At Paden City Council's July 1 meeting, three councilmen and the recorder were sworn in as a result of the June elections. Jim Richmond will represent the First Ward; John Staggers, Second Ward; and Dan Probst, Third Ward. Incumbent Tami Billiter will also continue to serve as city recorder.
Under citizens' concerns, a woman stated that she felt the police department would benefit from having a new police canine and a man mentioned a worsening rat problem at the lower end of town in the First Ward. Several in attendance mentioned issues created by high grass and lack of general upkeep; the council voted in favor of sending letters from the city to owners of unkempt properties, requesting better maintenance of their grounds.
Donna Edgell attended the meeting to discuss the city-owned culvert running through her property. According to her, the culvert is not large enough to hold all of the water flowing into it and she is concerned that erosion following hard rains will eventually damage or destroy the foundation of her home.
Paden City Council
"As of today, there's only six feet between my house and a bank that is slipping," she said, also expressing concern for other homes along her street.
Following her statement, Mayor John Hopkins informed her that they are waiting to receive a $1,000 grant. Upon seeing what actions they can take to keep the bank from further eroding, they will attempt to apply those funds as needed.
Before continuing with the agenda, Mayor Hopkins highlighted several accomplishments achieved during the past year.
"When I came into office last year, I had some goals I wanted to try to accomplish in the city," he said. "One of those was to do something about the drugs. We were able to get a neighborhood watch group organized and I think it has made a difference."
Among other successes he listed were the re-codifying of ordinance books, grants for the new boat dock, a stable police department with raised salaries in order to maintain the employment of officers, the paving of streets, and a possible grant for lights and benches in the park. He went on to note that the city was able to accomplish all of these things within its budgetary means. He then addressed the Third Avenue house fire, which occurred on the evening of June 21 and badly injured resident Tanya Smith. The fire was confirmed to be the result of arson and the investigation is in the hands of the West Virginia State Fire Marshal.
"People don't think of the amount of people they'll affect when they do these things," said Mayor Hopkins.
Under park and pool, Councilman Tom Trader stated that he had received a $50 donation from Witschey's in New Martinsville to sponsor musical duo The Gatlins, who are performing in Paden City Park on July 25. He said that he submitted the money to the recorder and would have more funds coming.
Councilman Dan Probst stated that a bid of $3,590 was accepted for the old boat dock. He said that the pool is busy and doing well, but they will need to look into future renovations. Another matter he addressed was a need for reliable groundskeeping services, such as mowing and weedeating, which was recently performed by prisoners from the St. Marys Correctional Facility.
Police Chief Mike Kelly reported that the department received one new radio for their 2007 vehicle and are still in need of one for their Durango. He stated that two patrolmen will be attending West Virginia Police Academy from July to November.
As for a potential part-time police matron, which has been advertised, they have yet to receive applications for the position.
The Paden City Fire Department responded to three calls: one structure fire, one service call, and one transformer fire.
In other news, the council approved to send one of their two Class II Water Operators to the West Virginia Rural Water Association Business Meeting on Sept. 9; Mayor Hopkins stated that they are still monitoring water flow in the sewers following hard rains; and a Third Ward alley graded to prevent water from running into the foundation of a newly built garage is reportedly holding.
Council approved minutes of the June 3 regular meeting and the June 11 and June 14 special meetings. They also approved the paying of bills, an in-house budget revision, and the rehiring of city employees.