The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian L. Billings who led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Jim McCausland- advised Council he had an electrical box to donate to the City for usage at the Riverfront Park for small boaters. He believes Point Pleasant has the nicest place to dock on the Ohio River and it would be a big asset to have this electrical box for the small boaters. Mayor Billings asked Council how they wish to proceed with McCausland’s proposal. Councilman Gary Cotton advised he thought the City should price the costs associated with the electrical box set-up and maintenance. Mayor Billings advised he would do the research and contact McCausland with Council’s decision.
Cary Supple/ Point Pleasant in Bloom (PPIB) President- addressed Council concerning the hanging flower pots located in the downtown Point Pleasant area. Supple indicated that in the past, Bob’s Market has generously donated flowers to fill the pots and also watered and maintained the pots, a value of $5,000. Recently Mr. Barnitz with Bob’s Market has indicated they will continue to donate the flowers, however, they are unable to continue with the watering and maintenance. Supple told Council that Point Pleasant in Bloom would like to continue the hanging baskets since Bob’s Market is still willing to donate the flowers. PPIB is asking for the City to water and maintain the baskets. This would require the use of a ¾ ton truck, which the City already owns. It would be necessary to purchase a tank, pump, hose and wand, which would cost approximately $900. PPIB is willing to donate $1,000 to purchase these items. It would be the City’s responsibility to purchase fertilizer and provide employees for watering the pots six days a week for twenty weeks.
Ronald Kapp- 106 Liberty Street asked Council for information pertaining to possible abandonment of Court Street. City Attorney R.F. Stein advised he attended a meeting that took place between church members and business owners to discuss an agreement concerning Court Street. At that meeting an agreement was reached between the church and business owners and Stein indicated he would further discuss the issue as it is addressed on the agenda.
Linda Smith made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular council meeting for March 7, 2011 and a second was given by Elaine Hunt. Councilman Sam Juniper wanted minutes to reflect that in the March meeting, the Mayor asked for a motion to purchase a lawn mower and it was not on the agenda. Juniper advised the law states that in order to take action, the item must be listed on the agenda. Leota Sang advised that the March minutes also need to be changed to reflect the name of Dr. Jett rather than Dr. Jay. Motion to approve minutes passed 9-1, with Juniper casting the opposing vote. Juniper also advised a copy of the special meeting minutes held March 21st were in the Council packets but not on the agenda. City Clerk Tatterson advised it was overlooked and it will be on the agenda for the May meeting. A motion made by Councilman 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 March 2011. Councilman Juniper stated that the prior monthly report indicated the payment for the Sewer Department dump truck is being taken out of the CSO account. Teka McCauley, Administrative Assistant, indicated the payment is being taken from the general fund account. Councilwoman Smith made a motion to approve the outstanding obligations for the month of March 2011, and Ms. Hunt seconded and the motion passed 10-0.
City Attorney R.F. Stein updated Council on the current status of the Corps of Engineers floodwall project. Stein stated he met with Dave Humphreys from the Corps and Humphreys indicated the project is continuing and they asked and received an additional $800,000 to complete the project. Stein is also still researching ownership of the property located at the old 6th Street bridge approach. A permit from the Department of Highways will need to be obtained to authorize the Corps to perform work on this property. Stein said that while speaking with the DOH he was told that the State of West Virginia is interested in selling the property to the City for the cost of a dollar. Councilman Doeffinger stated he thought the City should proceed with the purchasing of this property. Stein said once the permit is obtained, he will pursue the possibility of a purchase.
