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, November 8, 2010.
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian L. Billings who led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mason County Commissioners- Miles Epling & Robert Baird (House of Delegate Resolution) Mr. Epling spoke with Council concerning the lack of delegate representation for Mason County. Clerk Tatterson read the proposed resolution provided by the County Commission. Mr. Epling advised that the Commission is contacting all municipalities in Mason County in an effort to get each municipality to adopt the resolution that asks for the West Virginia Governor and Rick Thompson, speaker for the House of Delegates, to allow Mason County be established as a single delegate district in the next redistricting session April 2011. Councilman Robert Doeffinger made a motion to accept the resolution and Barbara Brown added a second, which passed 9-0. Leota Sang mentioned that the Commissioners have also put a petition online and 140 residents of Mason County have already signed and Sang encouraged others to do the same.
At that time, Councilwoman Linda Smith asked to speak concerning recycling round-up while the County Commissioners are present. Smith asked if the City and County would consider holding a clean-up day that would coincide with Earth Day in April 2011. It would allow residents to clean out old appliances, computers, junk, and even abandoned cars and for the City to gain a little profit while cleaning up the community. The City could contact local scrap yards to see who had the best rate and consider a contract with that company for the materials collected. Smith also mentioned the possibility of having the City designate a day for the City to do pickups and even involving local wrecker companies to assist. Smith agreed to do the preliminary research and report back to Council. Commissioner Epling advised the County Commission would consider the proposal and recommended having various drop-off locations to help with a countywide clean-up. Mayor Billings thought it was a good idea and is looking forward to Smith’s feedback.
Richard Mabe- 2950 Meadowbrook Drive addressed Council concerning a few issues. He began by stating there have been drainage issues in his neighborhood for over forty years due to the lack of cleaning ditch lines. He indicated the ditch line on the east side of Meadowbrook Drive has a shallow concrete flume that runs along residents’ property that drains into a 16” tile drain which becomes clogged and overflows at his home. He has spent $8,000 to waterproof his basement and even sandbags his garage and basement to prevent the water from entering once it overflows from the ditch. Mr. Mabe stated that the ditch drains work properly when they are free from yard debris; however, the homeowners are not keeping them properly maintained. He has tried to speak with neighbors about cleaning out their ditch lines, but it has not helped. He is asking for the City to publish an official notice to all homeowners on the east side of Meadowbrook Drive stating they are responsible for keeping their areas cleaned and free of debris. Mayor Billings indicated he would ask for Bruce Chapman, sewer manager, to check this area out to see what can be done and make contact with Mr. Mabe to help alleviate the problem. Mr. Doeffinger asked Mr. Mabe various questions pertaining to the exact location and indicated there has always been drainage issues in that area and to determine if it is still within City limits Councilman Juniper asked Mr. Mabe several questions concerning the drainage issue. Juniper then asked the Mayor if the Sewer Department could investigate this area with their cameras to see if there is a clog in the lines. The Mayor advised he would be making contact with Mr. Chapman and would ask him to investigate with the camera. Mr. Mabe also mentioned he sees all sorts of golf carts and off road, unlicensed, uninspected, uninsured vehicles in his area and they have turned the neighborhood into a “race track”. He asked to see something passed to get these vehicles off city streets. Mayor Billings advised he and Chief Watterson investigated this area and it seemed like most of the vehicles were coming from outside City limits. Billings advised they contacted the Sheriff’s department and they addressed the issue. Mabe indicated the deputy did help, but he is still seeing individuals within the City using golf carts. Chief Watterson advised they are aware of the situation, however there is not an ordinance for the police department to enforce. Mr. Juniper stated the current ordinance only addresses four-wheelers. The wording needs to be changed in order to address the other vehicles.
Police Chief Ernie Watterson- asked to speak to update Council on vandalism that took place during the night hours of November 5th. He indicated over 70 incidents were reported that included tire slashing and busting of headlights on cars. Officers Waugh and Deweese along with the help of Pleasant Valley Hospital Security cameras and private citizens were able to identify two gentlemen that were involved. Apparently this all began as a bet and then got out of hand. The two individuals were actually seen walking together earlier in the evening. The one individual is a juvenile and the necessary petitions were filed and now in the hands of the court system. The other gentleman was incarcerated and taken to the Western Regional Jail. Mayor Billings applauded the two officers and the Point Pleasant Police Department on a job well done. Councilman Bowles asked if there is a curfew ordinance in the City. Bowles indicated he is outside his residence at various hours of the evening and night and he notices a lot of juveniles out running around and up to no good. Watterson indicated that enforcing the curfew can be difficult since kids run and hide when they see headlights and in this case the juvenile was with an adult. Bowles agreed that he does see the kids run and hide.
