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Sistersville Council Brings Ferry Update

By Staff | Jun 19, 2019

AJ Hammond — Project Associate with Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center WVU and BAD Buildings Model — gave a presentation at the Sistersville Council Meeting on June 10.

The Sistersville Council assembled for its monthly meeting on June 10 at 7 p.m. at the city building. Six of the eight council members were in attendance. Mayor Bill Rice, and council members Branden Chaddick, Greg Gage, Chuck Heinlein, Bonnie Heizer, and Phil Konopacky were present; council members Alex King and Richard Long were not in attendance for the June meeting.

Mayor Bill Rice opened the meeting in accordance with the distributed Agenda and content specifications. With no Public Forum notifications to report, Rice proceeded to address the next item on the agenda and voiced to have introduced Judy Staley, the sister and power of attorney of Sistersville resident Eddie Cathers. Cathers resides in one of the homes located on 114 Diamond Street. Staley pointed out that her brother was being charged fees for two lots when he only owns one lot. Judy Staley explained that there are two houses on one lot and this is what is causing the confusion. She asked if the city could reduce the fee to paying for only one lot per the city ordinance and the 45 feet per lot ruling. Mayor Rice stated that if the legal documentation verifying this claim would be submitted to Heather Rice, then her request could be granted. The other councilmen also agreed to Rice’s proclamation and they thanked Staley for her inquiry.

The next order of business was the reading and approval of the minutes from the May 13 Council Meeting. All members of the council took a few minutes to read over the provided documentation and a motion was made to approve them. The motion was carried.

The council then progressed to the approval of the bills. Discussions in relation to a few specific bills were discussed in detail and agreed upon. It was at this time, Councilman Chuck Heinlein inquired of a $1,000 charge in relation to the Elks Lodge. Heather Rice clarified this charge was for insurance for the Senior Citizen’s Building. A motion was made to accept and approve the distributions of bills, and the motion was unanimously carried.

In other business, Department Head for the sewer board, Jason Rice, reiterated that they are still waiting for the Mussel survey to be completed. An approximate date of the survey being conducted is the second week of July. Once this survey is finalized then any flooding claims can be adjusted. Jason Rice went on to report that he received an e-mail from the EDA and the EPA requiring a Plan of Action. This documentation was drafted and sent to both agencies by their mentioned deadline.

In matters relating to boards and committees, it was discussed and reported that the Sistersville Ferry will be suspended for the rest of the year. The ferry is in need of a pilot and the time frame to hire and train a pilot by the end of the year will be insufficient. It was also mentioned that the purchasing of insurance is a factor. Discussions in length were established in relation to funding, how the ferry grants operate, and possible future fundraisers. It was firmly established that the ferry will resume operations in 2020.

Further ferry discussions disclosed possible trespassing on the closed ferry property. It was asked for the community to be aware of any suspicious activity and report any said findings to Rob Haught.

In relation to the Water and Sewer projects, it was reported that previously discussed topics were underway and everything was progressing smoothly and was on target with time estimations.

Concluding with boards and committees, Parks and Recreation Director Linda Henriksen made mention of numerous items in need of discussion. She then asked Councilman Heinlein to disclose the details in relation to the electrical problems at the park and pool. It was reported that an electrician came to the park to survey the situation. Heinlein went on to describe that the electrician described to him that the wiring with the pool site and with Suddenlink ground wires were causing transference of amperage going back to the box and shutting the electricity off. Heinlein went on to say that the electrician specified what could be done to rectify the problem. Measures are being taken to eliminate this problem.

Director Henriksen also reported that there is a big hole in a the pump house leading to the electrical box and it is starting to corrode. It was specified that Randy Kemp, a licensed electrician will be taking care of the problem.

Henriksen also reported that the roof needs fixed, the lights on the ball field need to be replaced, and other maintained items were mentioned that needed attention. She also went on to report that they received $1,000 so far in donations and that this money is needed and can help with these problems. Henriksen ended her report with the fact that the concession stand in the big shelter needs to be cleaned, inspected, and permitted in order to sell food. Mayor Rice spoke up and stated that everything needed to be taken care of in time for the 4th of July celebration.

The Council then progressed to items considered as Old Business. Mayor Rice announced that there is an old oil derrick at the park that needs attention. He went on to explain that one of the legs of the derrick is rotting, it needs painting, other minor work needs completed, and there was a beam hanging down that could prove to be dangerous. Rice mentioned that he spoke to an Antero upper management employee for possible help. This Antero representative disclosed to Rice that the company is looking for projects to participate and to partner with for community involvement. Paperwork was sent to Rice to fill out so this project can be initiated.

Continuing with Old Business, it was reiterated that the Sistersville Council has been looking for a council member replacement for over six months. This new council member will be considered as a First Ward. The council is asking for involvement and for any interested parties to inquire at the city building.

Also in Old Business, Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department Board President Mike Northcraft requested the title for truck #33 that will be considered a trade-in for the new truck, #35. The new truck is now being lettered and will be available soon. This process began last year and it has now progressed to the point where the trade-in is required. A motion was made in regards to the trade-in and the motion was carried. However, Mayor Rice and Councilman Chuck Heinlein showed concern in relation to the new truck to be titled to both the fire department and to the city. A Committee meeting was scheduled with the Fire Department Board on Monday, the 17 at 6:30 p.m. for further discourse. Mayor Rice also said that he would call the bank the next day to inquire how the title for the new truck was worded.

In other matters, the Regional Code Enforcement Building Program announced their contribution of gathering Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with various businesses and citizens in relation to community involvement of removing dilapidated and vacant buildings. The program director invited Project Associates with WVU and BAD (Buildings Program), AJ Hammond, and Nicole Dias to offer a verbal presentation of how the BAD program works and what they can do for the Sistersville community.

Hammond detailed how their program helps the community with plans in place, tools, and connections to help with funding, securing grants, and with step-by-step priorities of properties to be addressed. Councilman Heinlein asked for an example of any previous counties that have used them and met with great success. Hammond offered the example of Saint Albany’s in Kanawha County. Hammond went on to report that Fairmont and Charleston have had great success in using this program as well; he further reported that Ripley and Shinnston are currently in the program and are both reporting positive results.

Mayor Rice asked the council if they would be in agreement for Hammond and Dias to return at a later date to discuss the topic more in depth. Council agreed and arrangements were made.

Under New Business, Councilman Heinlein made a motion for Sherry Kemp to be hired as an Administrative Assistant and for Jennifer Dietrich to be hired as the Water Clerk. Councilman Branden Chaddick seconded the motion, and the motion was carried.

Also under New Business, it was requested for Alex McKay to receive full time status in the Sewer Department. Councilman Greg Gage made the motion, motion was carried.

Immediately following the conclusion of New Business, it was requested for a motion for adjournment; Councilman Phil Konopacky made the motion, motion was carried.

The next Sistersville Council Meeting will be Monday, July 8 at 7 p.m.