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Sistersville Addresses Fire Department Concerns

By Staff | Aug 23, 2017

Sistersville city council members met recently for their monthly meeting where they discussed some concerns with the Fire Department. Fire Chief Jason Wade reported that they ran around 250 phone calls this year, most of which were mutual aid calls to other EMS crews. At their last meeting, there was discussion of building a new storage building. There had been some chatter on the streets that the Fire Department planned on closing and so Wade stated, “at no time has any member of the board mentioned the possibility of closing this department; any statement made about any reduction of services is a falsehood.” Wade continued, “I don’t know where these accusations are coming from?”

Mayor Rice explained that he had heard concerns from citizens about the way things were being handled. Wade emphasized again that the department is not closing. Mayor Rice also commented that his “biggest concern was the way they they told him about the Ambulance Service.” Rice continued, “You told me point blank that you guys needed an ambulance for when Sistersville General was out… the first thing you started doing was taking transfers to Morgantown and other hospitals…you said one thing and did another.” Mayor Rice also stated that he would eventually like to go over the books with the Fire Department and organize what was and was not purchased with state money.

Wade also mentioned that there are two trucks that are starting to “nickel and dime” the Fire Department and so he has a plan to sell the two trucks and purchase one reliable one. Of the two trucks that the city owns, one is 22 years old and the other is 17 years old. Wade asked council for figures to reduce the two trucks down to one which he feels will save on maintenance and insurance costs.

He also stated that the building to be constructed would be 40 feet by 60 feet and he emphasized that they are not purchasing another ambulance to place in the building. They would place the building in the grassy lot beside the Fire Hall. The building would be purchased by the Fire Department.

Under public forum, citizens were allowed to address council members over their concerns and one person in particular, Mark Ankrom, took it upon himself to address the mayor personally in regards to a parking spot brought up in last month’s council meeting. He felt that there was some “home cooking” going on between the mayor and chief of police. It was rumored that the man had been going around town “bad mouthing” Mayor Rice and Police Chief Haught. There was much debating back and forth between the resident and the mayor about who said what to whom in passing and eventually the conversation petered out. Ankrom then turned his attention to Officer Northcraft in regards to a statement made in last week’s council meeting and Officer Northcraft informed Ankrom that he did not single him out but that the officer stated that whoever the resident was, they did not have the authority to control street parking.

There was some conversation about an Ash tree near the temporary load docks that is dead and falling down. It was suggested that council members locate a chainsaw artist to saw a design of a tiger into the stump of the tree overlooking the park. If anyone has any information on chainsaw artists, please feel free to share with the city council members. Also, volunteers have donated money to pay for the chainsaw artist so that it won’t cost the city anything.

The Sewer Department reported that they are working on permits for the sewer plant and they working on some electrical upgrades at the plant as well.

The Water Department noted that the fire plugs have been flushed. There are some tridents that have been on the line ever since it was put in and they need to be replaced. There are approximately 22 of them needing replaced. The line leading up to the city building will be completed soon and so there will be no line in the way when the handicap ramp project begins.

The Planning Commission announced that they will have their fall cleanup on the last week of September after the success of the last cleanup event.

Mayor Rice announced that the Water Board held a meeting earlier in the week where they stated that they are still working with Friendly. They have received a $5,000 grant to put towards the $16,000 needed for digging wells.

The Parks and Recreation Department stated that they are still open until September 16 and they will open back up on the weekends the remainder of the month. The bathrooms located under the shelter are officially closed. There have been several problems related to the restrooms and so they are closed for the season.

The Ferry Board noted that the ferry is down with a broken transmission and they are waiting on the mechanic to get it fixed.

There was an official reading of the new ATV City Ordinance. The ordinance is essentially the same as state code. The driver must be insured, wear a helmet (if under the age of 18), and must obey all traffic laws. If under the age of 18 you must have a valid drivers license, if over the age of 18 you do not need a valid drivers license but if you have a suspended license, you cannot drive an ATV.

The right-of-way between Allegheny and Catherine Street was discussed. They have agreed to adopt the survey previously performed and the sellers have attained the services of Gary Rhymer and so they are finishing out the final details.

Effective August 14, 2017 Altice will provide two new services for Suddenlink customers and all new and existing customers will be able to choose. All current packages will be unaffected.

The Sistersville Library needs the roof replaced. The person that won the bid to do the previous work on the roof did bad work and is no longer available to reach. There is an Amish man that the city is considering hiring to do the work on the roof. If the roof is not replaced, the city will lose the library. The library will purchase the roof but they would like the city to apply for a grant to reimburse them for the cost. If the grant does not go through, there is a condition that the city will help with funds for minor purchases to help the library.

Oil and Gas Festival Chairman Barbara Vincent stated that the Oil and Gas festival will be September 14,15 and 16 but they will need the park as early as the 9th to begin setting things up. The parade route will be the same.

Jim King requested use of the streets for the Marble Festival to be held on September 22, 23 and 24. City Council passed a motion to allow King to use the streets.

Alex King brought up the topic of celebrating Heroes Day since it originated in Sistersville. He thought about having a cookout and other events on September 9 located at Sistersville Park. Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Alex King.

The city has to offer three names to the county commissioners of people to be potentially appointed to the Development Authority. Those three candidates were Greg Gage, Brandon Chadock, and Alex King. The commissioners will choose one of the three names to be a representative.

Council member Bryan Owens had put in his resignation due to purchasing a home in Paden City and so council members will be looking for a replacement for Owens. His term will end in March so it will only be about a 6 month term, however the candidate always has the option to run again.

Mayor Rice would like for council to get a plan for what needs to be done to address several of the dilapidated building in town. If any building is over 50 percent damaged it is deemed dilapidated. City recorder Chad Edwards would like to work with Fire Chief Jason Wade to look at these properties to decide which ones need to be torn down.

The next scheduled Sistersville city council meeting will be September 12, 2017 located at the Fire hall in Sistersville.