The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian L. Billings who led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Lin Gullet (Cintas) - addressed Council concerning the renewal of the uniform contract that expires in May. Mr. Gullet advised a thirty-six month contract would be necessary for the lease program and the current lease was for sixty months. He provided council with a handout explaining proposed costs for different types of uniforms.
Councilman Gary Cotton asked Attorney Stein if Council was permitted to obligate beyond their current term. Stein advised it is a lease agreement and in this particular situation it is permitted. Mayor Billings said he asked for each department to take a vote since many workers have indicated they do not want the uniforms. Councilman Juniper asked for this issue to be on the April agenda.
Brad Sang (Neighborhood Watch Program director) - thanked Council for the opportunity to speak and gave a brief report on what his purpose is for the watch group. Sang said he wants to see the watch program be more than just a criminal watch, he wants it to make for a better community by reporting those who are in violation of City Ordinances. Sang said he saw 30 violations on his way to tonight’s meeting. According to Sang, ordinances need enforced and it would generate money for the City and allow for improvements. He advised the meetings have been held at various local Churches and at the Mid-Ohio Valley Center and he formally invited all members to the next meeting being conducted at the Mason County 911 Center at 6 p.m. March 8th.
Amanda Tarbett (Day Report Center Director) - told Council she has 35 non-violent offenders that need community services hours and asked for the City to consider using her clients for various jobs. The program performs drug-screening on all clients and provides transportation and supervision when performing community services. Tarbett advised her clients can assist with anything from clean-up efforts to mowing. Councilwoman Smith advised that the workers would be of good use for maintenance and improvements to Krodel Campground.
Hope Roush- (Twin River Runners and Walkers) was not in attendance for the meeting.
Charles Humphreys (Main Street Program) - asked to address Council concerning two issues. First he spoke concerning his job for the City, Main Street, and the County. The City pays wages to Humphreys and the County pays for his insurance. Humphreys advised he receives minimum wage from the City to allow him to receive insurance and retirement. However, his current wage of $250 does not meet minimum wage requirements and needs to be increased to $290 in order to continue insurance and retirement benefits.
Humphreys informed Council of an opportunity for a grant to make improvements to buildings on Main Street. He said he wanted to use the grant to demolish the rear of a building on Main Street that is quickly deteriorating. Humphreys has spoken with the building owner and he is willing to grant the City ownership. The original historical store front would remain and be restored and the rear would be demolished and rebuilt. Humphreys advised the grant would need to be sponsored by the City; however, it would not be of any expense for the City. Councilman Doeffinger asked if a hazardous material study has been performed and if he had any written descriptions for the plans. Humphreys indicated a study was to be performed the following day. The deadline for the grant is March 22nd and it will require two public meetings and Council’s approval to obtain the grant. Councilman Juniper stated the City does not need added liability of another dilapidated property in Point Pleasant. Kathy Elliott with Region II Development Council was present to support Mr. Humphreys and she will work with the City if they decided to apply for the grant. Ms. Elliott indicated that Humphreys has worked hard to address properties on Main Street and this is an opportunity to make an improvement. She stated in order to meet the deadline requirements public meetings with Council would need to be held March 14th and March 21st with a quorum present. Council would have to give approval tonight so Ms. Elliott can publish public meeting notices in the local newspaper. Mayor Billings called for a motion to support the grant and Councilman Bonecutter made the first motion and Councilwoman Brown added the second. The motion passed 8-1 with Sam Juniper casting the no vote. Meetings were set up for March 14th at 5:30 p.m. and March 21st at 6:30 p.m. Councilman Doeffinger asked for a description of plans to be submitted to Council prior to the meetings for their review.
Nancy Hamm (Ministerial Association) - told Council she was in attendance since the Association is working to have a member present at various meetings throughout the community. She also took the opportunity to tell Council the Association is considering holding a community activity for September 11th rather than Fourth of July. Mayor Billings reminded members that last year the Association and the City co-sponsored a Fourth of July event and it was very successful and he would like to see the same happen for 2011. The Mayor also told Ms. Hamm that the AMVETS will hold a remembrance at the Riverfront Park September 11th and the City will participate by dedicating the World Trade Center piece of steel.
