Regulations which covers alcohol and drug usage, so they feel it is unnecessary to sign the City’s policy. Stein advised he could give Council copies of the Civil Service rules and regulations handbook to look over and then review issues that may be conflicting. Council asked if Civil Service outlines any testing procedures and was advised it only outlines what they should not be doing. After much discussion, Council did not feel any changes needed to be made to the new City policy and officers needed to consider this to be the policy to follow. Linda Smith made a motion to give the officers a deadline of 4 p.m. on June 11, 2010 to sign the consent forms. Sam Juniper added the second motion which passed 9-0.
Stein spoke to Council concerning the new law passed by legislature addressing distressed property. He had been asked to draft an ordinance to allow the City to address such property in the city limits. Stein indicated he believed we have codes that allow the City to address this matter. He advised Council he would provide them with copies of the state law and discuss the issue at the next meeting. At that time Councilman Bowles spoke up and told Council the Middleport Area obtained stimulus money to clean up their City and pave their roads. Councilwoman Sang also spoke and told Council that Gallipolis has been cleaning up their vacant buildings as well. She wants the vacant buildings in our City to be addressed. There are codes that need to be enforced and deadlines set. She asked to proceed with necessary actions against the Yeager Property. She also advised Gallipolis residents are paying for necessary repairs to their sidewalks.
Linda Smith asked Attorney Stein if he completed the lease agreement with the Board of Education for the proposed Skate Park. He indicated he did not have it completed at the time.
Councilman Cotton asked Stein if he had any updates concerning the Police Pension Board’s reimbursement to the City’s General fund. Stein advised the request has been made but no actions have been taken. He was advised the Board is awaiting the results of the actuary. Sam Juniper made a motion to begin legal action against the Point Pleasant Police Pension Board to reimburse the City’s General fund. A second motion was received from James Bowles. The motion passed 9-0.
City Clerk Amber Tatterson asked for a motion to re-appoint Jack Roach to the Housing Authority board. Roach has been an active member of the Housing Authority for 25 years and they have asked to keep him on board. The first motion to approve Mr. Roach’s re-appointment was made by Sam Juniper and the second by James Bowles. The motion passed 9-0.
Tatterson read a resolution to accept a contract with the WV Development Office for Main Street Point Pleasant/ Riverfront Mural Projects in the amount of $14,000. William Park made the first motion to accept the resolution and Leota Sang added the second motion. The motion passed unanimously 9-0.
Tatterson asked for a motion to approve the proclamation to recognize the members of Point Pleasant in Bloom for their hard work and dedication. Leota Sang made the first motion and Barbara Brown added the second motion which passed 9-0.
Clerk Tatterson told Council the Rodder’s Car Club 7th Annual Car Show is set for August 21, 2010 at Krodel Park. The Club is asking for a $300 donation from the City. Tatterson advised the City has been a supporter for the past several years and the Club is asking for the continued support. Linda Smith made a motion to approve the donation and Marshall Bonecutter added the second motion, which passed 8-1 with Juniper opposing. Juniper advised there are pot holes and roads that need repaired in the City.
Ms. Tatterson asked for a motion to approve the proposed sewer budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. Sam Juniper made the first motion and James Bowles added the second. Tatterson indicated if any revisions are needed to the budget they can be made throughout the fiscal year. The final vote passed 9-0.
Tatterson then asked for a motion to approve the proposed water budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. She advised Council the proposed budget currently includes a rate increase of approximately 38% as recommended by outside accountant Jeff Feamster. Tatterson indicated that Feamster stated it was necessary to include it in the proposed budget since the water fund is currently operating above what was budgeted and the United States Department of Agriculture would not approve the budget otherwise. Tatterson informed Council that a budget revision would be necessary if the City was unable to get rate increases approved. Sam Juniper made a motion to approve the proposed budget with the possibility to revise at a later date. Gary Cotton added the second motion which passed 9-0.
*At 8:45 p.m. Clerk Tatteson asked for a motion to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters pertaining to employment and dismissal of a City employee. Gary Cotton made the first motion while Sam Juniper added the second motion which passed 9-0.
*At 9:05 Linda Smith made a motion to come out of executive session and Marshall Bonecutter added the second motion which passed 9-0.
Sam Juniper made a motion to dismiss outside accountant Jeff Feamster effective June 30, 2010 and to hire Dave Snowden effective July 1, 2010 with his proposed rates and reports. James Bowles added the second motion which passed 9-0.
