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Sistersville Council Commends Lieutenant

By Staff | Sep 18, 2019

Prior discussion updates and new agenda topics were addressed at the Sistersville City Council meeting on Monday, September 9 in the City Hall building. With no public forum items to discuss, the business of voting on the minutes for the August 12 City Council Meeting and the bills for the month was set in motion. Both items were approved and carried. Mayor Rice then proceeded to the department head reports.

Mayor Rice gave the status and current findings of the water project in leu of Jason Rice, who was unable to attend the meeting. Mayor Rice commented that they received the results for the Muscle Survey and he forwarded all 98 of them to their FEMA representative, Nicholas Brockman, in Washington, DC. Brockman informed Rice over the phone that he is continuing to work with Congressman McKinley’s office to expedite the process in order to have the funds released as soon as possible due to the severity of the current water situation.

Mayor Rice assured the council to not be alarmed for he has a temporary plan in place to offset present water challenges. Said plan includes having a portable water pump set up alongside the riverbank to add to the existing water supply.

Rice specified that once the funds are released then he will have divers go down into the river and block off the intake and put in a new water pump.

He is hoping this will all take place before the cold weather sets in.

Mayor Rice furthered the water report by commenting that Tim Meeks has agreed to work with the city in regards to the Friendly Water Project without having the required audits completed. Both are in discussions for the construction phase to begin shortly after the first of the year. Rice reported that the audits are still a work in progress and they are doing everything they can to see these financial obligations completed.

In discussions relating to the sewer department, Mayor Rice mentioned that the city dump truck needs to be fixed so they will be able to use it in the winter months to plow and lay cinder on the roads.

Rice informed the council, “The dump truck we have now is over 20 years old and we may need to purchase a new one in the near future.” Rice specified how the dump truck has several issues, including the need for new brakes and that it has a frozen caliber. He reported that he has been in contact with Truck Sales Consultant David Hawk with Hill International Trucks out of Wheeling to request prices for bid on a new truck. He continued his report by announcing that the sewer department has a little extra money and could buy a new truck if needed. The only drawback Rice could think of was that having a new dump truck, because of the size of the would-be truck, would require drivers to have a CDL license.

Council conversations continued to the police report where Councilman Richard Long highly complimented police officer, Lieutenant Alex Northcraft. Long reported that his vehicle had been broken into at his house and his gun was stolen, among other minor things as well. Long continued his account with the news that his neighbor has an outside camera and the theft was recorded. Though the image of the suspect was blurry, Northcraft was able to search for the person-of-interest around the city and among the campers on the riverbank until he was able to tract down the suspect – Michael Martin. Mayor Rice chimed in and said that Martin traded the gun for drugs and that Northcraft conducted a very thorough investigation that led to the acquisition of the gun. Long commended Northcraft and specified, “He went above and beyond the call of duty in this situation.” Martin is currently serving time at the North Central Regional Jail.

Under Parks and Recreation, Councilman Heinlein asked if Momentive completed the piping work they committed to do. It was reported that that the local plant is in the middle of pricing plastic pipes and sizes and doing necessary research, and they will be implementing the project soon.

In other business, Councilman Phil Konopacky declared his opinion of the Asplundh Tree Service parking their trucks in the park without having to pay a fee like any other company or resident of Tyler County. Even though this topic was discussed last council meeting, he reiterated that after doing research on the company, the gross income the tree service receives annually is more the sufficient to not need preferential treatment. “If others have to pay,” he argued, “then they should as well.”

Councilman Heinlein supported Konopacky’s argument by citing, “According to the city ordinance, no one should be allowed to park their vehicles or be in the park after hours.” Heinlein finished his statement by adding that the trucks have been there all summer. Mayor Rice concluded the topic by specifying the company will be addressed and asked to start parking on top of the hill.

Under Old Business, city attorney Krista Fleegle reported the finalization of the newly drafted city ordinance regarding nuisance behavior and properties. Fleegle specified that she adopted the style and similar wording of a related type of ordinance from the city of Albany in New York that met with success. She voiced her concerns with the specifics of the city of Sistersville and desires confirmation of approval from the council before proceeding. She specified she would email the individual councilmen a copy of said ordinance draft for their approval. Rice concluded that once the draft is approved it will be put on the agenda for an official vote.

Under New Business, Councilman Heinlein asked if the city has received the new franchise agreement from Suddenlink. According to the previous franchise agreement the city had with the communications company, Sistersville was to receive payment in order for Suddenlink to continue business in the city limits. Mayor Rice addressed the question by specifying he has not been able to get in touch with anyone, but he will continue to monitor the situation and will try again.

Continuing with New Business, approval for the 2019 Hocus Pocus in the Park was addressed. The request for approval was motioned and carried. The event will take place on October 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the city park.

Concluding with New Business, the council was made aware that the city garbage truck is down. It was reported that the other garbage truck has been in a repair shop in Parkersburg for six months. Rice asked for an update on the repairs for the truck in Parkersburg. It was stated that the freight liner has to be replaced and will cost somewhere around $5,500. Rice stated that both garbage trucks need to be fixed and specified the city needs to move froward in both situations.

The final agenda item of discussion was in regards to Personnel. Lieutenant Northcraft informed the council the new police officer who was hired a few weeks ago terminated his position to go elsewhere. Northcraft specified they will need to advertise and hire a new officer soon. He requested for this item to be put on the October meeting agenda.

The next Sistersville Council meeting will be on October 14 at 7 p.m. in the city hall building.