Linda Smith made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular council meeting for October 12, 2010 and a second was given by William Park. Sam Juniper asked for the minutes to reflect that it was Leota Sang, not him, that mentioned that in order to meet the guidelines of Article 146 pertaining to the Historic Landmark Commission, it was necessary for a member from the Main Street Board to serve on the Historic Landmark Commission. Motion to approve minutes passed 9-0. Barbara Brown made a motion to approve the minutes of the special council meeting held October 21, 2010 and a second was given by James Bowles, which passed 9-0. 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 October 2010. Councilman Juniper asked Teka McCauley, administrative assistant about a purchase from the Sewer CSO account for $23,000. He was advised that it was the purchase of the service truck for the sewer department. The financial statements were approved 9-0. Councilwoman Smith made a motion to approve the outstanding obligations for the month of October 2010, and Mr. Cotton seconded the motion, which passed 9-0.
Attorney Stein told Council he is working with the City Inspector to see where the City currently stands concerning the issues with the Yeager Property located on Main Street. He has been reviewing the City Code that states if the cost to repair is greater than fifty percent, then you may pursue demolishing. Stein feels based on the current condition and the cost for repairs received in the past, the code could be applied in this case. It appears the best approach is to start at ground zero and draft the necessary documents to provide notice. He hopes to have more information next meeting to present to Council.
Stein also updated Council concerning the Franklin Property. He indicated it is necessary to file a dismissal on the previous case and to file a new case based on a new complaint. He has a new complaint drafted with some minor changes that he will file and asked Council if they wish to review the case prior to filing with the courts; otherwise he would pursue the filing within the next week. Council advised there was no need on viewing the filing and asked for Stein to proceed with the necessary action.
Attorney Stein concluded by advising Council he is reviewing the initial agreement with the Public Service District concerning the Lakin Sewer Project dated December 2007 to determine the chances of receiving a refund from the PSD. Based on paragraph six of the agreement it states that the City shall submit an invoice to the PSD for the total funds advanced by the City in connection with the project, as long as the funds do not exceed $16,000. The next paragraph indicates the PSD shall reimburse the City those advanced funds, as long as they do not exceed $16,000. Stein stated it would be necessary to send an invoice for the refund of $4,000 that was advanced by the City.
Administrative Assistant, Teka McCauley advised that the City has also paid invoices in the amount of approximately $5,000 that pertain to this project that should be refunded. Mr. Doeffinger advised that the City could send an invoice once the PSD begins construction, but that might be awhile. Councilman Cotton asked if an invoice could be created and held as a receivable, yet not send it until later. Accountant Dave Snowden recommended sending the invoice at this time rather than allowing the invoice to sit in the City’s receivable account. Councilman Juniper made a motion to send the invoice now for the $4,000 plus any other invoices that have been paid. Mr. Bowles added a second to the motion, and the motion carried.
Mayor Billings took the opportunity to advise Council concerning a letter to the PSD. As asked, the Mayor wrote a letter stating that the City would not be attending the PSD’s upcoming meeting.
City Clerk Amber Tatterson invited Council to a Neighborhood Watch meeting that is being held at Heights United Methodist Church on Tuesday November 9, 2010 at 6:45 p.m. Mayor Billings stated that the tone of the last meeting was very positive and asked for Council to attend. Leota Sang also told Council that the meetings are being held in different wards at various Churches.
Tatterson informed Council the Holiday Parade would be held Friday November 19, 2010 at 6 p.m. which would also be the same evening the Krodel Park Light Show would begin.
The Clerk then read a proclamation recognizing November as Prematurity Awareness Month and November 17th as Prematurity Awareness Day. A motion was made by Councilman Park and seconded by Mr. Cotton to accept the proclamation, and the motion carried.
The 2011 City Calendar was presented by Tatterson for approval. Robert Doeffinger made a motion to accept and Barbara Brown added the second, which passed 9-0.
Tatterson concluded by informing Council that Tim Scarberry, who currently serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals, wants to resign his position due to lack of involvement. She asked Council for a motion to appoint John Bibbee to serve on the Board through December 2011 to complete Scarberry’s current term. Sam Juniper made the first motion while Mr. Bowles added the second, which passed 9-0.
Councilwoman Linda Smith spoke during Outside Delegation pertaining to recycling round-up.