Linda Smith made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular council meeting for February 7, 2011 and a second was given by James Bowles. Motion to approve minutes passed 9-0. A motion made by Marshall Bonecutter was seconded by Gary Cotton to approve the financial statements of the General, Coal Severance, Water and Sewer Funds for the month of February 2011. Councilman Juniper stated that the reports show the Main Street Program is already $9,000 over budget. He also stated that the sewer/water manager line item appears on the financial statements for the general fund rather than on the water and sewer statements. Tatterson indicated the wages for the sewer/water manager are paid equally out of the general fund, sewer fund, and the water fund. Juniper said he would like to see the sewer and water funds charged for the manager wages. Outside Accountant, Dave Snowden indicated the allocation can be changed but it could put a strain on those funds. Councilman Doeffinger stated that those funds should be charged for the wages and it would show cause when filing for a rate increase with the Public Service Commission and allow the general fund to receive some relief. Attorney Stein advised that if Council wishes to make this change they need to consider changing the pay ordinance that was recently adopted for 2012. The ordinance clearly states that the wages for sewer/water manager is equally divided 1/3 between the three funds. A motion was made by Doeffinger to allocate the sewer/water manager salary from those funds until the new pay ordinance for 2012 is in place. Mr. Cotton added the second motion which passed 9-0. Mayor Billings called for a final vote to approve of the financial statements for February, which passed 9-0. Councilwoman Sang made a motion to approve the outstanding obligations for the month of February 2011, and Mr. Bonecutter seconded the motion. Councilman Cotton asked a question concerning the check registry. Teka McCauley, Administrative Assistant, indicated the registry includes all checks she writes. It does not include a registry for payroll or pension. Councilman Juniper asked if Fetty’s Tree Service was paid before Council approved the obligations because he did not see the invoice and advised all obligations are to be approved by Council. Ms. McCauley advised she would look for the Fetty payment and let Council know. Motion to approve outstanding obligations passed 9-0.
City Attorney R.F. Stein told Council he has not completed the draft of a letter to address delinquent municipal service fees. He then asked Council to provide him with their email addresses so he could provide them with a copy of the letter once completed and it would allow him to communicate information prior to meetings.
Stein advised Council he is ready to send the necessary information out pertaining to the Yeager property on Main Street. He has to obtain a signature from the City Inspector and hopes to have it out by the end of the week.
Attorney Stein gave an update pertaining to the Franklin property. He received communication from Ms. Franklin on February 24th stating she was unable to obtain a mailing from his office due to a name change. Stein amended and re-filed the original complaint with her new name and she now has thirty days to respond and he will give an update when received.
Stein asked for a motion to approve the 2nd and final reading for Ordinance 505.11 prohibiting feeding of waterfowl. Mr. Cotton made the first motion while Linda Smith added the second. Juniper stated that most of the ordinances are not strongly enforced now. Ms. Smith advised that Derrick Taylor, manager of Krodel, will be there to enforce the ordinance. The ordinance passed 9-0.
Attorney Stein told Council he made an amendment to Ordinance 905.03 pertaining to street trees that adds language requiring the tree director to consult an arborist or botanist prior to pruning, preserving, or removing any tree or plant. Ms. Smith asked for Stein to remove language that states the street commissioner acts as the street tree director. Attorney Stein indicated he would need to amend ordinance 905.02 to address the director of street trees. Councilman Doeffinger told Stein to change ordinance 905.02 to read the Mayor acts as the tree director. Stein asked Council how they wish to proceed with the amendment to language for Ordinance 905.03. Mr. Doeffinger made a motion to approve the amendment and Councilwoman Smith added the second, the motion passed 8-1 with Mr. Bonecutter casting the no vote.
