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, August 16, 2010.
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian L. Billings who led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Police Chief Watterson- advised Council the police department received confirmation of approval for a grant from the Department of Justice for $17,191 to purchase a new vehicle. Watterson told Council an invoice for $1,719.10 will be taken out of the grant total to pay an invoice for the company that assisted with the grant. Watterson asked Council for permission to make the purchase with the grant money. Councilman Bonecutter made a motion and Elaine Hunt added the second motion to purchase a new vehicle, which passed unanimously.
Montana Wamsley- addressed Council concerning the implementation of a skateboard park in the Point Pleasant area. Wamsley stated that a skate park would keep youth active and give them an area all their own since signs are currently posted that prohibit skateboarding on business properties. He advised that he felt the Harmon Park area would be a suitable location and advised that he had several ideas for the park. Mayor Billings asked Mr. Wamsley if he would be interested in serving on the skateboard park committee and Wamsley accepted the invitation.
Jo Staats- WV Pitbull Haven addressed Council concerning the proposed dog ordinance that prohibits specific breeds from city limits. Staats began by giving Council her credentials that ranged from dog training to the WV Legislative contact for the American Kennel Club and the American Dog Owners Association. Staats stated the proposed ordinance violates several amendments and questioned the legality of the ordinance. She asked for Council to remove terminology from ordinance 505.05(b) which targets the owners of specific breeds or breed look-a-likes.
Valerie Reynolds- 1908 Jefferson Blvd. voiced concerns pertaining to the proposed dog ordinance. Reynolds asked Council how they intend to enforce such an ordinance and if they will be going to citizens doors and removing their dogs. She concluded with telling Council she has always thought Point Pleasant was a great place and the passage of this ordinance would definitely change her opinion.
Mike Bailey- 2321 Lincoln Avenue told Council they needed to reconsider the proposed dog ordinance. He advised Council that he received his pit-bull as a gift. He told Council if it had not been for this pup, he would not have made it through the tough times he was experiencing. He has owned the dog for 6 ½ years and recently purchased a home that is located within city limits. Bailey told Council if the ordinance passes, he would be forced to put his newly purchased home back on the market.
Teresa Nibert- a Point Pleasant resident asked Council to reconsider their proposed dog ordinance. She was told that a State Police Officer was the one wanting this issue addressed. Nibert stated that she felt that officer needs to address more serious issues rather than using this ordinance to clean up his back yard.
Cassey Lee- 80 Burdette Addition approached Council concerning the proposed dog ordinance. Lee stated that grandfathering current owners would be unacceptable. She stated she is loyal to a specific breed and upon the passing of that dog, not only do you suffer a loss, but knowing you will never be able to have the dog you want is more terrible.
Ivah Bailey- a Point Pleasant resident told Council that her family has been pit-bull owners for years and she has never seen any vicious behavior from this breed. She indicated this breed is very loyal to their owners and it is the dogs that aren’t well cared for or inhumanly treated that attack, which can be true with any dog breed.
Josh Adkins- was not in attendance
Kenna Adkins- was not in attendance
Shirley Herdman- was in attendance, but chose not speak
Colleen Lemasters- Scott Depot, WV addressed Council concerning the proposed dog ordinance. Ms. Lemasters told Council they need to address dog owners, not create an ordinance that is breed-specific. She passed pictures around of her dog and asked Council to tell her the breed of the dog. She then asked Council how they could enforce an ordinance if they can’t distinguish the breed of the dog. She proceeded to tell Council that she had to pay $75 to get a DNA test performed on her dog to prove its breed. She rescued her dog that had been abused and had 26 stitches in its mouth.
Linda Smith made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular council meeting for July 12, 2010 and a second was given by Marshall Bonecutter. Motion to approve minutes passed unanimously 9-0. A motion made by Mr. Bonecutter was seconded by James Bowles to approve the financial statements of the General, Coal Severance, Water and Sewer Funds for the month of July 2010. The financial statements were approved 9-0. Councilman Bonecutter made a motion to approve the outstanding obligations for the month of July 2010, and Dr. Linda Smith seconded the motion. Final vote to approve outstanding obligations was called and passed 9-0.
