Meeting scheduled on drainage project

Jim FreemanIn The Open

August 17, 2012

POINT PLEASANT — The City of Point Pleasant has scheduled a public meeting, complete with question and answer period, about the North Point Pleasant Drainage Project and the right-of-ways needed to complete it.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 21 at the Point Pleasant Municipal Building.

The need for the meeting came up at this week’s Point Pleasant City Council meeting with City Attorney RF Stein telling council he’d received around 50 percent of right-of-ways but the project needs 80 percent to proceed by law. Stein said he’s sent letters out to residents yet to sign the right-of-way agreements, asking them attend. The project’s engineers will be at the meeting to discuss it and new members of Point Pleasant City Council are urged to attend to be brought up to speed about the issue.

Also at the meeting was the ghost of the previous sewer rate increase which spent months being passed back and forth at the council table. Before members of the previous council left office, the sewer raise was finally voted in earlier this summer. However, due to a discrepancy related to timing and filing issues in regards to the ordinance, the process has to start all over - at least the process of voting on the ordinance three times before it’s enacted.

So, members of the current council voted to pass the first reading of the unchanged ordinance this week - the terms, rates and language remain the same as when they were voted upon by the last council. The discrepancies in timing and filing deadlines were brought up by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia and a new vote was suggested to comply with all guidelines. An outside agency was hired to take care of these filings but apparently there was a breakdown in communication along the way which required the “do over.”

Once again the topic of groups soliciting for money outside the municipal building while standing in the middle of W.Va. 62 was addressed though no decision was made. Stein will likely draft an ordinance dealing with the issue and council will vote upon whether to allow or not allow it. The issue has come up due to concerns over liability for the city as well as frequent calls to complain about the solicitations being too frequent.

A committee of council members will be formed to look at various sections of the city charter which need to be updated and amended. Some of the charter has not been updated and amended for literally decades.

City Clerk Amber Tatterson reported she has attended a meeting with staff for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in regards to applying for financial assistance for municipal losses during the storm system in June. Tatterson said she would be filing to get the city reimbursed for overtime paid to employees for collecting debris, for extra fuel used in equipment and extra dumps at the landfill, etc.

The first reading of an ordinance to install a stop sign at Jefferson and 23rd St. passed. Two more readings are required to pass this ordinance.

A first reading passed to update the city’s ordinance book with ordinances enacted between 2009-12 to be added to the book.

Buster Riffle was unanimously appointed to the planning commission.

Council gave Mayor Brian Billings approval to look for a replacement to fill the vacant seat for a municipal judge. Billings hopes to fill it with a local attorney with council’s approval.

Council approved buying a new police cruiser at state bid price by lease or loan agreement.

Mason County Commissioner Rick Handley presented council with a check from the county commission for $500 to be used on equipment upgrades at Krodel Park’s playground area.

Resident Audrey Clendenin told council she had reserved the center gazebo at Krodel Park recently for a family function but when she arrived, it was double booked with another event. She was moved to an adjacent shelter and Campground Manager Derrick Taylor loaded her canopies to provide more shade. Clendenin asked for her $50 rental deposit back and voiced concerns about how the city books the shelters at the park. It was noted the double booking was an honest mistake and Clendenin received an apology. Taylor said Clendenin’s check had not been cashed yet and he could just tear it up.

Also, representatives from Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action (KISRA) spoke to council about getting a letter of support for their organization which they said attempts to buy land and build affordable housing in communities. The representatives said KISRA has active home building programs in Putnam, Kanawha, Lincoln and Boone Counties.

According to KISRA, it’s certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing counseling services. KISRA is also designated as a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) through the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development (MOECD) and a correspondent lender with the W.Va. Housing Development Fund.

Council tabled voting on KISRA’s request or a letter of support until its next meeting which will be a special meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 21 at the city building.

The information provided for this article is based on the unapproved minutes from the meeting which are subject to change or correction.