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ADA cited before council

By Staff | Dec 18, 2013

At the Dec. 9 Sistersville Council meeting, resident Scharlene Koerber addressed City Hall’s non-compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.

“I understand and agree that no historic building should be damaged to comply with the ADA,” said Koerber of City Hall. “But in accordance with ADA regulations, although you do not have to alter the structure of this building, you must still comply by making it accessible to those of us who struggle with mobility issues. You must have a ramp or otherwise accessible entrance for us.

“As a citizen of this town it is my right to have access to my city building. It is not my responsibility to inform you that I would like to attend a council meeting so you can change the meeting location. As elected or appointed officials, it is your responsibility to have an accessible location or to have this building entrance temporarily modified, so if 20 minutes before a meeting is called to order and I decide to attend, I can.

“With all due respect Mayor Doig, I understand your statement at last council (meeting) concerning able-bodied persons helping the disabled. These are good people here. They can and do help, but this is truly a dignity issue. No disabled person wants to need help. We accept assistance as a necessity on a daily basis. All we are asking is the accessibility to our local government office.”

Mayor Doig told Koerber that they are looking into building a ramp for city hall. Discussion of meeting venues has since been placed on the agenda for a special council meeting to be held Thursday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

Mayor Doig announced that an election will be held for different wards at polling places on March 27, 2014, for the purpose of electing the following: mayor, one full two-year term; first ward, one council member for a two-year term and one for a four-year term; second ward, one council member for a four-year term; third ward, one council member for a two-year term and one for a four-year term; fourth ward, one council member for a two-year term and one for a four-year term.

“The opening (for those interested in running) will not be until January for people to start filing,” she said.

Councilman Bill Rice asked for a change to the Nov. 12 meeting minutes. According to him, the minutes say that his motion to move the council meeting to another location was not legitimate because it was not on the agenda.

“I made a phone call to the Municipal League and the lady told me as an administrative body we shouldn’t have to make such a motion,” he said, stating that the minutes should reflect his motion, the second and the votes.

He also said that the city’s form of government was strong council, weak mayor. Mayor Doig said that she will check with the Municipal League regarding the minutes.

Council approved the drawdown report for the nearly complete Hanford City Sewer Project at a total amount of $148,094.70. Hanford City roads damaged during the project are being looked at for possible repairs.

Officer Rob Haught read a resolution for the Sistersville Police Department.

“Previously council had voted to accept an equipment grant for the police department,” he said. “We’ve been awarded that grant.”

Council approved a resolution for the department to receive the check, which will go toward the purchase of radar guns.

Councilman Richard Long reported that the volleyball inserts are now in the old high school gym. He said that the intent is to welcome members of the community to play.

City Commissioner Dan Grimes said he has received a few estimates for repairs to the library roof and would be discussing further possibilities with the library board at their next meeting.

In other public forum matters, resident Bill Howard expressed concern over the cloudiness of Sistersville’s water. Commissioner Grimes explained that cloudiness comes from air in the lines, as well as shifting weather temperatures affecting the chlorine. When Howard suggested that flushing the hydrants would clear it out, Grimes said that they will look into doing that.

Resident Harold Daly asked about having gravel placed in an alley. He also asked how many city vehicles were in operation.

“We don’t have enough,” said Grimes. “We’ve got three in Street Department, one for the sewer plant, one for the water plant, the city commissioner’s truck, and another car.”

He also noted the police cars.

Because Sistersville Public Library has been using their Book Fund to pay for supplies, Library Director Heather Weekley asked if the city would set up a possible store account for their cleaning lady to make purchases. Mayor Doig said they would take it into advisement, discuss it and let her know.

City bills were approved for payment.