Stein discussed the closure of the 14th Street railroad crossing and presented Council with an amendment to Ordinance 305.07 which pertains to vacated streets and/or alleyways. He added paragraph (b) which gives a description for the portion at 14th Street that pertains to the railroad crossing. Mr. Cotton made a motion to approve the ordinance for the railroad closure and Ms. Smith added the second. Juniper commented that the funds received for the closure would be used for the replacement of trees in downtown Point Pleasant. Stein indicated that Council needs to keep in mind that a public hearing will be held and it is possible that the fire department and the 911 Center may give some opposition to the closure for safety purposes. The motion to close the 14th Street railroad crossing passed 9-0.
Attorney Stein asked Council for a clear understanding on what they wish to discuss concerning Ordinance 107.06 Nominations, Nominating Conventions and Certifications of Candidates. Councilwoman Sang said she would like to consider a primary election allowing an opportunity for anyone to run for office. Mr. Doeffinger indicated everyone should be given an opportunity but that people are not knocking down the door to run for office. Having the two party convention style nominations allows the parties to solicit candidates that are suitable for the position. Ms. Sang recommended that if there were vacancies on an election ballot, the political party could hold a convention to fill those vacancies. Juniper said he would just like the election to be open to anyone that wants to run for office. Mayor Billings spoke saying the party conventions are open to the public and whoever has the numbers at the convention becomes the candidate. Mr. Bonecutter stated he thinks candidates need screened, and the party conventions do this, and it should not be changed. After much discussion, it was decided to further discuss the issue at the April meeting to allow all members of Council to come to an agreement on how they wish to proceed.
Stein concluded giving Council a few updates he has been working on over the past few months. The floodwall project being performed by the Corps of Engineers is moving along. He said he has researched the ownership of the property located at the old Silver Bridge approach on 6th Street. It appears the State of West Virginia owns the property and the City had made a purchase offer in September 1941, and the State accepted but with the stipulation that the deal be consummated by December 15, 1941. Apparently the deadline was not met because the deed dated December 24, 1941 shows the State of West Virginia as the owner. Stein also mentioned he found a deed of easement from the State to the City of Point Pleasant which details a permanent right of way for the construction and maintenance of a floodwall. However this particular deed indicates it is for a parcel of land near 1st Street, not for 6th Street. Stein indicated he is trying to make contact with the necessary individuals to see if a similar document exists for 6th Street or if permission can be obtained from the State to maintain the area. He will keep Council updated on any progress made concerning this matter.
Stein advised he attended a meeting in February with Steve Littlepage, Dallas Kayser, and James Rossi concerning the possibility of closing a portion of Court Street. Stein recommended the City remove themselves from this issue until a compromising agreement is reached between business owners and the Church. Mr. Doeffinger agreed and asked Stein if the City can trade property for property. If the City agreed to close a portion of Court Street then the Church would need to trade property that would allow access to Main Street through their parking lot. Stein said he would need to research this issue if a decision was reached.
Stein told Council the Mayor had signed and submitted the agreement with Region II Development Council in February that pertains to the North Point Pleasant Drainage Project. However the DEP required new language that pertained to fees the City would incur. The language was changed to guarantee a fee of $60,000 for services. The fees remained the same so the Mayor signed and submitted an amended agreement.
Stein said he spoke with the County Clerk concerning re-districting and she indicated they would have maps prepared for review. Stein advised it would be the City’s choice on how to proceed and the County would have to go with it. Clerk Tatterson advised she had spoken with the County Clerk’s office and was told they would make contact with the City once the 2010 Census was received.
Shannon Pearson, City Accountant, spoke concerning Charles Humphrey’s insurance benefits. She indicated that she was contacted by Public Employees Retirement System concerning Humphrey’s wages. Ms. Pearson advised that his pay would need to be increase from $250 every two weeks to $290 or he would lose his benefits. Ms. Sang made a motion to increase his wages and Mr. Bonecutter added the second. The motion passed 8-1 with Juniper casting the no vote.
