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, September 13, 2010.
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian L. Billings who led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mason County Action Group- wanted to address Council to give updates on services provided, programs, and their staff. Beverly Hauder introduced her staff that was in attendance with her then spoke about services provided. Beverly indicated that many assume they cater only to senior citizens, but the organization actually offers services to individuals 18 and over. She advised they provide several benefits that range from assisting with bathing and daily chores, offering help to families of those in need of care, as well as, providing home delivered meals or transportation to appointments. Ms. Hauder indicated they recently received donations from Delegates Brady Paxton and Dale Martin to purchase a meal delivery truck. Beverly concluded with inviting all citizens to enjoy a variety of socialization activities at the Gene Salem Senior Center.
Police Chief Ernie Watterson was not in attendance, however Mayor Billings indicated the Police Department has received the grant money to purchase a cruiser and they will proceed forward.
Marshall Bonecutter made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular council meeting for August 16, 2010 and a second was given by James Bowles. Sam Juniper advised Council the newspaper incorrectly reflected Council’s opinion for the possibility of Route 35 being a toll road during a Chamber luncheon. The article said Council would support the toll road, when Council minutes show they oppose the toll road. He stated the minutes were accurate and asked for the newspaper to make the correction. Motion to approve minutes passed unanimously 10-0. A motion made by William Park was seconded by James Bowles to approve the financial statements of the General, Coal Severance, Water and Sewer Funds for the month of August 2010. Councilman Juniper advised he was pleased to see the financial statements reflect a sewer/water manager rather than the City administrator/manager. Juniper also asked for Clerk Tatterson to verify receipts with the CSO account balance. Teka McCauley, administrative assistant, advised Juniper she is working on the receipts and verifying project numbers to distinguish the CSO receipts since invoices received from Burgess & Niple had different project names on them. The financial statements were approved 10-0. Councilman Park made a motion to approve the outstanding obligations for the month of August 2010, and Mr. Bonecutter seconded the motion. Leota Sang asked a question concerning the Travelers’ Insurance obligation and she was told it was a deductible that was due for an on-going claim of wrongful imprisonment by the Point Pleasant Police Department. Attorney Stein indicated the case was heard in Mason County and it ended in a hung jury. The imprisoned individual found a lawyer in New York to pursue the case against the City. Stein advised the case lacks merit. Sang also asked about a check registry to Mr. Deweese. Ms. McCauley advised her it was for the mowing of various estate properties and the City would be reimbursed. Final vote to approve
outstanding obligations was called and passed 10-0.
Attorney Stein asked Council for a vote to approve the 2nd reading for the sell/lease of real estate ordinance for the Jefferson Blvd. bridge replacement. The necessary procedure for such a purchase with the State requires the City to write an ordinance accepting the transfer of real estate. Stein indicated that he spoke with Clerk Tatterson concerning the placement of the ordinance in the Codified Ordinance book. Stein indicated that he wanted to correct some mistakes that were made in the past by including this property transfer in the ordinance book, which is something that has not been done in the past. Councilman Juniper asked Stein if it was legal to sell property without an auction. Stein advised it was being purchased directly by the State of WV and they have immanent domain. Gary Cotton made the first motion to approve the 2nd reading, while James Bowles added the second. The motion passed 10-0.
Attorney Stein advised Council they had a copy of a summons for an appeal filed against the City by G&M Fuel Company. The appeal is pertaining to the Council’s decision declining the re-zoning of 101 South Park Drive for the purpose of a beauty shop locating at the address. Stein indicated G&M Fuel has a right to file the appeal to the Circuit Court and that an answer to the appeal is required by September 22, 2010. Discussion began concerning the decline due to parking issues. Doeffinger feels that G&M Fuel should legally sub-divide parking between the two businesses located in that area. Other Council members indicated the City has an ordinance that states two businesses who have different hours of operation can have shared parking and that would cover the issues with this property. Sam Juniper then mentioned that he felt the planning commission did not respond properly to Council’s decision to decline their recommendation. According to Article 8A-3-10, if a governing body rejects the recommendation plan then the plan must be returned to the planning commission for its consideration, with a written statement of the reasons for rejection. Juniper indicated this step was completed by the Mayor. The commission in turn should have responded back to Council and that action was not taken. After much discussion a motion was made by Juniper to take no action against the filed appeal. Gary Cotton added the second motion. Mayor Billings asked Attorney Stein what would happen if the City did not respond to the appeal. Stein advised the appeal would then be taken to Circuit Court for that judge to make the final decision. Final vote was called and passed 5-4-1 with Bowles, Bonecutter, Doeffinger and Park casting no votes and Barbara Brown abstaining.
