The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian L. Billings who led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ernie Watterson, Point Pleasant Police Chief- informed Council the City has an opportunity to seek a grant for the hiring of a new officer. Watterson stated that the United States Department of Justice has a 2011 Cops Hiring Program that would pay 100% of salary and benefits for three years for a new police officer. After three years the municipality would be required to maintain the officer for one year and take over all costs. Watterson told Council the deadline for the grant is May 25, 2011 and it would be necessary to hire Sharon Pope to assist with the grant process. Her fee would be 6% of the total for the grant received, which would be approximately $2,300 a year for the three year grant term. Councilman Doeffinger asked what further obligations the City would have after the three years. Watterson stated the fee of $2,300 would be paid for three years to Sharon Pope for maintaining the grant then the City would be obligated to pay salary and benefits for one year. If for some reason the grant is not received, there would not be any cost to the City. Doeffinger asked if retirement would have to be paid to the employee and he was told it would be necessary to put them in some form of retirement. Mayor Billings advised this is an emergency item due to the deadline for the grant and asked for a special meeting to be held May 12, 2011 at 9 a.m. and that it was necessary for five council members to be present.
Marshall Bonecutter made a motion to approve the minutes of the special council meeting for March 21, 2011 and a second was given by James Bowles. Motion to approve the special minutes passed 10-0. A motion was made by William Park to approve the minutes of the regular council meeting held April 11, 2011 and a second was made by Councilman Bonecutter, which passed 10-0. Mr. Bonecutter made a motion to approve the minutes of the special council meeting for April 19, 2011. Councilman Gary Cotton added the second motion and the motion passed unanimously. A motion made by Councilwoman Linda Smith was seconded by Mr. Park to approve the financial statements of the General, Coal Severance, Water and Sewer Funds for the month of April 2011. Councilwoman Leota Sang commented she would like to see uncollected water and sewer accounts on the monthly financials. Ms. Linda Smith made a motion to approve the outstanding obligations for the month of April 2011, and Mr. Park seconded and the motion passed 9-0-1, with Sang abstaining.
City Attorney R.F. Stein updated Council on the current status of the Corps of Engineers floodwall project. Stein stated that the permit from the Department of Highways allowing access to the property located at the old 6th Street bridge approach has been received, signed and mailed. Stein told Council he is researching the process to purchase this property. He also advised he is trying to acquire rights of access for properties located upstream so the Corps can proceed.
Attorney Stein reminded Council they approved the first reading for the abandonment of Court Street in the April meeting. This was with the understanding that an agreement would be signed by all parties involved. Stein advised that an agreement has been drafted and was enclosed for Council’s review, however, he would not ask for a second reading until a draft was signed and received from the Church and business owners.
Attorney Stein gave an update pertaining to the Franklin property. Stein advised he received written discovery from Attorney Dallas Kayser who represents the Franklins. He passed this discovery onto the City Inspector for his review and he recommended Stein to listen to the taped minutes from the Dec 2006 meeting that pertained to the Franklin property. Upon review, Stein stated a motion made on the tape implies the City accepted the Franklin Property. The motion states to have the property appraised, proceed with the acceptance and record the deed. The deed was drafted, signed and recorded. Councilman Juniper advised that the official minutes do not state the acceptance of this property. The official minute’s state the motion was made to set aside $500 for an appraisal of the property and the motion passed. Council took the opportunity to listen to the December 2006 tape and after further discussion a motion was made by Linda Smith to dismiss the suit filed and accept ownership of this property. William Park added the second and the motion passed 8-2 with Sam Juniper and Marshall Bonecutter opposing.
Stein asked for Council’s final decision pertaining to the closure of the 14th Street railroad crossing. Council approved the 1st reading for the closure in the March meeting. The public hearing and final reading was held during the April meeting. A motion was then made to table the issue for further discussion during the May meeting. Councilman Bowles stated he was still in favor of the closure since it is a dangerous crossing. Mr. Bowles made a motion to proceed with the closure of the 14th Street railroad crossing as previously voted in the March and April meetings. Councilman Bonecutter added the second motion which passed 7-3 with Elaine Hunt, Gary Cotton, and Robert Doeffinger opposing.
