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, July 12, 2010.
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian L. Billings who led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Shirley Spears- Park Drive spoke concerning the rezoning of 101 Park Drive. She indicated this address has had several issues in the past and feels that rezoning would be spot zoning that would not be beneficial for any of the neighbors.
Wilma Withers- 1912 Jefferson Blvd. advised Council she attended the Planning Commission meeting that pertained to the rezoning of 101 Park Drive that was held the previous week. Ms. Withers stated she was spoken to rudely and felt the commission had made a decision to rezone prior to holding the meeting. She said she didn’t feel the rezoning would benefit the area.
Beverly Fleischer- Pleasant Street addressed Council concerning the 175 residents that live in the Park Drive area that will be affected by the rezoning of 101 Park Drive. She indicated the area is already a busy traffic area and rezoning the property to commercial use would add even more traffic.
Gene Hern- stated he had previously applied for a variance for a beauty shop and was denied the request. He stated if the Hartley’s are granted their request he felt that would be discrimination against him.
Merrilyn Pridemore- Mt. Vernon Avenue advised Council the rezoning of 101 Park Drive would not increase the traffic flow since that is the main route through town anyway. This location has been a beauty shop in the past and the building is still set up as a beauty shop and it would be hard to convert it back to a residence. She mentioned she wanted this same location 30 years ago but was denied then and she has been paying rent to other locations and business owners for that time.
Keith Pridemore- G&M Fuel addressed Council concerning the rezoning of 101 Park Drive. He stated this building has been used as a beauty shop in the past and feels it should be re-established. He stated the issues for denying the rezoning in the past were due to parking issues. Mr. Pridemore said necessary measures were taken to address those issues and they have cleaned and beautified the property.
Glen Long- Point Pleasant Intermediate School teacher advised Council he, along with other teachers at PPIS, are opposed to the Board of Education’s suggested location for the proposed skate park being located inside the walking track at the school. He also stated that the skate park and the fencing would hinder the ability to see students on the other side of the track area. Mr. Long advised that the track is for their students and with the skate park at that location, the school would not have control over who has access to the area during school hours. He and the teachers are not against the park itself, just the current proposed location. At that time, Shirley Spears added that she thinks that kids need an area for skate boarding rather than using sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots.
Robert Dafford- mural artist addressed Council concerning the floodwall murals. He stated grass and mud along the floodwall is hindering his work and causing damage to the murals. He advised that in the past, concrete pavers have been placed along the floodwall to prevent grass and mud from creeping up on the murals. Mr. Dafford stated that City employees have assisted with the placement of the pavers in the past but time and money has prevented them from helping him out. He asked if city employees can assist in installing the pavers. Mayor Billings asked who was responsible for paying for the pavers. Mr. Dafford indicated he was not sure who absorbed the cost. Mr. Dafford concluded with stating the pavers save time and money now rather than paying the cost to repair the murals later due to damage from weed-eaters and the mud. No action was taken by Council.
Dr. William Park made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular council meeting for June 7, 2010 and a second was given by Gary Cotton. Councilman Juniper asked Clerk Tatterson if a motion was made in the June meeting to proceed with the dog ordinance. Tatterson advised her notes indicated Attorney Stein would draft and present the ordinance in the July meeting for a 1st reading. Motion to approve minutes passed unanimously 9-0. Councilman Cotton made a motion to approve the minutes of the special meeting held June 22, 2010 and a second motion was made by James Bowles, which passed 9-0. A motion made by M. Leota Sang was seconded by Linda Smith to approve the financial statements of the General, Coal Severance, Water and Sewer Funds for the month of June 2010. Councilman Juniper advised the General Fund financial report still has the line item labeled City Administrator and there is no such position. He also advised the Sewer Fund financial report still reflects the CSO revenues and expenditures and those are causing false numbers. Juniper advised he would like to see changes in the reports or it would be necessary for him to contact the Prosecuting Attorney for further investigation. Mayor Billings told Juniper he has made the same complaints in the past and the City has hired a new outside Accountant, Dave Snowden, to assist with various issues. Mayor Billings also indicated time is needed for Mr. Snowden to become familiar with the reports before he can address any issues. Approval of the financial statements passed 8-1, with Juniper casting the opposing vote. Councilwoman Sang made a motion to approve the outstanding obligations for the month of June 2010, and Dr. Linda Smith seconded the motion. Mr. Cotton asked for an explanation for the differences between the listed obligations and the check registries. Teka McCauley, administrative assistant, advised she includes the check registries for any invoices that do not fall within in the reporting period. Mr. Juniper stated there are a lot of items on the registries that should be able to wait for Council approval. McCauley advised she tries to avoid late fees and there are times invoices are requesting immediate payment and that she gets approval from the Mayor or the City Clerk before paying the invoice. Juniper stated Council is to approve all obligations and neither the Mayor nor Clerk has the authority. Other Council members advised Juniper the Mayor has purchasing authority up to a certain dollar amount. Juniper said he understands the Mayor can make certain purchases but that invoices are to be presented to Council for approval and the check registry should be kept to a minimum. At that time, Councilwoman Linda Smith suggested if Council members have issues with the reports, obligations, or the order of procedures they need to schedule a time outside of council meetings to address those issues with the necessary individuals. Mr. Juniper concluded with making Council aware that a City Employee had contacted the PSC about the annual water and sewer reports and found the City had been cited for the reports not being completed and submitted by the deadline. He stated it was his understanding it was due to the previous outside accountant. Final vote to approve outstanding obligations was called and passed 9-0.