Mr. Stein again addressed Sam Juniper’s concerns over the need for a Sanitary Board. Stein stated Attorney Spiker advised that although the statute states a city shall create a sanitary sewer board, the general practice that cities, who issue bonds, create a board if they do not have one. Cities that do not issue bonds and that do not have a sanitary board make a decision based on their local factors. Spiker indicated he has not heard of a city being forced to create such a board and to do so they would have to file a mandamus action to force the creation. The final decision would then be up to the circuit judge to determine what the statute calls for in that situation. Stein advised that the PSC has indicated a sanitary board is not necessary and is sometimes created for political purposes. 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 the issue is being forced. Juniper stated that the creation of the sanitary board would take some responsibility off the Mayor since there are three people that work and report to Council and that when we have bonds the board is going to be necessary. Councilman Robert Doeffinger stated that based on the upcoming projects the City would be obtaining loans not bonds, so the board is not needed at this time. He stated it may be needed later, but not necessary until the bond council recommends it. Mr. Juniper indicated he would let the issue of the sanitary board rest until it seems necessary and hopes to move forward on the CSO project if possible without the board.
Stein concluded with updating Council on the progress being made by the Corps of Engineers for the flood wall slippage from Fifth Street to Fourteenth Street. He indicated the corps plan is to cut vegetation and place rock to secure the land. The current status of the project is to secure authority to enter land necessary to make the flood wall slippage repairs. Stein had been asked by the Corps of Engineers to assist with obtaining the necessary land. The largest piece was owned by the Board of Education and he was recently able to make the land available to begin the project. Stein indicated there are several other pieces of land that he has to work on securing. Councilman Doeffinger told Stein that Stan Burdette assisted with the Flood Wall Walking trail and that there should be a file with information that could assist Stein with the land. Teka indicated she would check in storage prior to making contact with Mr. Burdette. Stein advised the file would be of great help and citizens should begin to see construction beginning for the repair.
City Clerk Amber Tatterson advised Council the October Council meeting needed to be changed to October 12, 2010 due to Columbus Day falling on that Monday. Councilman Bowles made the first motion while Elaine Hunt added the second. Motion to approve changing the meeting passed 10-0. Clerk Tatterson told Council trick or treat has been set for Thursday October 28, 2010 from 5:30pm - 6:30pm. The Halloween Block party would be the same evening from 6pm – 8pm. Tatterson also told Council the 9th Annual Mothman Festival was being held September 17-19th and encouraged them to visit the downtown area.
The City Clerk informed Council that in a recent finance committee meeting it was determined that several City employees were in need of Accufund computer training. Tatterson advised that training can be obtained through seminars or by on-site trainers. The cost would be approximately the same for either type of training, however, on-site training would allow for hands-on training and more employees to take advantage of the training. Tatterson presented council with an estimated cost of $6,200 for on-site training. The cost would include four days of training and all travel expenses for the individual providing the training. She indicated the travel expenses are only an estimate as those rates can change on a daily basis. Tatterson then asked for Council to consider approving the on-site training. Sam Juniper made a motion to approve the training and Robert Doeffinger added the second motion and the motion carried.