City Attorney R.F. Stein addressed Council concerning the dog ordinance Part Five, Article 505.05 pertaining to Dogs or Cats Running At Large. He added language to “grandfather in” current dog owners. He asked for a motion to approve the second reading of the proposed dog ordinance. Sam Juniper made the first motion while James Bowles added the second. Discussion began with Juniper asking how the ordinance could be enforced. Stein indicated he felt it would begin with a complaint pertaining to the said dog and then an investigation by the City Inspector or a police officer. Then it would be necessary to determine when the dog had been obtained and what will be done based on the complaint. Juniper advised he would like to make a motion to table the issue to research how other cities enforce such an ordinance. Councilman Robert Doeffinger advised he did not see any reason to table the issue since any dog breed can pose a safety hazard and the breed specific ordinance is not the proper way to address such an issue. Juniper stated he would like to see the ordinance established and wants to table the issue to allow him time to gather information about the enforcement of such an ordinance. Gary Cotton added a second to Juniper’s motion. A call for a final vote to table the issue failed 3-6. Those in favor of tabling the issue were Juniper, Cotton, and Linda Smith. Attorney Stein called for a final vote to pass the second reading of the proposed dog ordinance which failed 1-7-1, with Juniper voting for it and James Bowles abstaining.
Attorney Stein informed Council the State of West Virginia has presented the City with a proposal to purchase land that the new Jefferson Blvd. Bridge will occupy. The state proposed to purchase two small parcels of land for a total of $2,000. The necessary procedure for such a purchase with the state requires the City to write an ordinance accepting the transfer of real estate. Stein advised he has not drafted the ordinance, but was provided with a sample of an ordinance accepting the transfer of real estate. He allowed Council to view the sample that he will follow when writing the ordinance. Stein asked Council if they would make a motion to approve the first reading of a proposed ordinance. Robert Doeffinger made a motion that upon proper format of the proposed ordinance that Council pass the first reading of the ordinance that accepts the transfer of real estate. Councilman Cotton added the second motion, which passed 9-0. Stein advised Council they would have a copy of the ordinance prior to the second reading.
Attorney Stein addressed Council concerning the on-going issue of the Flood Wall Board. The issue is whether there is a current Flood Wall Board and is one necessary. Article 143 discusses the board’s purpose and duty of members. Stein quoted information from code 208.10 that states the political subdivision will maintain and operate flood control works that are in accordance with regulations outlined by the Secretary of the Army, as required by law, and they shall appoint a permanent committee consisting of or headed by a superintendent. That individual shall be responsible for the development and maintenance. Stein then indicated there are two choices to consider. One being to enforce Article 143 and appoint a flood wall board and the other is to appeal Article 143 and Council can serve as the board and appoint a superintendent. Juniper stated that the City has supposedly had a flood wall board since 1951, and now there doesn’t appear to be one. Mayor Billings advised Juniper the City has a flood wall committee that consists of the Mayor, James Bowles, Marshall Bonecutter, the street commissioner and Jessie Shull, a City employee. Billings would like for that committee to serve as the board rather than create a new board. Juniper indicated there are required monthly reports that would be necessary and the individual appointed as superintendent will need to make the necessary reports and do normal maintenance and follow the necessary guidelines. Billings told Juniper the committee is active and the required work is addressed and performed. Mayor Billings asked Council and the City Attorney if the committee can serve as the board and to appoint Jesse Shull and Willie Call. After further discussion it was decided the issue needs to be researched and re-addressed.
Mr. Stein concluded with addressing Sam Juniper’s concerns over the need for a Sanitary Board. Stein stated he hasn’t received a response from Attorney Spiker concerning the City’s need for a sanitary board. Stein advised he had previously been told by Spiker that the board was not necessary and he has asked for a letter outlining when a Sanitary Board is needed and when it can be avoided. Stein also told Council he 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. Stein advised he would hold off from the amendment until confirmation is received from Attorney Spiker.
City Clerk Amber Tatterson advised Council that Budget Rules and Regulations of the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office require general fund budget revisions to prevent overspending. She indicated it was important to do one at this time since the fiscal year has began and the figures are now available to show our actual balance for carry-over. Figures were included in Council packets and discussed. Tatterson called for a motion to approve the proposed general fund budget revision. Sam Juniper made the first motion and Robert Doeffinger added the second motion. The motion passed unanimously to pass the revision. Tatterson then stated to comply with West Virginia Code a budget revision is also necessary for the Coal Severance Tax fund. Those figures were discussed and a motion was made by Linda Smith to approve the Coal Severance Budget revision. Juniper added the second and the motion passed 9-0.