Mayor Brian Billings read a proclamation to observe Christian Heritage Week in West Virginia the week of November 21-27, 2010. Councilwoman Barbara Brown made a motion to accept the proclamation and James Bowles added the second, which passed
Mayor Billings asked Council for a motion to approve the annual Employee Performance Incentive for 2010. Billings stated the total for the 2009 performance incentives were $29,600 and the total for 2010 would be $27,650 and he would like to issue the checks toward the end of November. He told Council there are five part-time employees who would receive $250 and forty-eight full-time employees that would receive $550. Councilman Juniper made a motion for approval and James Bowles seconded. The motion passed 8-0-1, with Mr. Cotton abstaining.
Mayor Billings advised Council he attended a FEMA seminar in Charleston with other municipalities. Billings gave Council copies of the information received at the seminar in their packets. The seminar was to provide information required to meet accreditations to all areas that have flood walls or levies across the country. It will be necessary for a professional engineer to be hired to inspect and certify that our flood walls meet all the necessary requirements. This is something that will need to be done within the next two years. Mayor Billings was advised at the seminar, that FEMA would be sending out a large packet of information to the City, as well as, the Mason County Commission. A meeting will later be held by FEMA to meet with the City of Point Pleasant and the Mason County Commission to discuss the accreditations and the potential cost. The Mayor also advised that the City could ask the County Commission for assistance in the cost of the accreditation. Billings stated he would keep Council updated as information was made available.
The Mayor told Council he had been contacted by Golden Herdman of the Point Pleasant in Bloom Committee asking the City if they could create a butterfly garden at Krodel Park. They asked for a plot of land approximately 4x8 that they would plant and maintain for birds and butterflies to enjoy. Councilwoman Sang made a motion and James Bowles added the second, which passed unanimously.
Mayor Billings discussed the pay ordinance for the Mayor of 2012. The Mayor had previously asked Council to consider adding $1,673.44 back into the salary of the 2012 Mayor since it was removed during the adoption of the pay ordinance. The Mayor provided a list of municipality populations and salaries for their Mayors. He added the town of Spencer, which has a population of 2,100 and the mayor’s annual salary is $45,000 and the town of Parkersburg who has a population of 33,000 and the mayor’s annual salary is $68,000. Councilman Juniper made a motion to add $1,673.44 to the salary of the Mayor effective July 1, 2012. Gary Cotton added the second motion. At that time, Juniper asked the Mayor how he came to that particular figure. Mayor Billings stated that there were two cost of living increases that were added to the water/sewer manager’s salary since July 2007 and those cost of living increases were removed upon the passage of the pay ordinance. Juniper indicated he had figures obtained from Clerk Tatterson and Accountant Shannon Pearson dated back to July 1, 2007 for each payroll period for the Mayor. He stated Mayor McDaniel received a total of $5,084.82 in raises her first year. Ms. Pearson indicated that Council approved a $4,000 raise that took effect for the new Mayor of 2007. The additional amount was due to a cost of living increase. Juniper stated Council approved a 3.6% increase to employees, not elected officials. Pearson stated that based on figures she has access to, past mayors and clerks received the cost of living increases due to the fact that the Mayor acts as the water/sewer manager and the Clerk also serves as the Treasure. Juniper indicated that no elected official should receive pay raises and he sees six raises since 2007 based on the figures provided to him. Council only approved two cost of living increases for employees, the mayor and clerk are elected and should not have received those increases. After much discussion, Juniper indicated he would further address this issue later. He withdrew his initial motion and made a new motion to add $1,673.44 to the salary of the 2012 Mayor and this would be the first reading to amend the pay ordinance. Gary Cotton added the second motion which passed 8-1, which Sang casting a no vote.
Mayor Billings wanted to update Council on a few issues that came up after the Council packets had been sent. He stated the flood wall gate located on Main Street near Councilman Doeffinger’s home will be built, photo taken, and then disassembled this week. This is something that is randomly required by FEMA. The flood gates will be put on a schedule and the two large gates will be assembled and disassembled after the first of the year. Billings also told Council that Street Commissioner, Willie Call has rated all the alleys within the City based on their condition and needs then made a diagram to keep on file. Call also advised the Mayor the necessary road repairs are being made in the Meadowbrook area and Kanawha Street. Billings advised the Coal Severance money is being used as requested for these repairs. The Mayor concluded by telling Council leaf pick-up began last week and they will be starting their second round through town tomorrow.
Gary Cotton asked the Mayor to keep track of the labor that the City is contributing to the Krodel Light Show and advised the City should not be absorbing any costs associated with the light show. He also asked what the current situation is for the purchasing of a backhoe. Mayor Billings indicated that the City has a total of four and it is not necessary to make another purchase.