Clerk Tatterson informed Council that the Historic Landmark Commission has two members whose terms expire the month of September. Those members are Lesa Doeffinger and Judaline Liberatore. Tatterson asked for a motion to re-appoint both members for a new three year term. Councilman Park made the first motion and Leota Sang added the second. Sam Juniper advised Council the Historic Landmark Commission is not operating in accordance with Article 145 of the codified ordinances. Juniper stated that the ordinance outlines procedures the commission should be following. Juniper asked if the commission keeps minutes/records of the meetings and have them available for public viewing. He also asked if the commission is preparing a registry as required. Also, he indicated that the commission should be submitting reports to the Planning Commission. Councilwoman Sang advised that the commission does follow the requirements. Mr. Doeffinger advised that his wife, Lesa Doeffinger, takes the minutes and Sang advised they are kept in the Council Chambers. Sang also advised they do prepare a registry for the buildings and they also have educational markers placed on Main Street and the downtown area. Sang stated that they keep in touch with the downtown merchants and make them aware of what is required of being located in the historical district. Mr. Juniper said there are several properties in the historical district that need addressed and citations should be issued by the City Inspector and then follow with actions. He feels the codes are not being enforced due to who the owners are and some locations are becoming health hazards and a disgrace to the community. Juniper concluded with advising it should not have taken eight meetings for the Historic Landmark Commission to approve a request made by AB Contracting. He said the code states the commission shall be lenient in its judgment of plans for landmarks, buildings, structures or sites with little historical value or for plans for new construction except where such plans seriously impair the historical or architectural value of the surrounding area. It is not the intent of this article to limit new construction, alteration or repairs to any one period or architectural style. Tatterson called for a final vote for the re-appointments of Lesa Doeffinger and Judaline Liberatore, which passed 9-0-1, with Mr. Doeffinger abstaining.
Clerk Tatterson concluded with asking for Councilman Juniper to speak pertaining to his proposed amendment and reenactment to Article 305.02 Restricted Parking. Juniper told Council he wanted to help the businesses on Main Street with parking issues. His recommendation is to add a new paragraph (g) to Article 305.02. The addition would restrict parking to two hours from Sixth Street to Third Street between the hours of 6:30am to 6:30pm on the east and west sides on Main Street with the exception of the two handicap spaces on the east side of Main Street. Mr. Doeffinger indicated Council has addressed this issue in the past and it offended Main Street Merchants since they were not involved in the decision. He recommended asking those merchants prior to making any type of decision. Councilman Juniper advised that he would make contact with the merchants prior to the 2nd reading of the ordinance. Juniper made a motion to pass the first reading of this amendment with the right to amend as currently written. Councilman Cotton added the second motion. Attorney Stein asked Council how they intend to enforce the restricted parking. Council advised officers would have to chalk the tires and patrol. Final call to approve the 1st reading with the right to amend as wrote passed 9-1, with Marshall Bonecutter voting no.
Mayor Brian Billings advised Council three bids were received for the Sewer Department service truck for the CSO project. Bids were received from Smith Superstore for $27,953.90, Mark Porter GM Superstore for $29,518.48, and John Sang Ford Lincoln Mercury for $23,962. Billings called for a vote from Council to accept the bid from John Sang Ford Lincoln Mercury. Sam Juniper made the first motion, while James Bowles added the second motion, which carried 9-0-1, with Leota Sang abstaining. Mayor Billings then took the time to discuss the need of a dump truck for the Sewer Department. Billings indicated with the truck bed leaking it would be necessary to consider replacing the truck as soon as possible. Robert Doeffinger made a motion to put out a bid to replace the dump truck and then determine how the City plans to pay for it. William Park added the second motion, and the motion passed 10-0.
Mayor Billings asked Council for a motion to approve the annual Battle Days donation for $1,500 which is included in the annual budget. Mr. Park made the first motion while James Bowles added the second motion. The motion passed 9-1 with Sam Juniper casting a no vote.
The Mayor advised Council the air condition unit in the Point Pleasant Police Department has had several issues over the summer and is need of repair. However, the Mayor was not provided with an estimated cost in time for the meeting and indicated the weather would be changing, but it was an issue that would need to be addressed.
Mayor Billings advised Council the City Attorney had a continuing education class provided by the National Business Institute that pertained to current challenges in local government that he needs to attend. The seminar is approaching and he would like for Council to approve paying $329 for Mr. Stein to attend this seminar which is beneficial for his position with the City. Robert Doeffinger made a motion for the City to pay for the seminar for Mr. Stein and Mr. Bowles added the second motion which passed 10-0.