City Attorney R.F. Stein addressed Council concerning their request for an amendment and reenactment of Part Five, Article 505.05 pertaining to Dogs or Cats Running At Large. He amended some of the current language and added paragraph (B) Specific Breeds Prohibited, as requested. Stein indicated the City already had an ordinance in place and there was no need to draft a new ordinance. Stein asked for a motion to approve the 1st reading for the amendment and reenactment to part five, article 505.05. Sam Juniper made the first motion while Leota Sang added the second. Juniper then asked Stein if the addition included language to “grandfather in” current dog owners or any complaint language. Stein advised the proposed amendment does not address either issue. Stein stated the current ordinance does not address filed complaints; it only addresses animals running at large, regardless of breed. After much discussion, Councilman Robert Doeffinger made a new motion to have the right to amend the 1st reading of the amended ordinance. James Bowles added the second and the motion passed 9-0. The overall approval for the 1st reading of the dog ordinance passed 9-0.
Attorney Stein advised Council he needed to discuss the testing procedure for the Alcohol and Drug-free workplace policy. Based on a Supreme Court case brought to his attention, he is recommending the removal of certain city employees from the list of those that will be tested. According to state law, only “safety sensitive” employees or those you have a “reasonable suspicion” can be legally tested. Stein stated the law would allow the City to test an employee who works in a “safety sensitive” position which includes anyone who operates vehicles or any type of equipment or machinery and those who demonstrate a “reasonable suspicion” of drug or alcohol abuse. Councilwoman Barbara Brown made a motion to remove clerical and administrative employees to comply with state law. Linda Smith added the second, which passed 8-0-1 with Gary Cotton abstaining.
Mr. Stein concluded with addressing Sam Juniper’s concerns over the need for a Sanitary Board. Stein feels the formation of such a board can be avoided by amending and reenacting an ordinance that was recently amended, sewer ordinance 16-13. He indicated the amendment would need to include language from WV Code 8-20-1. This addition would close the loop hole Juniper identified. Juniper told Stein he read Chapter 8 and there are several issues in there that need further research and discussed before his concerns will be met. Robert Doeffinger indicated the DEP advised it was not necessary to form such a board and he thought it would be another bureaucracy and he didn’t feel other Council members want to create another board if it isn’t necessary. Mr. Doeffinger stated he felt Mr. Spiker, the outside attorney, should be able to give his written opinion on whether the City needs a Sanitary Board. Attorney Stein stated he would make contact with Mr. Spiker and ask for a letter outlining when a Sanitary Board is needed and when it can be avoided. Mayor Billings asked Mr. Juniper if he made contact with the Prosecuting Attorney concerning the Sanitary Board matter and if he has received a response. Juniper indicated Mr. Morgan gave the same recommendation as City Attorney Stein did with making an amendment to ordinance 16-13.
Councilman Robert Doeffinger asked Attorney Stein if he had the opportunity to draft an ordinance to allow the City to address distressed property in the city since legislature just passed a bill. Stein indicated he believed we have codes that allow the City to address this matter and the current bill does not necessarily relate to City matters. Council voiced their desire to address the Yeager property and follow through until something is accomplished. The property is a hazard to the public and the City needs to do something about it. Stein advised Council that the property is not owned by an individual, it is owned by a corporation. With a corporation being involved, an individual has to be appointed to serve on a personal basis and Mr. Yeager will not make that move. Stein feels the only route that will result in an outcome is to go through with filing the necessary paperwork, demolish the building, and plade a lien on the property in hopes the City may recover a portion of the cost in the future. Robert Doeffinger made a motion to proceed with suing the corporation by the ordinance in place and Sam Juniper added the second motion. Stein stated no motion is necessary but Council will need to move forward and not back down when the breaking point is reached.