James Bowles thanked Mayor Billings for his hand in the road repair on Sandhill and Birch Avenue. Bowles also indicated that vehicles are still entering behind the flood wall at the 14th Street gate. He indicated there is a lot of activity and traffic in that area all hours of the night. Mr. Doeffinger advised the City should block the entrance since it is their right of way. Mayor Billings advised he would see what can be done.
William Park asked if the City owns any of the tie-ups along the river. If so and others are using them, they should be charged for the access. Mayor Billings advised he would research that matter. Park asked why the welcoming sign at the north end of Point Pleasant is turned backwards. Mayor Billings indicated more work is needed so they have it turned.
Robert Doeffinger told Council he recently read an article in the Herald Dispatch that spoke about Huntington addressing their distressed property issues. They developed a fund to demolish distressed properties. They had someone contribute $100,000 to the fund and also allow citizens to contribute to the fund. They have a list of over fifty properties they plan to address with this money. Once they demolish and sell the property they refund they trust. They were able to begin the fund by obtaining a Community Block grant. Doeffinger asked if Denny Bellamy could look into Community Block grants for $15,000- $20,000 to begin a fund. Doeffinger then asked if Mr. Humphreys had been contacted to address the parking issues on Main Street. The Mayor indicated he would speak with Mr. Humphreys. Gary Cotton asked if there were any further recommendations to address the issue. Doeffinger indicated that he feels that the Main Street Board should head the solution to the issue. Mr. Juniper advised that five days after the amendment to the ordinance failed, courthouse employees were back parking on Main Street. Doeffinger spoke concerning a petition created by Mr. Zopp that opposes tolls on the new Route 35. Doeffinger wanted the petition to be distributed to various locations so that the signatures could be used to back the County Commissions vote to rescind their initial vote. Doeffinger stated that the Commissioners were not provided with all the information necessary to make an informed decision. The Commissioners were told the funds were not available to fund the road and the only way the road would be completed is by the collection of tolls. A day after they voted to support the tolls the State announced approximately 140 million dollars is available for the project. Doeffinger concluded with giving Council a handout to update them on the drainage project. The handout listed items that have been completed to date and a schedule for upcoming events. (A copy of the handout is attached to the official minutes).
Leota Sang asked the Mayor if he followed up on her call concerning the Kanawha Street Bridge. She wanted a sign to be posted letting drivers know there is a bump. Mayor Billings advised there is a sign already posted and it has been there for months. Sang also encouraged everyone to sign the petition opposing the Route 35 tolls. She indicated that the petitions would show support to the County Commission and maybe could be used if a civil suit should arise.
Sam Juniper asked the Mayor if he would write a letter to Valley Brook Concrete to ask them to not clean out their cement trucks on City streets. The Mayor agreed to make contact with them. Juniper asked if City employees received the proper training from Accufund when they were onsite. Mayor Billings indicated he felt everyone took advantage of the training. Clerk Tatterson indicated that several employees stopped by to ask questions and that she and Dave Snowden received training the four days the trainer was onsite. Snowden indicated Accufund is a large tool that will take time to learn and utilize. Juniper asked the Mayor to write a letter to the Department of Highways asking for a left turn signal South on Route 62 and 28th Street to turn out Sandhill Road. Juniper told Council he did not think the numbers presented last month by the Krodel Campground Manager added up. Juniper advised he looked at financial reports ending June 2009 for park revenues and it reflects $11,862 and the same ending report for 2010 reflects $10,711. He also looked at October 2009 and 2010 Krodel Park Campground numbers and found that $90,715 was reported in 2009 and $68,800 reported in 2010. Mayor Billings advised the figures likely were not complete and to wait until the final numbers are presented. It is also necessary to see how the numbers are reported since the camping season may be different than the reporting season. Juniper concluded with speaking concerning paperwork received from the City concerning the Mayor’s salary per pay period. He advised he has figures from July 1 2003 to present for the Mayor and Clerk. He listed several discrepancies that indicate over $6,000 in potential pay raises that have occurred since 2003. He stated that no elected official is to receive a pay increase during their elected term. Mayor Billings indicated that based on what he has observed, cost of living increases were giving to the sewer/water manager not the mayor. Juniper advised by Charter the Mayor is the sewer/water manager, they are the same individual. Several members stated that it was previous administration that has allowed the increases and this administration has recently corrected the issue and wish to move forward in a positive manner. Juniper indicated he feels illegal pay raises were given and he intends to take them to the prosecution attorney for him to investigate.
Being no other business, James Bowles made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 p.m. Linda Smith added the second and the motion carried.
________________________ Amber D. Tatterson, City Clerk
________________________ Brian L. Billings, Mayor