Mayor Billings then told Council there is a class that he wanted City Clerk Tatterson and Accountant Shannon Pearson to attend that was not listed on the agenda. It is a two-day class provided by the Government Financial Officers of West Virginia and it would be beneficial for them to attend. Leota Sang made the first motion and Barbara Brown added the second motion. The motion passed 10-0 for the two employees to attend the mentioned class.
Mayor Billings told Council he wanted to discuss the new pay ordinance that was recently enacted, however it was discovered the necessary information was not provided in Council packets so it would be on the October agenda.
*At 8:20 p.m. Mayor Billings asked Council for a motion to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters relating to Code 6-9A-4. Councilman Cotton made the first motion and Marshall Bonecutter added the second motion, the motion carried.
*At 9:38 p.m. Gary Cotton made a motion to come out of executive session. Mr. Bonecutter added the second motion which passed 10-0.
Upon returning from executive session Mr. Doeffinger made a motion to allow water company J2Y35 to pay an adjusted water bill based on their monthly average usage. Gary cotton added the second motion which passed 10-0.
Mr. Billings then advised Council the City no longer has access to a PA system and has an opportunity to purchase one with the Main Street Committee. The PA system is necessary for dedications, festivals, and Mayor’s night out in the Park. Councilman Bonecutter advised he spoke with Charles Humphrey’s with Main Street and they have agreed to split the cost with the City. They also would allow Mr. Bonecutter to operate and maintain the system for donations. Any donations received would go for the necessary repairs. A motion was made by Gary Cotton to split the purchase of the PA system with Main Street. The City would pay $200 and Mr. Bonecutter or his son would be operating the system for donations. Linda Smith added the second motion, which passed 9-0-1 with Sam Juniper abstaining.
Mayor Billings then spoke concerning personnel matters discussed during executive session. Clerk Tatterson advised during a recent drug testing two individuals who were to be tested left the building before being tested. One of those individuals resigned his position. The other individual (employee A) was not tested as scheduled due to leaving the facility. A motion was made to dismiss employee (A) due to refusal to submit to testing as scheduled. Councilman Juniper added the second motion and the motion passed 10-0. Tatterson then advised Council two individuals (employees B & C) were tested and confirmed positive and asked Council how they wished to proceed. After much discussion, it was determined that the City’s Alcohol and Drug-free Workplace Policy indicates that a positive test shall result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. The policy also states that disciplinary action includes submitting to and passing a return to work drug test and must be evaluated by a substance abuse professional, all at the cost of the employee. A motion was made by Councilwoman Smith to allow employees B and C to go to a substance abuse professional and submit to follow-up drug tests at the cost of the employee. Those individuals will be on light duty until they submit to a return to duty test. William Park added the second to the motion and the motion passed 9-1 with Sam Juniper casting the no vote. Juniper indicated the policy is a zero tolerance policy.
Mayor Billings told Council a Flood Wall meeting was held with members Marshall Bonecutter, Willie Call, and himself. The meeting gave an update on a flood wall report submitted to FEMA. The report indicated that the City is following the necessary guidelines required by FEMA and drills were still being run to assemble and disassemble flood wall gates. Joint compound and caulking has been ordered and a contractor would be necessary to make those repairs.
Marshall Bonecutter asked the Mayor if the City could help with the obstructed view pulling out of Kingtown onto Route 62.
Robert Doeffinger told the Mayor that the curb and sidewalk on Main Street in front of his home needs repaired following a wreck that occurred there two months ago.
James Bowles informed the Mayor he has been contacted by a handicapped gentleman on Mt. Vernon Avenue. He asked for more curb cuts to sidewalks for traveling in the neighborhood.
William Park complimented on the new sidewalks along Kanawha Street, but advised the road still needs work.
Elaine Hunt thanked the Mayor for bringing back the complaint cards to keep record of calls the Council members receive.
Being no other business, Linda Smith made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:13 p.m. William Park added the second and the motion carried.
Amber D. Tatterson, City Clerk
Brian L. Billings, Mayor