Allan Wilson of the Water and Sewer Board presented Sistersville Council with a quote from Neptune at their Oct. 15 meeting concerning the possible purchase of water meters and remote meter readers.
"We've had so much trouble with the water meters," he said, explaining that they were old and out of date.
He said Neptune gave him a quote of $198 each and would replace all of the meters in Sistersville. According to Wilson, they only need 900 meters, which would cost about $175,000. He said the handheld reader costs $2,600.
"They put a program in the computer that can read over half of them without sending a person out," he said.
Wilson explained that the company was also willing to give them better deals and work with the city on payments. He described the meters as accurate and stated that many of the town's meters came from Neptune.
"This will save time and money," he said.
He also drew attention to the sewer and suggested the city start a sewer project that should have been done 60 years ago. Although indicating that the water system is still running efficiently, he questioned how long it would be until a new law would put the city out of compliance.
No actions were taken, but Wilson provided city officials with a packet of information, including the quotes from Neptune.
Chief of Police Ben Placer informed council that they could attain $2,500 from the Governor's Community Participation Grant. He indicated recent problems with the current police cruiser radars and said that money could purchase two new radars. He said they will have to match 10 percent, or $250 of $2,500. Council authorized Mayor Ann Doig to sign the application and submit it to the governor.
Chief Placer also updated council on his revisions of the city's employee policy. He said it should be finished and ready for approval by next month's meeting.
Linda Henriksen, president of the no kill animal shelter Olive Branch Animal Rescue and Refuge, Inc., was present with a proposal which she thought would reduce the increase of stray animals.
Henriksen suggested that the city put the financial reimbursements it receives from the county dog tax into the managing of animal population rather than placing it in the general fund. They could accomplish this, she said, by donating that money to the Olive Branch or placing it in an account set up at Union Bank.
Because the Olive Branch does not euthanize animals, the money would be used to spay and neuter the strays brought into the shelter.
Henriksen said that they have altered a lot of cats this year and the Olive Branch cannot afford to keep doing that. Using the funding from the dog tax, she said, they could also alter, vaccinate, and put an ear-notch on the animals released back into the wild.
"You all spent a lot of money to have people come into Sistersville to trap cats," she said. "Those cats weren't altered, they weren't vaccinated, and they came back to town. You can't put cats and dogs into the environment and not expect them to multiply and come back into town again.
"I would like Sistersville to be the example to other municipalities on what we do as a community to help take care of this situation. I think we have a good basis to get this started."
Councilman Mitch Corley questioned if the dog tax would be available for that purpose, saying it is to be used by the county for livestock replacement. Henriksen said that is true, but that purpose never depletes the fund, so some tax is returned to the city.
She cited a financial record attained by Recorder Julie Schleier indicated the animal tax was about $872. At $50 a clip for cats, she said they can alter a lot of cats.
Updates regarding her proposal will be put on the agenda for next month's meeting.
Stan Dennis was present on behalf of Sistersville Junior Athletics (SJA).
"We would like usage of the gym (Jim Willison Family Center) so we could bring basketball back," he said, explaining that he would like to start practices there on Oct. 28.
SJA basketball welcomes the participation of children from kindergarten through sixth grade. According to Dennis, it usually continues through February. He relayed that about 30 kids had signed up so far and offered to work practices and games around other city activities that might take place in the gym.
When the question of who would pay the utilities came up, Dennis cited SJA's nonprofit status and said he would like the city to pay for utilities. He also said that an agreement was made during Dave Fox's term as mayor that they wouldn't be charged as long as it was for the children.
Dennis further stated that SJA would like to help keep the gym clean and operable. Many agreed that problems with water and pipelines in the gym can be resolved much sooner and with far less damage to the center if people are using it, because they will be able to address such issues.
Following council's permission to use the gym, Dennis signed a $300 check as a donation from SJA to the city.
When resident Tom Gray asked if the city had any kind of business tax, Recorder Schleier confirmed that there were no individual business taxes.
"With two new businesses coming into town, they're actually breaking ground," he said, suggesting that a small tax of all businesses can generate funds and offset the cost of paving projects.
"I live on the corner of Walnut and Jackson," he said. "An older woman who lives on Jackson couldn't even get to her steps because of the condition of the street."
"We've talked about it at least three times, trying to figure out the best route," said City Commissioner Daniel Grimes. "I'm probably just going to plow the street, pave it down to dirt, put the gravel back in it, and a thin layer of blacktop because I don't know what else to do with it right now."
Gray asked about recent discussion of paving the park and said he felt that residential streets should be a priority.
He also stated that slum lords in town should fix up their properties.
"If you are a slum lord, and you own a property, and it looks jakey, shame on you," he said. "We've got a beautiful town. I hope we take pride in it."
Resident Audist Pancake said she spoke with Councilman Richard Long last council meeting about forming a new Park and Pool Board.
"I've had quite a few people very concerned and willing to step up," she said. "I'm talking about people who've got a lot of gifts and talents. I believe that's what we need. It would take a lot of pressure off the city guys."
She suggested holding a public meeting for those who are interested.
"Our park is a great asset to this town," she said. "Let's use it and love it. Whenever you guys are ready, I'm ready."
Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council's Tim Meeks presented this month's drawdown for the Hanford City Sewer Project at a total amount of $94,025.27. Council approved the drawdown report. Meeks stated that the project is nearing completion.
In other news, the Lion's Club Annual Halloween Parade will take place on Oct. 31 along Wells Street; line up for children will start at 7 p.m., and the parade will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Minutes of the special meeting on Sept. 20 were approved. City bills were paid.