Attorney Stein concluded with discussing the public notice procedure. Stein advised that Councilman Juniper expressed concerns that some legal notices were not meeting state code. Stein stated he and City Clerk Amber Tatterson met and discussed the state code and he stands by his original statement that all requirements were being met, but in good public faith more information could be provided for the public.
Councilman Doeffinger asked Attorney Stein for an update on the Yeager property and was told that paperwork was being signed by the City Inspector to move forward with the case and he would update Council when further information was available.
City Clerk Amber Tatterson informed Council she received the Mountaineer computer maintenance and support agreement renewal. The current contract expires June 30, 2011 and must be paid prior to July 1, 2011. The contract is for $6,175 annually, however if paid prior to May 31, 2011 a discount of 4% can be given. The fee is the same as it has been for the past several years. If the contract is not renewed any assistance needed will be on an hourly rate of $265 per hour and additional fees can also be charged. Councilman Cotton made a motion to renew the contract and Ms. Smith added the second motion which passed 10-0.
Clerk Tatterson read a resolution to accept a contract with the WV Development Office Community Participation grant program that provides $15,000 for the Riverfront Mural and Visitor Transport project and $10,000 for the placement of the “Mad” Anne Bailey monument. Councilwoman Sang made a motion to accept the resolution and Mr. Bonecutter added the second motion, and the motion carried.
Clerk Tatterson asked Council if they had any further thoughts pertaining to City Employee uniforms. She told Council that employees want to proceed with the purchase of t-shirts and City Identification cards. A motion was made by Leota Sang to proceed with employee identification cards and pocket t-shirts in 3 bright colors for each department. Ms. Smith added the second motion which passed unanimously.
Council received an update on the proposed Skateboard Park. Tatterson informed Council that Denny Bellamy is still negotiating with the City of Milton concerning their new ARC skateboard equipment. At this time no decisions have been made and they have indicated they are working on their election and won’t make a decision until the election is over.
Mayor Brian Billings updated Council concerning Harmon Pool. Billings stated the 2011 repairs and updates to the pool are being completed and opening day is slated for May 28, 2011. He also indicated the donation received from the County Commission was enough to repair the pump and take care of a few other small repairs.
Mayor Billings discussed letters enclosed in packets pertaining to the Lakin joint sewer project and the WV Infrastructure and Development Council. He said that the prior month WVIJDC contacted the City wanting to revisit the Lakin joint sewer project. Billings asked Council how they wished to proceed concerning the project and if they wished to hold a meeting with the WVIJDC. Councilman Juniper made a motion for a letter to be sent advising that the City is not interested in the Lakin joint sewer project. Mr. William Park added the second motion which passed 10-0.
Mayor Billings spoke concerning an amendment for Appendix B to the agreement between the City of Point Pleasant and Burgess and Niple, Inc. for professional engineering services. Councilman Doeffinger and Juniper advised that the amendments were minor and Doeffinger made a motion to accept the amendments to Appendix B and allow the Mayor to sign the agreement. Mr. Juniper added the second motion, and the motion carried.
The Mayor told Council that a new CDL driver was hired for the Street department and will be paid minimum wage for the probation period of six months and then Council will need to consider a set wage for that employee.
Mayor Billings then asked Council to discuss personnel matters later and took the opportunity to discuss a handout provided by Willie Call, street commissioner, which pertained to various issues. Mr. Call estimated that the cost for watering the hanging flower baskets along Main Street will be approximately $8,000. Mr. Call provided information pertaining to the donated electrical box for the Riverfront Park small boat hook up. Mr. Call advised it would cost at minimum $12,782 just for installation of this box. He feels this unit creates a high risk to the City since major live power supply is available to vandals and kids. It was decided to thank Mr. McCausland for wanting to donate the electric box but the City is unable to make the installation due to the cost and upkeep. Mr. Call also provided an estimate of $33,637 for the installation of permanent campground electrical meters at Krodel campground. Council decided it would be better to raise the rental rates rather than proceed with the installations. The rates will be discussed in the June meeting to be effective July 1, 2011. Mr. Call’s list concluded with advising Council of four areas that need sidewalk repairs and a map of those areas were provided. Mr. Doeffinger stated he thought the City has an ordinance that states the owner is responsible for purchase of materials and the City can provide the labor. Councilwoman Sang advised that Gallipolis City residents are responsible for sidewalks in front of their residences and are told when repairs are necessary and how long they have to make repairs. Sang advised the ordinance needs to be looked at prior to repairs.