Mayor Billings told Council the floodwall slippage ordinance was previously discussed by outside delegation speaker Dave Humphreys and the first reading was approved at that time. The Mayor informed Council it would be necessary to hold a special meeting to approve the 2nd reading in order to meet the deadlines of approval for the slippage project. He advised the special meeting would be held June 22, 2010 at 7 p.m.
The Mayor then asked for Councilman Juniper to speak concerning the possibility of enacting or amending the City’s current dog ordinance. Juniper was contacted concerning the number of pit bull dogs in the City limits and thinks the City needs to address the issue. Juniper had a copy of an ordinance the City of Mason recently added and asked for a motion to add this to Point Pleasant’s current ordinance with the right to amend. Leota Sang added the second. Gary Cotton asked what the City would do with those who currently live in city limits who own a pit bull. Attorney Stein advised they would be grandfathered in and he could draft an ordinance that would allow the City to enact and amend the current ordinance. It was asked for the ordinance to include language that if any complaints were received pertaining to current pit bulls already in city limits they would be required to get rid of the dog. He agreed to draft the ordinance for the next meeting to include the indicated language.
Mayor Billings told Council Loretta VanMeter, the Red Cross Representative, who occupies an office at the City Building is retiring by the end of June. Billings was contacted by Red Cross and asked if the City will continue to supply an office. Red Cross did not pay rent and has advised the Mayor if rent will be charged they will re-locate. Currently Red Cross pays for the phone bill and Ms. VanMeter’s salary. Billings asked Council if they wish to continue to supply an office to Red Cross or would they want the City to utilize the office space. Juniper made a motion to help Red Cross re-locate and the City to occupy the office. James Bowles added the second motion which passed 9-0.
The Mayor was contacted by residents in the North Main Street area that stated there is excessive speeding occurring and have asked for a stop sign be placed on the sidewalk side of North Main Street. Apparently at one time there was a sign and now it is gone. The sign still remains on Poplar Street but not on N. Main. The Mayor told Council a new sign would be place on North Main.
Billings advised Council he wrote a letter to Shelly Moore Capito concerning the boat launch canal. He indicated pleasure boaters have complained that the canal is in dire need of dredging and asked if she could assist the City in getting the matter addressed. Point Pleasant Fire Chief, Jeremy Bryant, also has wrote a letter to Capito advising the canal needs attention and could compromise his departments ability to perform a rescue. Billings is in hope that between the two letters the issue will be addressed.
Mayor Billings asked for a motion to accept Councilman Sam Juniper’s resignation on the Planning Commission. William Park made the first motion, while Linda Smith added the second. The motion passed 8-0-1 with Juniper abstaining.
Mayor Billings then asked for a motion to appoint Councilman Gary Cotton to the Planning Commission. Mr. Park made the motion and James Bowles added the second. The motion passed 8-0-1 with Cotton abstaining.
The Mayor concluded with telling Council he had an issue that came up after the agenda had gone out that needs to be addressed due to time constraints. Billings was contacted by Brandy Barkey Sweeny from Sunny 93.1 radio station. She advised the local merchants were participating in a Community Promotional event as a closing to summer and return to school. The event consists of 93 individuals signing up to win a free swim, as well as, several prizes that have been donated by the local merchants. The station is asking the City to allow them to use the pool on July 30th, 2010 from 7-9 p.m. and to allow free swimming to 93 individuals. Mayor Billings indicated the City would provide the pool and life guards. The concession stand could be opened to generate some profit. Linda Smith made a motion to allow the radio to use the pool on July 30th, 2010 from 7-9 p.m. Leota Sang added the second motion which passed 9-0.
Sewer Committee- North Point Pleasant Drainage agreement) Mayor Billings advised Council this item would be discussed in the July meeting due to Robert Doeffinger, Sewer Chairman, being absent.
James Bowles asked for the north end gate at the 14th Street floodwall to be closed to traffic. Cars are entering this gate and traveling north behind the floodwall and until it is gated the area needs to be patrolled. The Mayor advised he would get something taken care of at that gate. Bowles also asked for city workers to broom the rocks back into the pot holes in the Southern States area.
Marshall Bonecutter asked the Mayor if he spoke with Willie Call, Street Commissioner, concerning drivers of the garbage truck. Bonecutter wanted to verify all those driving the garbage trucks have their CDL licenses and all are current. The Mayor advised he did not, but he will. Bonecutter also stated the building behind Little Caesar’s pizza is falling in and there is an old abandoned car sitting there.