Sam Juniper also asked Stein about the Franklin property since there are several complaints pertaining to the property. Stein had nothing new to report.
City Clerk Amber Tatterson asked Council for a motion to change the August council meeting from Monday August 9th to Monday August 16th. She indicated the Mason County Fair begins August 9th and the Mayor and City Attorney hold important positions on the fair board and will likely be unable to attend the scheduled meeting due to their involvement. Dr. William Park made a motion to change the meeting to August 16th and Linda Smith added the second motion which passed 9-0.
Clerk Tatterson told Council only one bid was submitted for the repairs to the boat dock at the Riverfront Park. Tatterson said the dock sustained damage due to two separate incidents that occurred over the fall and winter months. Alan Stone Company submitted a bid for $114,941 to make the necessary repairs. Tatterson indicated the insurance company issued two separate checks, one for each incident, that total $107,941, which are subject to a $1,000 deductible for each incident, which ends up being $5,000 short of the total repair cost. Tatterson advised she made contact with the insurance company to request the additional $5,000 that was necessary to complete the repairs and she is waiting for a response. Tatterson told Council, Alan Stone Company also submitted a bid that included upgrades to the dock that may prevent future claims, however the insurance company only compensates for the replacement to the original state. The bid for the upgrades would cost the City an additional $110,000.
The Clerk advised Council only one bid was received for mowing of the cemeteries. Green and Bare It Lawn Care submitted a bid for $2,310 a week. The bid quoted 22 hours of mowing and 44 hours of trimming at $35 per hour. Council took no action.
Clerk Tatterson asked Sam Juniper to speak concerning the City’s municipal fees. Juniper told the Mayor he was made aware of $4,000 in delinquent Municipal fees. The Mayor also indicated he was recently made aware of the situation. Juniper advised that Article 747 paragraph (D) states upon delinquency, the City may file a lien for the amount due which shall attach any real property owned by the debtor. Mr. Juniper stated that the ordinance needs to be enforced. The Mayor indicated he would meet with Attorney Stein to address this issue.
Clerk Tatterson then asked Councilwoman Linda Smith to speak concerning the skateboard park location. Smith indicated no formal agreement has been made with the Board of Education on a location for the skate park. The Board of Education suggested PPIS walking track had room to display the park in the center. The idea has been visited and is receiving opposition. Smith stated statistics that show positive outcomes with skateboard parks. She also indicated kids in this area need a quality, safe place to enjoy and practice their hobby. The community has been told the City would assist with the project. Businesses and citizens have made donations to see this project happen. Smith feels the property is the perfect location for kids within the City especially since other facilities are already located on the property. After much discussion and negative feedback, Smith informed Council that after 3 years of time and dedication, she wished to give up her leadership of the skateboard park committee and suggested Council find someone else to lead the project. Smith also suggested giving back money that has been donated over the past few years for the project since nothing is moving forward at this time. Mayor Billings asked Council if anyone wanted to take over the project or forget the idea. Councilman Cotton asked if the individual has to be on council and was told it didn’t seem to be necessary. Cotton indicated he would speak with an individual and put them in contact with the current committee members. The Mayor advised he would like to see the park happen for the kids.
Mayor Brian Billings told Council that repair work has been completed at the water plant. According to Billings, 150 feet of copper line had to be replaced due to holes and that taps and valves were repaired/replaced as necessary. Elite Mechanical also made repairs to the electric panel. Billings told Council the Sandhill lift station needs some repairs. Precision Pump and Valve estimated the repair cost of $2,670. Mayor Billings indicated these are necessary repairs. Council was in agreement.
Mayor Billings concluded with reminding Council the sewer department needs to replace the dump truck as soon as possible. The truck bed has major leaks and it is only a matter of time before being cited. Burgess and Niple are suppose to be researching whether we can purchase the dump truck prior to purchasing a pick-up truck as indicated in the the project outline. Attempts have been made to contact Burgess and Niple, but no decision has been received at this time. Councilman Juniper suggested that the sewer CSO fund has $30,000 to purchase a pickup truck and that money should be used to make the dump truck purchase. He also indicated that all invoices that pertain to CSO project should be paid out of the CSO account.