** At 8:34 p.m. Linda Smith made a motion to go into executive session to discuss personnel issues. James Bowles added the second motion, which passed.
** At 8:45 p.m. James Bowles made a motion to come out of executive session and Linda Smith added the second, and the motion passed 10-0.
Mayor Billings advised Council that a Sewer Committee Meeting and Finance Committee Meeting was held April 28, 2011 and he asked for Councilman Doeffinger to speak. Mr. Doeffinger advised a map for the final drainage plan has been printed and a schedule update will be given. Kathy Elliott was also present at that meeting and advised she would be assisting the City through the rest of the project pertaining to obtaining construction services, bond council, and an accountant.
Councilman Juniper told the Mayor he researched the wetland property along Kanawha Street and it is owned by AEP and the railroad.
The finance meeting was held to discuss the water rate increase. Accountant Dave Snowden provided figures for a 30%, 35%, and 40% increase. The current water rates are too low and the general fund is subsidizing the water fund. An increase will allow the water fund to recover and once the water bond is paid off in 2012 the fund may recover enough to reimburse the general fund and put money aside for necessary repairs and upgrades. Councilman Juniper stated that according to information provided by Mr. Snowden, the Attorney General states a municipality may not loan monies to its utility systems no matter what the source of funds, however, the municipality may make nonbinding grants to a municipal utility to fund plant expansion or to pay for unforeseen repair costs and those grants may include revenue sharing funds received by the municipality. It also states that a municipality may not subsidize the operation of its utilities with federal revenue sharing funds or any other funds to those levels prescribed by law. After much discussion Council decided to consider the rate increase in the June meeting and research what is acceptable for repayment to the General Fund.
James Bowles wanted to applaud Point Pleasant Police Department for their involvement in the meth lab bust that took place on Viand Street. He advised that home has always been a nuisance. Mayor Billings advised it was one of the City officers that made the discovery to this meth lab and he applauded his work.
Gary Cotton asked if monies seized from drug busts are put in a fund for the City. Attorney Stein advised that the Prosecuting Attorney has to file a case to forfeiture the money.
Marshall Bonecutter asked if Burdette Addition residents are required to obtain permits from the City and he was told it is outside City limits.
Robert Doeffinger would like to consider annexation up to the Lewis Farm property and beyond the Point Pleasant High School. Mayor Billings took the opportunity to tell Council that Mason County Schools are taking bids for trash pickup at PPJSHS and Mason County Career Center. Billings also stated he would address annexation in the June meeting.
Leota Sang asked for an update on the City Inspectors report concerning Municipal Court on three property owners. Mayor Billings advised court was held and the owners were giving guidelines with a timeline that must be completed or fines will be imposed.
William Park asked for an update on the old High School property on Jackson Avenue. Attorney Stein advised the property sold November 2010 to the Eastman family.
Elaine Hunt asked why dirt is being piled at the rear of Lone Oak Cemetery and was told that it is from burial sites and it is to remain on the premises.
Linda Smith told Council that Derrick Taylor, campground manager, is doing a great job. He has asked for more speed limit signs to be posted, as well as, signs against the feeding of water fowl. Taylor has asked for signs to be posted at shelters and clubhouse to make visitors aware that the shelters are reserved and rentable units only.
Sam Juniper asked Clerk Tatterson if she has researched 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. Tatterson advised she has been researching records. Juniper recommended checking election dates for that information. Mr. Juniper asked for the Mayor to see who is responsible for the removal of a tree that fell across from the PPJSHS. Juniper asked for June’s agenda to address the possible action to sell the Franklin property at a public auction.
Barbara Brown told the Mayor small motorized vehicles are traveling too fast on Warwick Road and English Court.
Being no other business, Councilman Bonecutter made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:34 p.m. Linda Smith added the second and the motion carried.
Amber D. Tatterson, City Clerk
Brian L. Billings, Mayor