New store still council priority
Before discussing the status of a new ‘dollar’ store in town, the Sistersville City Council observed a moment of silence for Allan Maxwell.
Maxwell, who passed away on March 7, served the city as chairman of the water board. He was responsible for overseeing the water tank project which was recently completed.
“I received a call from Dan Marshall from Family Dollar,” remarked Mayor Dave Fox. “We discussed this in depth and we have a meeting this Wednesday.”
Speaking directly to the councilmen, Fox said, “I would prefer you guys be there.”
Councilman Bill Rice, who is running against the incumbent mayor in the March 22 election, asked, “Why are the the meetings always during the day?”
Fox replied, “That’s when they want it, and that’s when your engineers can come from Charleston. Most of these people work during the day.”
Councilman Curtis Heintzman asked, “What’s the reason for the meeting?”
“It’s to discuss whether or not they are going to build here,” Fox replied. “I have a letter that was sent to them on Dec. 27 from the engineers, asking them for some additional information. I faxed a copy to him today, we will discuss these issued during the meeting, as well.”
“So, again, we have a meeting on Wednesday,” Fox said.
“Wonderful,” Rice remarked.
The councilmen entertained and approved the second reading of an ordinance to increase the municipal rates for garbage pick-up in the city. A public hearing will be scheduled in the future to give the residents the opportunity to air their grievances in regard to the increase before the new rates go into effect.
Mayor Fox read the list of new appointments to the Ferry Board. Charles Winslow, Terry Wiley and Phil Konopacky were subsequently approved by the council. Their terms of service will be determined at a later date.
Tommy Gray, president of the Sistersville Planning Committee, appeared before the council to ask for their support for the creation of the position of a full-time Parks & Recreation Commissioner to serve the city. “The committee has agreed to work with the city to create a position in parks and recreation,” he explained. “This person will ease the heavy burden on the office staff by overseeing the Willison Family Center, the pool, the lifeguards, shelter rental, the boat docks, Relay For Life and all festivals in the city limits.”
The Planning Committee is assume a portion of the first year’s salary for the new position, with the remainder being paid by the City of Sistersville.
“I’d like to thank Vance Ash for working with the Planning Committee in the development of this new position,” Gray said.
Fox said, “I am hoping this position will pay for itself by generating more revenue for the city.”
In other business, Gray outlined the new guidelines set forth by his committee under urban renewal. “We met with Building Inspector Dave White, and he has given us a light at the end of a long tunnel. We are now gaining on this project.”
Gray noted he would be meeting with City Attorney Dean Rohrig to go over the process and discuss the implementation of the new procedure.
He referred to a project used by other municipalities. “It’s called the ‘red X’ project, and it’s very strict and we must follow it precisely. There’s a very fine line when you are dealing with someone’s personal property,” Gray stated.
“One thing I like about this project is that you put it the newspaper and shine a light on these properties,” Gray said. “My ideas was to take a photo of the ferry – it’s something that is beautifying this town – and compare it to your neighbor’s property.”
Gray urged residents to take the initiative to speak with their neighbors about the condition of abandoned or deteriorated properties. “You’re a resident in this city. If it bothers you, knock on their door and tell them about it. You can let them know there is a program getting ready to start, and as a friend, inform them about your issues before it is brought up as part of this program. Trust me, you don’t want to be on this list.”
Gray updated the council on the the projects the Planning Committee is working on this Spring. He prefaced this by saying ‘the committee is working with the city on projects. “United we stand, divided we fall,” he said.
He held up a flyer from Aquatic Access. “If this wasn’t taken care of, we wouldn’t be opening the pool this year,” Gray said. “Vance got in touch with me and told me we had a red flag. He said that if we didn’t incorporate handicap access into our public pool, we were done.”
Gray continued, “Vance Ash, Diana Rice and Sen. Jeff Kessler were able to get an $8,000 handicap lift installed in the pool.”
“Gasoline is $3.95 per gallon now, and it’s going to peak at $5 per gallon this year. It you don’t have a public pool, you are sinking your own ship. People are going to stay in their own communities. So, I’d like to thank Vance, Diana and Sen. Kessler for putting in a lift in our pool. Now anybody can enjoy our pool.”
“This stuff doesn’t just happen,” Gray said.
“We are also proud of the new shelter that has been built in the baby pool area,” he said. “Thanks to Russell Weekley and the city workers for that.
“You can physically see change. What people don’t realize is that this is money that come back. Murals are great, but this gives you revenue,” Gray concluded.
A special meeting has been called for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20 at 7 p.m. to discuss the 2012-2013 Budget and employment requirements for the Sistersville Ferry.