Clerk Tatterson then asked Councilman Gary Cotton to speak concerning renewal of motion that pertained to the re-zoning of property located on Park Drive. Cotton stated that according to Roberts Rules of Order, he can ask for a new vote to re-zone 101 South Park Drive from R-2 to B-2. Cotton made a motion for the rezoning and Sam Juniper added the second motion. Cotton indicated he had been contacted by a G&M Fuel Employee stating the business next door had been leased to a Church for three years which would solve the parking concerns since there is an ordinance in place that allows two businesses to share a parking lot as long as they have different hours of operation. Councilman Doeffinger stated that if the Church moves after the three year lease that could create the same parking concerns that have caused rezoning issues in the past. Doeffinger recommended the neighboring business deed additional parking for the beauty shop which would solve the rezoning issue. Mayor Billings advised Council he submitted a letter to the Planning Commission to comply with necessary guidelines and he had not received a reply from the commission. Leota Sang stated the Planning Commission should have presented something in response to the Mayor’s letter that advised them of Council’s vote. Sam Juniper stated that governing body submits the decline to the commission within forty-five days of the final vote and that Council didn’t approve the letter written by the Mayor. Robert Doeffinger indicated that the Planning Commission has rules for submitting a request and at this point the Roberts Rules of Order do not apply. Juniper again advised Council that the governing body didn’t approve the Mayor’s letter. At that time Council members Sang and Doeffinger advised the Mayor only submitted a letter that was based on Council’s opinion. Councilman Cotton withdrew his motion for the renewal of motion and Juniper withdrew his second motion. Juniper asked for Mayor Billings to contact Jack Coles, Chairman of the Planning Commission, to verify the receipt of the letter, and Billings agreed to do so.
Mayor Brian Billings advised Council he had been contacted by Mike Rawson of City Insurance concerning parking on Main Street. Rawson indicated to the Mayor that citizens are interfering with his business when they park for hours in front of his office. Mr. Rawson has asked for Council to consider posting limited parking signs on Main Street. Rawson had advised the Mayor that Gallipolis currently has limited parking on their Main Streets. Councilwoman Linda Smith asked how the City could enforce the signs when it would be difficult to determine the length of time the vehicle has been parked. Police Chief Watterson was in attendance of the meeting and indicated the Police Department has been contacted numerous times concerning the parking on Main Street. Sam Juniper stated this issue has been addressed in the past since some Courthouse employees are parking in front of businesses located on Main Street rather than the designated parking area provided by the County Courthouse. Juniper also indicated that the ordinance book identifies all stop signs and he recalls seeing limited parking signs in there for Main Street. Juniper stated that courthouse employees should be warned for parking longer than thirty minutes in front of businesses on Main Street. He asked Chief Watterson if he had a way to enforce the current limited parking signs on Main Street for the businesses. Watterson indicated he would send a letter to the County Courthouse asking for their employees to use their designated parking areas. Mayor Billings asked for Council to think about the Main Street parking and limited sign issues and come up with a solution.
Mayor Billings advised Council he received a recommendation for John Bibbee to become the chairman of the skateboard park project. Mayor Billings met with John Bibbee and he showed interest in heading the project. Mayor Billings also told Council he was impressed with the young gentleman, Montana Wamsley, who addressed Council this evening concerning the skateboard park. Billings asked Council to approve John Bibbee as the chairman and Montana Wamsley to assist the committee. Gary Cotton made the first motion while Linda Smith seconded, and the motion passed 9-0.
The Mayor told Council only one bid was received for the purchase of a service truck for the Sewer Department. The lone bid submitted by Smith Superstore was opened on August 6, 2010 for the amount of $30,524. Councilman Juniper made a motion for the issue to be turned over to the Sewer Committee. Gary Cotton added the second motion. Robert Doeffinger made a motion to reject the one bid and re-bid the vehicle since Council didn’t recall approving the bid process for this vehicle. Sam Juniper added the second motion which passed 8-0-1, with Leota Sang abstaining. At that time, Juniper advised that in the past he had taken bid specs to four local dealerships to invite them to place a bid and asked if he could do the same for this vehicle. He withdrew his prior motion and stated that after the first publication ran, he would take the specs to those dealerships. Councilman Doeffinger then made a motion to advertise the same service vehicle specifications as previously publicized. Linda Smith added the second motion which passed 8-0-1, with Sang abstaining.
Mayor Billings gave Council good news concerning the slippage along the flood wall from Forth Street to Fourteenth Street. He informed Council the Corps of Engineers were able to secure $4.2 million to correct the slippage and they hope to begin moving forward with the project within the next few months. Billings asked Council for their approval to agree and accept the funds. Sam Juniper made the first motion while Barbara Brown added the second. The motion passed 9-0.
Mayor Billings advised Council that the Chamber of Commerce has asked for the City to extend their support by submitting a letter to the State officials opposing Route 35 becoming a toll road. Councilman Robert Doeffinger made a motion to give Mayor Billings the authority to sign and submit a letter opposing the Route 35 becoming a toll road. Linda Smith added the second motion while passed unanimously 9-0.