City Clerk Amber Tatters informed Council that the current Accufund support contract expires at the end of March. This contract protects our software investment and provides maintenance and enhancement service. The annual service provides access to the Accufund website for downloads and installation of the latest product version. The renewal contract is for $5,731.50 and would expire March 31, 2012. Sam Juniper made a motion to approve the contract and James Bowles added the second, and the motion carried.
Tatterson told Council that a finance meeting was held February 22nd to review figures for the 2011-2012 general fund budget. Committee members made suggestions and a final draft of the proposed budget was given to Council. Tatterson said she would need to make a change to the budget since the Mayor’s pay for sewer/water manager needs to be charged to the sewer and water funds, as decided earlier in the meeting. Tatterson asked for a motion to approve the general fund budget. Linda Smith made the first motion and Leota Sang added the second. Councilman Juniper advised he reviewed the 2010 annual PSC reports and the figures on those reports show incorrect wages for the Mayor and Clerk. Mr. Snowden advised he used the figures for the Mayor and Clerk’s salary from previously filed PSC reports and it was an oversight. Juniper asked for Snowden to make the necessary corrections on the report so the general fund budget corresponds correctly with the PSC reports. Snowden indicated he could re-file the reports with more accurate numbers, but the reports are not directly related to approval for the general fund budget. Councilwoman Sang asked why the Court fines and Costs have decreased since 2009. Mayor Billings advised the Governmental Highway safety program has cut funds for Click-it-ticket and DUI check points which has caused a decrease in ticket revenues. He also stated that citations and ticket revenues are being collected and when they go unpaid they are turned into the Division of Motor Vehicles. The DMV then suspends their license and withholds money from their taxes to pay the fines. Also, Sang mentioned the budget shows $32,453 for cemetery expenses, yet the year to date figures only reflect $12,454. If money is budgeted for this line item then the sources need to be fully utilized for keeping the cemeteries in better condition. Tatterson called for a final vote to approve the budget as amended for the sewer/water manager. Juniper advised he also wants Mr. Snowden to make the necessary changes to the PSC reports. The motion to approve the amended budget passed 9-0.
Tatterson asked Council for a motion to approve the coal severance budget for $12,000 for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Ms. Smith made the motion and Gary Cotton followed it with a second. The motion passed unanimously.
Tatterson then asked Council for a motion to re-appoint Jack Lee and Tom Vance to the Historic Landmark Commission for another three years. Marshall Bonecutter made the first motion and Mr. Doeffinger added the second motion, which passed 9-0. The Clerk also asked for a motion to appoint Charles Rhodes and Sharon Stapleton to meet ordinance guidelines for members from the Planning Commission and the Main Street Program. Councilman Doeffinger made a motion for the appointments and Mr. Bonecutter added the second motion. The motion passed unanimously.
The Clerk read a resolution to accept a contract with the WV Development Office Community Participation Grant Program. The grant is for the Point Pleasant River Museum automated library system and is for $1,000. A motion was made by Leota Sang and seconded by Mr. Doeffinger, and the motion carried.
Tatterson concluded by stating the WV Make it Shine/ City-wide Clean-Up Day is being held April 2nd 9 a.m. to noon. She also mentioned that in the past Council has reduced garbage pick-up fees in support of the clean-up efforts. With that being said, Tatterson called for a motion to reduce the garbage fees for the week of April 4th. The rate for a dump truck load would be $35 while the rate for a pick-up truck load would be $25. Ms. Sang made a motion to reduce the fees and Ms. Smith added the second, which passed 9-0.
Mayor Brian Billings told Council he was contacted by the Point Pleasant Fire Department concerning the yield sign at the alleyway that is located at Wendy’s. They have asked for the City to consider replacing the yield sign with a stop sign since many drivers are ignoring the yield sign and there have been numerous close calls at that alleyway. The fire department has spoken with the manager at Wendy’s and they are in favor of a stop sign rather than a yield sign. Linda Smith made a motion to approve a stop sign and this to be considered the first reading. James Bowles added the second and the motion passed 9-0.
