Sistersville Honors Retiring City Employee
At Sistersville’s regular city council meeting May 13, Luke Peters of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council presented Sistersville officials with a presentation on Code Enforcement and associated costs for small communities who have problems with dilapidated structures and unkept properties. Peters touched on Code Enforcement and how it pertains to small towns when it comes to enforcement and the requirements for issuing building permits.
According to Peters to have building permits you must have qualified building inspectors and you must adopt the international building code. He said communities must provide proper enforcement if they are issuing permits. Peters said there is a two year waiver for contractors or individuals who work in construction, to allow them to work as inspectors while taking courses and classes to get licensed.
He noted there are funds available to help cover the costs of enforcement but the best solution seems to be for communities to band together and share the cost of an inspector. He said the enforcement would come from the compliance officer, who could levy fines and from the cost of building permits. He noted the Code Enforcement officer could work for five or six communities with the cost being equally shared which would average out to about $40.00 per day for a five day work week for each community, and would include travel and other expenses. Enforcement of violators or violations would have to be handled in city court or local magistrate offices.
Peters said there are several communities already interested in the plan which would be an economical way for the smaller towns to deal with high grass, junk vehicles, dilapidated property and demolition costs. He asked the council to consider the proposal. The council decided to have the idea put on the agenda for the next regular council meeting.
Peters also gave updates on the Water and Sewer projects for Tim Meeks who was unable to be at the meeting. Action to approve the agreements to continue with the projects was unanimously approved by council at a cost of $35,000 with the hiring of a Fairmont accounting firm who will perform a review of the sewer rates.
During the public forum a property owner of 116 Hill St. brought to councils attention a problem she is having concerning a fence which makes it difficult to cut or trim grass. She showed pictures to the council. Mayor Bill Rice explained to her they would have to check the city ordinance and have the city attorney look to see what can be done. Councilman Chuck Heinlein said he believed there is already a code on the books which addresses the issue.
Cody Henthorn also addressed council, notifying them he was bringing in people from Momentive to help clean up, paint and work to get the swimming pool ready to open. Sistersville City Council Meeting May 13, 2019
Tamala Workman a resident of 110 Florence Street was on the agenda concerning a water drainage problem she says is causing damage to the foundation of her residence. She said water is coming off the hill and up over a curb along a driveway belonging to a neighbor. She said it is a big drainage issue. She has had major renovations done to her property and is working on more including building a deck and she is going to need the water rerouted. She said she is paying to have a concrete wall built to reroute the water but it will only be temporary and the water will just go somewhere else. She asked the city to help her before it ruins the foundation to the house.
Mayor Rice said he had looked at the problem and feels confident the city can do something to take care of it. He said he would get with the city crew and find a fix to the problem. He said they would get to work on it quick. He also said the city needs to get to work and clean out the drains.
The highlight of the meeting was Mayor Rice presenting long time city employee Charlie Ebert with an award and recognition for his 42 years of dedicated service to the city. The Mayor along with council congratulated Charlie and all those in attendance applauded him for his dedication.
Rice said although Ebert is retiring he will still be working part time. Ebert said he has enjoyed working for Sistersville and added “if you can’t work for these guys you probably can’t work for anyone.” Council on the suggestion of Mayor Rice agreed to have a retirement party for Charlie which will be held at the Sistersville Public Library on Monday, May 27 at 6:30, it is open to all residents. Rice joked, that if Ebert failed to show up, he would send the police to get him.
In other business council approved the payment of bills, the minutes of the April 8, regular council meeting and the special council meetings held on April 29, and April 30. They also approved the second reading of an ordinance to increase the police fee and the hiring of Swimming Pool Management. All by unanimous vote.
Barbara Vincent, of the city planning commission reported for on the completion of the swimming pool painting and the downtown planters. She said the cost came to $4,500.
Under Department head Reports; the police department said it has been a quiet month and there wasn’t anything to report. Councilman Heinlein questioned Chief Rob Haught about a couple attempted break ins, including one at the library. Haught said he didn’t know anything about the library, but there had been two break ins elsewhere that they are still working on. Heinlein also questioned Haught as to why his expenses were $250 higher than the other police officer on the P-Card. It was explained the difference was because Haught lives out of town and travels more with gas being the primary use of the P-Card. Heinlien also questioned how many traffic stops had been made during the month and how many were for tractor trailers. Chief Haught said approximately 50 total traffic stops and not too many were trucks.
Jason Rice reported for the sewer board that the new sewage plant pumps have been ordered. He said the mussel survey will be conducted sometime this summer at a cost of $35,000 to cover the four day survey of the water plant and boat docks. It has to be done before any claims from flooding can be paid.
Parks and Recreation Director Linda Hendrickson provided details on the swimming pool and the cleanup efforts to get it ready for opening day which is scheduled for May 25. She sated they have nine lifeguards whom they paid the training for. She said it has been a challenging month to say the least. She said they ran into a conflict with the ball teams when they drained the pool, but it had to be done and she noted you can’t put the water in the creek or the river. She said she checked with all the agencies and it just isn’t allowed. Hendrickson told about some kids who were using some very vulgar language at the park and causing problems. She said they were removed from the park and she later spoke with them and explained that if they didn’t take care of the park they wouldn’t have one. She said they agreed to help make the park a better place, “we shook hands on it and I told them it meant you keep your word,” she added.
Later in the week she said she took garbage bags down to the park and put them near the cans but when she came back later someone had spread garbage and debris under the picnic tables and around. She said those two boys came by and started helping clean up, which shows the kids did the right thing.
It was noted the pool when filled holds about 400,000 gallons of water and half empty 200,000, so that’s a lot of water to pump out. After hearing several comments and suggestions concerning the problem with draining the pool Hendrickson said there is a possibility a grant from the Olive Trust might be available to put in a leach field to take in the water when draining.
Hendrickson also said there was a recent problem with ball teams parking in the no-parking spots reserved for campers at the camp ground. She showed the council signs at the reserved spots that say no parking yet they have been ignored. Chief Haught suggested she get the area roped or chained off to prevent the violations.
Mayor Rice reported the road leading to the nursing home is in bad shape. He said last year they put $74,000 into repairs and it is bad again. The cost to repair it would be around $300,000 which he said the city doesn’t have.
Mary Huff, with the Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department gave an update to council on the SVFD Ambulance. She stated they have agreed to join forces with the hospital to provide better service to the community. She said the Ambulances would belong to the County Commission and would be housed at the fire hall. The would provide backup service to the hospital and would be considered on call volunteers.
Prior to the council going into executive session on a motion by Councilman Heinlein, Mayor Rice asked it be noted that if anyone wants to bag up grass clipping and put them in plastic bags after mowing and trimming they can call and the city will come and pick them up. He said they can also take them down to the sewage plant and get rid of them. It was noted it is unlawful and dangerous to blow the grass into the street.