The Mayor told Council he had an emergency item that has approached and needs addressed. Billings stated that it was time for a flood wall inspection by video. A cost estimate was not available; however, with a timeline restriction approaching it is necessary to proceed forward with the inspection. Councilman James Bowles, who serves on the Flood Wall Committee, advised Council there are specific guidelines with the flood wall that have to be met or FEMA will not offer area residents flood insurance. Bowles made the first motion to approve the video flood wall inspection. Marshall Bonecutter added the second motion, and the motion carried.
Mayor Billings informed Council that Willie Call, Street Commissioner, is in need of purchasing a few new garbage dumpsters. Call advised they have been doing welding repairs, but that it is necessary to purchase a few new ones. Council gave approval of the purchase.
The Mayor gave Council handouts showing the estimated cost and locations for concrete and sidewalk repairs. He advised that the estimated cost of $14,157 would be taken from the Coal Severance Fund and shall begin sometime in August or September. Councilman Juniper asked for the Mayor to remember the Parrish/Kathnor area that has sink holes. Elaine Hunt and Leota Sang also asked for the Mayor to keep Mt. Vernon Avenue on his repair list.
*At 9:14 p.m. Mayor Billings asked Council for a motion to go into executive session to discuss 6-9A-47 (plan/consider investigation pertaining to law enforcement). Councilwoman Smith made the first motion and James Bowles added the second motion, the motion carried.
*At 9:24 p.m. Gary Cotton made a motion to come out of executive session. Linda Smith added the second motion which passed 9-0.
Gary Cotton- advised the Mayor that Mr. Bibbee should meet with Burgess and Niple to see the scope of how the CSO project will affect the Harmon Park land so the location of the skateboard park can be further discussed. Cotton also asked why the Street Department is not addressing the vegetation issue that is growing on the sidewalks and streets. He recommended that weed killer be sprayed on the areas. Councilwoman Sang advised Council that ordinance 1109.03 states that sidewalks are the responsibility of the residents, so the residents should be keeping their sidewalks cleaned up.
James Bowles advised he would wait until next meeting to voice his concerns.
Robert Doeffinger told Council he would set up a Sewer Committee within the next week or two. He will invite Mike Davis, Burgess and Niple and Kathy Elliott, Region II Development, to discuss the project and cash flow.
Leota Sang told the Mayor that she noticed that Jack Lee of Paint Plus donated more supplies to the City and wants to be sure that Mr. Lee is properly recognized for his generosity. The Mayor advised that Mr. Lee was recently thanked and recognized. Sang told Council about her attending the West Virginia Municipal League Conference. She stated that the conference was very motivational and that several issues discussed related to the City. She gathered handouts to give to the Street Commissioner concerning federal mandated signage effective January 2012. Sang also gave Clerk Tatterson information concerning vacant property registration. Sang stated that Wheeling has had the registry in place since 2009 and they currently have 123 properties registered. She advised the 2011 Conference will be held in Huntington, WV and encouraged other Council members to attend. She concluded by expressing her thanks for the opportunity to attend the conference.
Linda Smith asked for the Police Chief to send a letter as previously discussed to the Mason County Courthouse asking for their employees to park in their designated parking lot since there are parking concerns on Main Street.
Sam Juniper indicated that he has been contacted by a resident complaining about parking during school hours at his residence. Councilman Juniper spoke about an issue addressed in the previous council meeting that pertained to the City Inspector responding to fire calls. Juniper advised he was contacted by the City Inspector who indicated he uses vacation or comp time when necessary to respond to an accident during work hours. Juniper stated that there are rules that apply to the usage of vacation or comp time, which include being approved ahead of time. Juniper indicated he was not sure how the inspector could give notice to use vacation or comp time when he leaves upon a call. Juniper stated that Krodel Campground is still experiencing some complaint issues. Juniper also indicated he is still hearing complaints about the maintenance of the cemeteries. The Mayor indicated staff is short and it has been a mistake for the City to take over the maintenance of the cemeteries. The Mayor also advised all Council members to consider calling the City building anytime with concerns or complaints rather than waiting until council meetings.
Barbara Brown thanked the Mayor for repairing the street light on English Road.
*At 9:56 p.m. Sam Juniper made a motion to go into executive session. Marshall Bonecutter added the second motion and the motion carried.
*Sam Juniper made a motion at 10:02 to come out of executive session, which was seconded by Linda Smith. The motion passed 9-0.
Being no other business, Linda Smith made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:03 p.m. James Bowles added the second and the motion carried.
Amber D. Tatterson, City Clerk
Brian L. Billings, Mayor