Mayor Billings read a proclamation recognizing the Point Pleasant High School Wrestling team for being crowned Class AA/A wrestling champions for the second consecutive year. Gary Cotton made a motion to the proclamation and James Bowles added the second. The motion passed unanimously.
The Mayor spoke concerning the need of a part time employee in the Sewer Department since they are still down one employee and there are a few issues that are occasionally leaving this department short-handed. Councilman Juniper made a motion to approve the hire of a part time employee at minimum wage and no benefits. Mr. Doeffinger added the second motion and the motion carried.
The Mayor told Council the River Museum has secured a grant for $165,000 to purchase a pilot house simulator that will be dedicated July 4th, 2011. The grant will be at no cost to the City. The River Museum has raised the funds necessary to meet the grant requirements. The City will receive monthly purchase orders and checks will be issued and then funds with be reimbursed to the City. Mr. Doeffinger advised that the Riverfront Park project required the same process for the grant. Councilman Doeffinger made a motion to approve the grant and Ms. Sang added the second. Mr. Juniper verified the grant would be at no cost to the City and the motion passed 9-0.
Mayor Billings spoke concerning the same issue addressed in last month’s meeting pertaining to regulations of federal highway administration for street signs. Billings told Council that Street Commissioner, Willie Call recommended getting an early start on the requirements to pro-rate our costs to $500 to $600 monthly until completed before demand and pricing increases. Sang advised that it appears Mr. Call has met the 2012 sign guidelines and that he should not proceed forward. Councilwoman Smith made a motion to table the sign discussion until April. Sam Juniper added a second and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Billings then spoke concerning the need of a water rate increase. This issue was discussed during a finance meeting that was held March 22nd. Billings stated the rate for a minimum usage water bill with a 30% rate increase would raise $2.01, a rate increase of 35% would raise $2.35, and a 40% rate increase would raise $2.68. Robert Doeffinger made a motion for a 40% rate increase and Gary Cotton added the second motion. Juniper said he is not in favor of a 40% rate increase. He indicated that the municipal bond the City has will be paid off in the fall of 2012. The monthly bond payment is $9,182 and once this is paid off the City would have an additional $110,184 annually. With that being said, he feels the City could go with a lower rate increase. After further discussion, Council asked for Mr. Snowden to look at the income that will be generated with the bond payoff and how much is necessary for the City to have in the reserve account. Once those figures are indicated then Council could decide on what percentage of a rate increase is necessary. Juniper also stated there is a big problem with the water system since reports are showing 100 million gallons of water are unaccounted for and this should be researched. Mayor Billings called for a final vote to approve the 40% water rate increase and the motion failed 0-9. Council asked for the Water Department manager to research the cost for WV Water to trace the source of our unaccounted water loss.
Billings concluded by telling Council bids were received for a 61” Bobcat Predator Pro zero-turn mower for the Street Department. One bid was received from Jim’s Farm Equipment for $8,223. A motion was made by Ms. Smith to accept the bid offer and Councilman Doeffinger added the second and the motion passed 8-0-1 with Mr. Juniper abstaining.
Sewer Committee (NPPDP) Councilman Doeffinger updated Council concerning the most recent development with the project. Committee members met with Burgess and Niple and agreed the trunk alignment presented down the middle of the road on Kanawha Street would be the best route and prevents entering and disturbing Mr. Neville’s property, as well as, relocating gas and water lines that run along Neville’s property. Doeffinger will likely be calling a sewer committee meeting.
Recreational Committee held a meeting February 15th to discuss Krodel Campground improvements. A handout was given to Council for review of what the committee recommends. The restrooms at the campground are high on the priority list with the camping season beginning April 1st. The Day Report Center will provide clients to assist in the improvements and save on labor costs. Leota Sang made a motion to approve $2,065 for bathroom supplies to complete the repairs. Sam Juniper added the second motion, and the motion carried. Mr. Bowles stated he would like to see a separate account set-up for deposits for Krodel Campground funds. Doeffinger stated he was concerned about the electric bills received for the permanent camper sites. He thinks the City needs to consider separate electric and water bills for those sites since they are only paying $200 for rent. Mayor Billings indicated that prices are being obtained for the cost of meter bases. Smith asked the Mayor what the progress is on purchasing a mower for the campground and was told that it would be purchased the first week of April. Other issues concerning the campground will be addressed in the April meeting.