Attorney Stein further elaborated on a meeting held pertaining to the possible abandonment of Court Street. According to Stein, the Church and business owners reached an agreement that would abandon a portion of Court Street from Mr. Casey’s office north to the 7th Street intersection. The Church in return will provide a portion of their property to be utilized by the public to ingress and egress Main Street. Mr. Juniper then informed Stein that during the public hearings held prior to tonight’s meeting; a citizen complained that the legal advertisements published for ordinances are not clearly defining the intent of the ordinance. Juniper provided Stein with a copy of State Code 8-11-4 pertaining to ordinance procedures. Stein read the following from the code “the notice shall state the subject matter and general title or titles of such proposed ordinance, the date, time, and place of the proposed final vote on adoption, and the place or places within the municipality where such proposed ordinance may be inspected by the public. A reasonable number of copies of the proposed ordinance shall be kept at such a place and be made available for public inspection. Said notice shall also advise that the interested parties may appear at the meeting and be heard with respect to the proposed ordinance.” Stein then stated that the intent of this code is to provide notice of a change or proposal of an ordinance and to allow the public to comment. The law does not state that the notice must be spelled out in the legal advertisements. Attorney Stein advised that the legal ads have been published this way for numerous years and they clearly state when, where, and what ordinance. Mayor Billings agreed that the legal notices are published as required and they are also posted at the City building for the public to enter, view and ask questions. Billings also said that the City has not received any calls or complaints in reference to the legal notices. Stein told Juniper that he would view the notices and if changes are necessary he will meet with the Clerk. Stein then continued to discuss the Court Street issue. He advised that after he attended the meeting and an agreement was reached, he drafted a proposal to abandon a portion of Court Street. He asked Council for a motion to approve the ordinance. Councilman Doeffinger made a motion to approve the ordinance with the right to amend and Linda Smith followed with a second. Doeffinger asked for Council to be provided with a copy of the agreement prior to the final reading. Councilman Juniper asked Attorney Stein how a street can be abandoned under an ordinance that addresses alleyways. Stein advised that he amended the ordinance to read “streets and/or alleyways”. Juniper indicated he wants the ordinance to be correct so the City is not open to a law suit. Final call to approve the ordinance with the right to amend passed 10-0.
Attorney Stein gave an update pertaining to the Franklin property. Stein provided Council with a copy of the answer and counterclaim in their packets. Stein is drafting a reply to the claim and will provide Council with a copy once fully drafted. Juniper stated that the previous attorney did not do as he was instructed by the Council concerning the Franklin property. Now this Council is being held responsible and is stuck with property they did not want.
Stein asked Council for a motion to approve the first reading of Ordinance 905.02 pertaining to the powers and duties of the Street Tree Director. Stein made an amendment to the ordinance that states the Mayor shall act as the Street Tree Director. Councilman Robert Doeffinger made the first motion and Ms. Leota Sang added the second motion, which passed unanimously.
City Attorney Stein asked for a motion to approve the second reading of the amendment to Ordinance 305.05 pertaining to stop streets. This ordinance would allow a stop sign to replace a yield sign located at the Wendy’s restaurant alleyway. Councilman Cotton made the first motion and Ms. Sang added the second, which passed 10-0.
Attorney Stein asked Council for a motion to approve the second reading of the amendment to Ordinance 905.03(a) pertaining to street trees that added language requiring the tree director to consult an arborist or botanist prior to pruning, preserving, or removing any tree or plant. Ms. Sang made the motion and Councilman Cotton added the second. Motion to approve the final reading passed 10-0.
Stein asked for a motion to approve the final reading for Ordinance 305.07 for vacated streets and/or alleyways pertaining to the closure of the 14th Street railroad crossing. Mr. Park made a motion to approve the ordinance for the railroad closure and Mr. Bowles added the second. Final call to approve the ordinance passed 10-0. Councilwoman Elaine Hunt made a motion for Council to reconsider the closure due letters from Mason County Emergency Medical Services and the Point Pleasant Fire Department that were submitted and read during the public hearing. Councilman Juniper seconded the motion and the issue was tabled until the May meeting.
City Clerk Amber Tatterson told Council she received the Auditor’s letter of approval of the levy estimate for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011.
Tatterson read a declaration to proclaim April 16, 2011 as Citywide Yard Sale Day and to waive yard sale permit fees. The proclamation also claims May 14th and 21st as Planting days in the City. Ms. Leota Sang made the first motion and Mr. Cotton added the second motion and the motion carried.
Clerk Tatterson stated the City’s uniform contract with Cintas expires May 2011. Tatterson indicated that in 2010 the City paid Cintas over $13,000 and the previous years were over $10,000. She said a vote was taken from each employee concerning the Cintas uniforms and only 8 out of 29 employees want the Cintas uniforms. Several employees have asked for the City to provide a clothing/boot allowance or t-shirts to each department. Tatterson stated that she priced 150 t-shirts, which would allow five shirts for each employee. The figures are estimates since the cost for larger sizes can vary. Forbes Graphics quoted $1,425, Point Pleasant Printing quoted $1,387, and Buckeye Sign Company quoted $1,238. These businesses are all located in Point Pleasant and would support our local business owners. Mayor Billings told Council the biggest concern at this time is for Council to determine whether to continue with Cintas. Mr. Doeffinger made a motion to discontinue services with Cintas and Ms. Smith added the second, and the motion passed 10-0.
