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Sprouse tops meeting agenda

By Staff | Mar 4, 2009

Committees and delegations within Paden City’s government are up in arms regarding the condition of property at the city’s industrial park leased by Jeff Sprouse.

At a special meeting of the Paden City Development Authority on Monday evening, the organization’s legal counsel, Timothy Haught, read correspondence from Sprouse’s attorney calling for immediate repairs to the property.

“Mr. Sprouse is complaining about environmental issues that were brought up in the stage one environmental assessment that he did. He alleges that they pose dangers to his employees,” explained Haught. “He wants to know the status of the mediation and says the process is taking too long.”

“There is nothing there. To my knowledge no testing was done when he did his stage one assessment. There is nothing there other than what the DEP has said was there,” Haught continued. “And (Sprouse) has been there since the 90’s.” Haught will be contacting the Department of Environmental Protection to determine if anything has been found at the site.

Haught also relayed Sprouse’s discontent with the condition of the premises and continuing leaks in the roof. The leasee’s discontent may lead to a vacancy in the building if the situation is not resolved. “Sprouse would already be gone if he could find a place; he can’t find one for the price he’s paying here,” Haught commented.

Haught informed the PCDA that under the terms of their lease with Sprouse, they are responsible for fixing the roof.

Mayor Bill Fox said, “We are responsible for fixing the roof no matter who is in the building. We can go back and look and we have had the same problems for years. The guy is in operation and he has to shut down his operation because of a safety issue. He continues to ask the authority what we are going to do about it and we haven’t done anything.”

Though the authority did not come up with a clear resolution to the issues during their meeting, the board did agree there was not a clear line of communication between the PCDA and Sprouse.

Clyde Hochstrasser and Matt Ferrebee were appointed to a negotiation committee by the PCDA to meet with Sprouse regarding the lease and the conditions of the building, however, according to the men, Sprouse was not interested in speaking to them.

“I personally went to Jeff’s house. He doesn’t want to talk,” remarked Hochstrasser.

Fox volunteered to personally discuss the issues with Sprouse.

After the PCDA meeting, Fox, Hochstrasser and Eileen Smittle joined their comrades for the regular meeting of the Paden City Council.

First on their agenda was to rescind a motion made in the Feb. 2 meeting to change the reimbursement of training costs for law enforcement officers to two years. According to West Virginia State Code under section 30-29-8, it is unlawful to require officers to reimburse them for training costs if the employee has been with the city’s department for more than one year.

Raymond “B.B.” Smith and Jack Berry from the State Auitor’s office then introduced the council to a new purchasing card program now being offered to municipalities and small government entities.

“West Virginia has the largest purchasing program for state agencies in the country. We are nationally and internationally known for having the best programs out there. VISA recognizes us as their premier government program,” Berry explained.

The duo told the council the Web-based program can be used for paying bills, worker’s compensation premiums or vendors; he also informed them the program was offered at no cost to them through a partnership with United Bank. The purchasing card is not a credit card, but another form of electronic payment using a line of credit extended through the auditor’s office.

Councilman Roger Spragg interjected, “In this country we are in trouble for spending someone else’s money. With the current system we spend what we have and nothing more.”

Recorder Ginger Wilcox questioned, “Have any small municipalities signed up for this program?”

Berry answered, “We have over 60 different entities on the program – school boards, county commissions and municipalities.”

When it was found that the sewer line under city hall was damaged and needed repaired, the council made a motion to charge a portion of the repair cost to the Paden City Fire Department. Since then, it was determined that the line is not shared with the department. Therefore they should not have to pay $1,000 toward the repairs. The council rescinded the motion and made a new motion that the extra money come from the city hall maintenance and repair budget.

It was brought to the council’s attention that the balance of the street paving account is $43,116.87 and Fox called for the committee to look at what streets need to be paved in the city.

Councilman Gerald Bailey suggested, “Instead of using the money to pave one street, perhaps we should patch the streets as best we can.”

Council agreed with the motion and voted to do as he suggested.

In other news, the Paden City Park and Pool Commission took action to have the old slides removed from the playground area of the park. These slides are out-of-date and dangerous for the children to play on. At the same time, the park commissioners took action to order a new piece of playground equipment valued at $15,000.

Donations have been received from: WesBanco Bank, Bayer Corporation, Bayer Heritage Credit Union, PPG Industries, Paden City Development Authority, Witschey’s, Wissmach Glass, Domino’s Beverly Sprouse, Leo and Judy Ferrebee, and Days Later. They also received a grant in the amount of $1,100 from the Little Kanawha Resource Conservation and Development.

The Paden City pool is scheduled to officially open on May 30. They will have a free swim day on May 23 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Early Bird passes will be on sale at the city building beginning April 1 thru May 29. Cost of the Early Bird passes are: Family $65; Adult $35; Student $30. After May 29 the prices will go up to Family $75; Adult $45; and Student $35. The daily admission fee will be $2 for adults and students. It is of your best interest to purchase an Early Bird pool pass.

Paden City elections will take place June 4. The hopefuls who have filed for office are as follows: Incumbent Wilcox for Recorder, and Incumbent Cherita Daugherty for Second Ward City Council.

The last day to file for office is April 3 at 4 p.m. in the Recorder’s Office of the City Building. If you are not registered to vote, the last day to register to vote in this election is May 15. Go to the courthouse in the county in which you live to register.

Absentee voting by mail begins March 12 and will end May 29 in order that the application be completed and returned and the ballot be mailed and returned by election day. Absentee voting in person will begin May 15 and end June 1.

First Ward will vote at the cafeteria at the old middle school. Second Ward will vote at the city building council chambers. Third Ward will vote at the Wetzel County Grade School.

Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.