Gary Cotton thanked Ms. Pearson for the figures associated with labor used for the Krodel Light Show. Cotton stated that City employees spent 1,063 hours on the light show which is $9,210.03 in wages. He also stated this does not include what the City is paying for the electric bill associated with the light show each year. Cotton indicated that the City of Huntington has money in their budget to pave streets that is an average of $10.91 per citizen.
James Bowles asked for the City to recognize Point Pleasant High School basketball team for a successful season.
Robert Doeffinger said now is the time to consider replacing trees in Downtown Point Pleasant. He would like members to consider fronting the money from the general fund until CSX makes payment to the City for the railroad closure. Mayor Billings indicated he spoke with Rodney Wallbrown from the agriculture office and he said the trees will live and bloom. Wallbrown spoke with Dr. Jay and he gave a list of suitable trees for the area. Doeffinger stated he knows the trees will bloom but they look terrible and will die a slow death. Mayor Billings spoke with a tree specialist that is located in Ohio who can inspect the trees and give a report at no cost to the City. Billings also told Council that Peoples Bank wants to plant a tree to celebrate 25 years of service in the Community. They have asked where they can plant and for recommendations on what type of tree to purchase. Doeffinger agreed to let them purchase and plant the tree, but to wait until an arborist can recommend a type of tree. Mr. Doeffinger concluded with asking Attorney Stein why AB Contracting would not be paying B&O taxes on the construction project that took place on Main Street. Stein said he was not sure, but he indicated that the transaction with the project was a trade of property for property. Mr. Juniper said that a home was constructed and it would be subject to B&O taxes. Doeffinger indicated that AB Contracting may have a reason for avoiding the B&O taxes, but he needs to submit it in writing to the City. Doeffinger then asked the Mayor if GenCorps has drilled any wells. Councilman Juniper advised he knew of two wells that were drilled. Doeffinger asked who is liable for the wells and the Mayor advised he would need to do some research and report back to Council.
Leota Sang presented the Mayor with work order sheets for patch work on various streets in her ward. She also indicated that a speed limit sign is down on the corner of 22nd Street and Mt. Vernon Avenue. Sang concluded with asking when the paving will be removed from the floodwall gate area on Kanawha Street. The City is currently experiencing flooding and it needs to be removed
Elaine Hunt asked the Mayor if water testing is taking place since Council has not received a report lately. Mayor Billings had a copy of the latest testing conducted and it was dated April 2010, so this is the time of year that the report comes out. Hunt said with all the drugs and other chemicals that go into the water now, new tests may be necessary. Billings stated that the tests are mandated and substances tested for should be current. Hunt asked if a written plan is in effect if flooding should occur on Camden Avenue. Billings advised noting is in writing, but he was told that traffic lights or flagmen will be placed at the Jefferson Boulevard Bridge to alternate traffic across the bridge until flooding recedes on Camden.
Linda Smith advised that the City Inspector should drive all city streets and neighborhoods on a weekly basis to write citations on all ordinance violations.
Sam Juniper stated the City Inspector indicated a complaint for working without a permit on his monthly report. Juniper was the one that made the complaint and was told the permit was obtained in September 2010, but the resident was not displaying the permit. He stated the inspector needs to be out and issue citations to generate revenues for the City.
Barbara Brown stated that the lights are out on Warwick Road again. She said they worked for a while and are out again.
Being no other business, Councilwoman Smith made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:53 p.m. James Bowles added the second and the motion carried.
Amber D. Tatterson, City Clerk
Brian L. Billings, Mayor