Council received an update on the proposed Skateboard Park. Tatterson advised the concrete pad has been marked at Harmon Park. Mayor Billings told Council that it might be necessary to move the pad approximately ten feet toward the Youth Center since there is a gas line and a water line that runs through the area. Billings said that if those lines pose a problem, the pad could be placed on the parking lot to the left of the Youth Center building. Billings then told Council that the City of Milton has new ARC skateboard equipment they will not be using that could be available for purchasing. Milton also has secured two grants that might be transferable if we purchase the equipment. The Mayor indicated they are still trying to make contact with various individuals to see if the City can make this all happen. He then asked Council for their approval to pursue this equipment and the grants. Councilwoman Smith made a motion to proceed forward with the City of Milton’s skateboard equipment and Barbara Brown added the second, the motion carried.
Clerk Tatterson asked for Councilman Juniper to speak pertaining to Ordinance 107.06 Nominations, Nominating Conventions and Certifications of Candidates. Mr. Juniper indicated he wants Attorney Stein to research the possibility of a non-partisan election. He also stated that Councilwoman Sang would like to consider a primary election. Mayor Billings asked Council for their consensus on this issue. Mr. Doeffinger indicated the two party convention style nominations is not a perfect system; however it allows the parties to solicit candidates that are suitable for the position. Mr. Bowles, Mr. Bonecutter and Ms. Smith agreed with Mr. Doeffinger. After much discussion, it was decided for Attorney Stein to research each avenue that Juniper mentioned and give Council an update in August.
Mayor Billings read a proclamation recognizing the Point Pleasant High School Basketball team for the season achievements in becoming the sectional and regional champions and also for being the first team since 1975 to attend the State Tournament. Councilwoman Barbara Brown made a motion to approve and James Bowles added the second motion. Council unanimously passed the proclamation.
Billings also read a proclamation declaring April Fair Housing Month stating equal opportunity in housing is a right guaranteed to all Americans under Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. William Park made a motion to approve the proclamation and Gary Cotton added the second, which passed 10-0.
Mayor Billings asked Council for a motion to continue Mayor’s Night Out, which would be held Friday evenings June 3, 2011 through August 26, 2011. Councilwoman Sang made the first motion while Mr. Cotton added the second. The motion to approve the Mayor’s Night Out passed 9-1 with Juniper casting the no vote.
Billings told Council the Annual Chamber of Commerce Dinner is being held April 26, 2011 at the Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School. William Park made a motion to allow tickets to be purchased for the Mayor and Clerk to attend and Ms. Elaine Hunt added the second. Hunt indicated she felt the City should be in attendance to show support for the Chamber. Juniper stated he opposed supporting the Chamber because they are a lobby group. Ms. Sang stated the West Virginia Municipal League is also a lobby group and the City is a member of the league. Final call to approve the ticket purchase was approved 8-2 with Cotton and Juniper casting no votes.
Mayor Billings asked Council to consider hiring a few seasonal part-time employees to assist with mowing and spring/summer duties for May through August. Ms. Sang made a motion to hire three part-time seasonal employees and Linda Smith added the second motion. The motion passed 10-0.
Mayor Billings asked Council how they wished to proceed after hearing Point Pleasant in Bloom’s proposal concerning the hanging baskets in downtown Point Pleasant. Billings reminded them that the only cost the City would have is for the fertilizer and the man-hours involved. It would take two employees two hours a day, six days a week for 20 weeks to maintain the flower pots. Mr. Doeffinger made a motion for the City to accept PPIB’s donation of $1,000 to help purchase the equipment necessary and for the City to purchase fertilizer and provide man-power to continue the hanging baskets. Councilwoman Sang added the second and the motion passed 10-0.
Billings indicated he would send a letter to thank Bob’s Market for their donations and time.
The Mayor told Council there are a couple trees in Pioneer Cemetery that are dead and need to be removed. The trees have been inspected by the business owner along the cemetery, the City Inspector and the Mayor and these trees are posing a danger and should be removed. Juniper asked for bids to be received to compare prices for the removal.