Sewer Committee- (North Point Pleasant Drainage agreement) Robert Doeffinger, Sewer Chairman, advised Council they need to act on the Standard Agreement for the North Point Pleasant Drainage Project. Attorney Stein indicated the agreement is a format that seems standard for these projects. Doeffinger indicated this would allow the City to go from bidding through the project design. Robert Doeffinger made a motion to approve the agreement and Gary Cotton added the second which passed 9-0.
Planning Commission- (rezoning 101 Park Drive) Council Gary Cotton read the minutes from the planning commission meeting held June 6, 2010. (attached) He indicated the planning commission voted 4-1 to recommend the rezoning of 101 Park Drive from R2 to B2. Mayor Billings then asked Council to further discuss the rezoning. Sam Juniper stated he knows several requests have been made for the rezoning of this area in the past and were denied. Juniper stated he is in favor of the rezoning. Linda Smith told Council she has two views in the rezoning issue. Her personal opinion is that the property has been utilized commercially in the past and it is in a business area. Her other view is that she is the Councilmember in that ward and there are 175 people in that ward that it would affect and she needs to represent them. Robert Doeffinger told Council that the area has been a constant problem. It is a residence in a business district. He understands the concerns for the people in the area and feels that at some point in the future it will be zoned business. Elaine Hunt stated she was contacted by several residents and feels that in the past others have been denied rezoning and she wants a fair decision to be reached. James Bowles spoke about Mr. Hern being denied in the past and there needs to be a fair outcome. After further discussion, Sam Juniper made a motion to rezone 101 Park Drive from R2 to B2 and Barbara Brown added the second. The motion failed 4-5 with James Bowles, Robert Doeffinger, William Park, Elaine Hunt and Linda Smith voting no.
Gary Cotton asked the Mayor if the City Inspector was responding to Fire Department calls during business hours for the City. If so, the inspector could make time by working the first Saturday of the month following up on yard sale permits and issuing citations. The Mayor indicated he hasn’t noticed the calls being a problem during work hours and the hours are documented on time cards. Cotton also stated that he had heard that the Tourism Center is relocating to Route 35. The Mayor advised Council that the Point Pleasant Tourism Center is not re-locating, it is the Mason County Tourism group that may relocate. Cotton suggested that the Point Pleasant Tourism Center doors be locked while not open for business. He indicated the exterior doors are open for entry to the foyer to get brochures. He also asked which Tourism employees are paid by the City. The Mayor indicated the only full time employee paid by the City is Denny Bellamy, and occasionally there is a “floater” that covers for Denny that is a paid part-time employee of the City. Cotton concluded by suggesting bank deposits be made on a daily basis as standard procedure.
James Bowles complimented on the police patrols in his neighborhood.
Elaine Hunt advised Council to read the League Lites insert for several interesting articles and also complimented on the extra police patrols in her ward.
Linda Smith indicated her ward has also received more police patrolling.
Sam Juniper advised a mistake was made when the vote was called for on the rezoning of Park Drive. He advised the Mayor there is certain protocol to follow when the planning commission recommendation is rejected. Juniper advised the Mayor that Gary Cotton has paperwork outlining the necessary procedure to follow. Juniper asked for an update from the Mayor and Attorney on the need of a Floodwall board. He stated Article 143 refers to the purpose and creation of the floodwall board to comply with state code. Article 957 refers to the floodwall regulations and fees and there are guidelines that need to be followed. Juniper asked if his ward is being sprayed for mosquitoes because he has not seen anyone in the area and would like the area to have some attention. Sam asked for an overtime report for the months of April, May, and June for the street department. Juniper concluded with asking why the floodwalls have not been mowed. The Mayor advised that the employee responsible for the mowing had been off for medical issues. He is back and working on getting them taken care of as quickly as possible.
Leota Sang asked if any Council members were attending the Municipal League conference that is approaching. She indicated she would be attending and encouraged others to attend.
The Mayor asked for an emergency item to be addressed. Billings advised Council that Bruce Chapman, Sewer Department Head, has asked for his temporary part-time employee to be extended for another month or two. Sam Juniper made a motion to approve the extension and William Park seconded the motion which passed 9-0.
Being no other business, James Bowles made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:16 p.m. Linda Smith added the second and the motion carried.
Amber D. Tatterson, City Clerk
Brian L. Billings, Mayor