POINT PLEASANT — The City of Point Pleasant tabled its third and final reading on sewer rate increases during its regular, monthly meeting Monday night.
Mayor Brian Billings asked council to consider tabling the third reading on sewer rate increases to allow accountants to consider a lower consumption usage rate and lower minimum charge. Council unanimously agreed, passing the motion to allow more information to be gathered about existing customers and their usage. Prior to the meeting, a hearing on the sewer rate increases was held.
In other business:
Councilman Sam Juniper pointed out even though the residents voted on a charter change to align city elections with the county elections, no one had ever bothered to change the city ordinances - ordinances which are now out of date and call for political conventions later in the year rather than this month.
Juniper also asked if there was an agreement with the Mason County Commission concerning the election costs to the city of Point Pleasant. City Clerk Amber Tatterson said there was not an agreement at this time but the city should know a cost once the Mason County Clerk has more information, namely information regarding candidates on the ballot and the number of poll workers needed, etc. Neither the city Democrats or Republicans have any candidates at this point to report to the county clerk, though the Republicans have their convention set for this Friday. Juniper maintained the ordinance needed to be changed, particularly to reflect the new time frame for candidate nominations.
Billings said he and Tatterson recently met with a representative from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office. Billings and he and Tatterson asked for help with many different projects, including paving. Billings said he expressed the city’s desire to get W.Va. 62 though Point Pleasant paved. There is a misconception this is the city’s responsibility but it is a state highway and belongs to the W.Va. Division of Highways. The governor’s representative said he would send a letter to DOH requesting someone look at that project and possibly visit the city in March to make a determination about possible paving.
Juniper objected to paying the Mason County Chamber of Commerce’s annual membership fee of $200, as well as a bill for $24 for a chamber luncheon. Juniper called the Chamber a political lobbying group and therefore felt it wasn’t an eligible expense.
City Attorney RF Stein updated council on the civil case regarding the old Franklin Building. The owner of the neighboring building (Wallpaper Outlet) is suing the city concerning the condition of the Franklin Building. Stein said the owner of Wallpaper Outlet has had health problems and has asked for, and been granted, some extensions regarding filings in the case. The city’s insurance company is providing attorneys to defend the city in the matter though Stein said he remains in contact with the insurance company.
Stein also said he has a rough draft of a deed to the Yeager property on Main Street which he may submit to the owner to possibly deed over the property to the city. The city has been attempting to get permission to demolish the home sitting on the property.
Stein bid on obtaining the property easements for the North Point Pleasant Drainage Project for an estimated $8,000 to $10,000, not to exceed $12,000 - this bid was unanimously accepted. Though the city had attempted to find someone to gather these easements, they had no luck and asked Stein if he could assist.
Council voted all new hires into the police department will fall under the Municipal Police Officers and Firefighters Retirement System. The employee contributes 8.5 percent as does the city though over time this can be increased to a maximum of 10.5 percent.
Council agreed to replace the city’s computer server with Mountaineer Computers out of Lewisburg though Councilman Juniper didn’t vote for it, saying he was concerned the contract was ambiguous about how much it would actually end up costing. The cost was estimated at $2,695 though could be more depending on the amount of time required for replacement. Billings said he would bring the issue back to council if Mountaineer Computers’ repair time was going to run over an acceptable limit of time and cost.
Juniper proposed the first reading on a hiring ordinance which would require all new hires by the city of Point Pleasant live in the city or promise to relocated into the city within a certain time frame. This ordinance is similar to an existing one in Huntington. Juniper’s motion died for lack of a second.
Council awarded the Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta’s fireworks contract to Dominion Fireworks for $7,000. Though it is a different company than last year, some of the personnel is the same and so is the price.
Councilwoman Linda Smith complained about the stray cat problem on Mossman Circle. Billings said he would check with the local animal shelter to see if they would accept strays if the city humanely trapped the cats.
Council approved repairs on the Youth Center, including painting the inside. It’s estimated the Youth Center repairs, which include not only painting but new stools and countertops, could be around $4,000.The city will provide the labor.
Councilwoman Leota Sang asked the public parks ordinance be put on the agenda for next month.
Council members in attendance at this week’s meeting were Juniper, Smith, Elaine Hunt, Gary Cotton, William Park, Sang, Robert Doeffinger, Marshall Bonecutter, James Bowles.