Mayor Billings said he recently spoke with Jeff Sweeney with Division of National Resources concerning illegal dumping at Krodel Park. According to Billings, people are disposing of various items on the old dump site at Krodel. The Mayor stated that the Environmental Protection Agency will be in the area in May to clean-up the dump site at Krodel Park. Billings also said that Mr. Sweeney indicated that within a year, the City is going to have to find somewhere else to dispose of brush and yard debris. He asked Council to consider other avenues and offer opinions or ideas to allow the City to offer this service to residents.
Mr. Billings then asked for Dave Snowden, outside Accountant to speak concerning a water rate increase. Mr. Snowden recommended holding a finance meeting to further discuss the rate increase and where the City would stand once the City municipal bond is paid off in the fall of 2012. Councilman Doeffinger indicated he needs to hold a sewer committee meeting and perhaps the finance meeting could be held the same evening. A meeting was set for April 28, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
Mayor Billings concluded with telling Council he was contacted by Phyllis Ashley of New Haven who told him that the Town of New Haven is asking for funds from the County Commission to assist in swimming pool costs. She told the Mayor that the Commission has agreed to donate $5,000 to the New Haven City pool. Mayor Billings wrote a letter to the Commission and asked for a donation to be made for Harmon Pool. The Commission agreed to give $5,000 which will cover the cost of a new pump.
Gary Cotton stated the City is spending over $9,000 in wages to assist with the Krodel Light Show. He also stated this does not include what the City is paying for the electric bill associated with the light show each year. He stated the Day Report Center and Women’s Prison should be able to assist with the show to cut City costs. Cotton concluded with asking that a new ceiling fan be installed in the Council Chambers.
Robert Doeffinger stated PPIB contacted him asking for some of the trees that were topped in downtown Point Pleasant to be removed. He thought Gunn Park would be a good place to start. He would like for the City to contact the arborist and remove a few trees and consider replacing them.
Leota Sang asked for the City Inspector report to be more detailed when giving addresses. She would also like for the report to include when a citation was issued and a follow-up report. Numerous residences in her ward have been cited, but no improvements have been made. She understands that most of them are likely renters, and owners of the property should be held accountable too. Mayor Billings agreed and hopes to have the area cleaned up soon. Ms. Sang reminded Council a Neighborhood Watch meeting is being held April 12th at 6:15 p.m. at Bellmeade Church.
Elaine Hunt stated that she received the water reports but it was dated August 2010. She also said that the monthly water report indicates they have our water tested twice a month and she would like to know what all they test for in that report. Hunt concluded by asking the Mayor to contact Bonnie Fruth pertaining to property she owns on Neal Road near Krodel. Apparently a tile drain was removed by the City that is believed to be on Fruth’s property and owned by Fruth. Mayor Billings indicated he was aware of the situation and research is being conducted and if an error was made the City will address it.
Linda Smith asked if the City Inspector is inspecting all City neighborhoods on a weekly basis and writing citations on all ordinance violations. Billings indicted he is advised that the inspections are taking place. Smith told Council the bathrooms at Krodel Campground have been refurbished and they came in $100 under budget. It was also discussed that in May, Council needs to further discuss electric meters for the permanent campers at the Campground or consider a rate increase for rent.
Sam Juniper said he was contacted by a City employee concerning an increase in their insurance premiums. Shannon Pearson, in human resources and accounting department, told Juniper that the increase will be the employee’s responsibility, however if their physician completes a wellness form or they attend the screening scheduled at the City building in June they can receive a discount.
Juniper asked the Mayor if he knew who owns the Kincaid home and he was told the City owns the property. Juniper asked for the Clerk to research an ordinance that pertains to Council’s wages. He stated that the last ordinance he located states Council receives $300 and they are currently collecting $660.
** At 9:28 p.m. Sam Juniper made a motion to go into executive session to discuss personnel issues. Gary Cotton added the second motion, which passed.
** At 9:36 p.m. James Bowles made a motion to come out of executive session and Barbara Brown added the second, and the motion passed
Being no other business, Councilman Cotton made a motion to recess the meeting until April 19, 2011. Sam Juniper added the second and the motion carried.
Amber D. Tatterson, City Clerk
Brian L. Billings, Mayor