Leota Sang asked how many new businesses licenses and yard sale permits have been issued. Tatterson indicated that most everyone has been obtaining yard sale permits and there have been several new business licenses applications submitted. Most of the business licenses are for out of town businesses that are working within city limits. Sang advised people are posting signs on the utility poles again and there are codes against this that need to be enforced. Sang concluded with asking why council meetings aren’t getting good newspaper coverage. The girls that came this evening only stayed an hour and then left. Mayor Billings told Sang he spoke with Pam Caldwell and she indicated they are only allowed a certain number of hours a week.
Linda Smith, again wanted to thank City Inspector, Jeremy Bryant, for his detailed monthly report.
Sam Juniper presented the Mayor with a petition addressed to the City of Point Pleasant and the Superintendant of Mason County Schools. The petition states the property owners on 28th Street and close vicinity have been made aware of a possible lease agreement between the City and Board of Education to locate the proposed Skate Board Park on the Immediate School Property. Residents are asking for the involved parties to reconsider the location of the Skate Park. Juniper advised those residents don’t want the added noise or to return to the previous problems they have had there in the past. He also indicated the residents are not against the park, just the location. Councilwoman Smith advised that statistics show that state skate parks can cut down on drug and alcohol use, prevent over-weight kids, and can even help raise students GPA. Mayor Billings told Council that Dr. Capehart with the BOE stated the same statistics and he has seen positive results in areas that provide these areas for kids. Juniper advised the area has had problems in the past and those have been corrected, they don’t want them back. Gary Cotton asked if the current tennis courts could be used since the Athletic Facility is suppose to be getting courts on campus. He also asked why Harmon Park could not be considered for the skate park location. Smith indicated Harmon Park still has flooding issues. Smith also advised that if a location can’t be decided on soon, funding is going to be lost since it is taking too long to come to an agreement and that if someone else is interested in taking over the project then they are welcome to. After much discussion, it was decided to further discuss a location for the skate park in the July meeting. Juniper advised the Mayor he had been contacted by Ron Harper from DHHR, Department of Health and Human Resources. Mr. Harper indicated they have a program agreement that allows DHHR to furnish a full time employee that they will pay for one year if the City will agree to keep them on staff after that year and then the City is responsible for the salary. The Mayor indicated he did have the same conversation with Mr. Harper but declined to enter an agreement. Billings advised Juniper that the City currently has some part time employees who should be considered for full time positions before they offer them to outside citizens. Juniper and Council were in agreement with the Mayor and Juniper advised he would contact Mr. Harper to advise the outcome of the discussion. Juniper asked if the City is utilizing all programs that are available to assist with mowing and city clean-up. The Mayor advised he would make some calls to see if the City could obtain more help. Juniper asked for Municipal Fees to be on the July agenda since many residents are not paying what they are billed. Juniper asked Teka McCauley, administrative assistant why the check registry she provides showed a $240 donation to the Chamber of Commerce dinner. Teka advised she deposited money from those who bought a ticket to the dinner and then wrote one check out of the general fund. The only tickets the City purchased were for the Mayor and City Clerk, as Council approved. Juniper also advised the Mayor he has been contacted by residents that feel several issues in the City need to be addressed by the City Inspector. There is an individual Juniper spoke with the inspector about who has high grass, trashy yard, and a fence that is falling down and it needs to be addressed. Also, residents in the Mt. Vernon area are still blowing grass in the streets. One resident was told there isn’t anything that can be done about it and Juniper stated that in Article 1109 paragraph C it states grass, weeds, and vegetation that is cut down should be disposed of in such a manner that doesn’t cause a nuisance. This allows the City to give citations to violators and needs to be enforced. The Mayor told Juniper he personally spoke with the people in the Mt. Vernon area that were blowing grass in the streets and hopes they will discontinue to do so in the future. Sang asked for City Inspector to give a warning, then write a letter, then issue a citation. Juniper asked for a copy of the 2009 audit and Tatterson presented him with a copy. Juniper concluded with asking the Mayor if the Prosecuting Attorney’s letter concerning the audit was addressed and the Mayor advised he wrote a response letter.
Being no other business, Marshall Bonecutter made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:06 p.m. Linda Smith added the second and the motion carried.
Amber D. Tatterson, City Clerk
Brian L. Billings, Mayor