Paden City Council Explores Options in Regards to One Percent Sales Tax
The Paden City Common Council held a regular meeting on January 6, in the council chambers of the Municipal Building. The first meeting of the year consisted of discussion on both the emergency water project and the big water project project as well as making card payments an option for utility payments and implementing a one percent sales tax in the town.
Mayor Clyde Hochstrasser called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. The first action taken was approval of the minutes from the Dec. 2 council meeting. Following this, Mayor Hochstrasser informed all in attendance that city officials have signed all the necessary paperwork in order to start an emergency water fund and to start the emergency water project. He conveyed that they should break ground sometime in January, and could be complete within six months.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Hochstrasser said of the project.
The council then took the time to hear from any citizens before continuing on with the meeting. One individual asked that the No Parking signs on Jefferson Street be moved to the opposite side of the street as everyone traveling that road has to drive through holes. He also requested that the road be leveled out in the summer. Street and Water Superintendent Josh Billiter said that he could complete this task.
Following discussion on this topic, a motion was made and subsequently carried in favor of approving all bills for payment.
A Water, Streets, and Maintenance Superintendent’s Report was then given by Billiter, who told council that the stations would be “fired up” the following morning.
In other business, the council was updated on both the emergency water project as well as the big project. In regards to the emergency project, it was said that Thompson and Litton should be breaking ground within two weeks. Once the project starts, the company will have 180 days to complete it.
Council was also informed that the air stripper they purchased should arrive in about eight to twelve weeks.
While discussing the big water project, it was said that the Geo Tech Engineer had done some soil drilling, and were in the process of getting more information on this. A slope stability analysis is also scheduled in order to confirm the safety of placing a large amount of water in that area. Depending on the results of this study, there are reportedly other areas for officials to explore.
Council was also informed of a slight delay with the USDA.While pushing through to get a filing permit, they were informed that progress would have to cease until they receive full clearance from the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).
New requests were presented in regards to the project, including having an archeological survey done on certain project areas. The study has reportedly been scheduled, and once complete, should take about 30 days for SHPO to process the study and send their approval. It was said that the study would be conducted within the week or in the following week.
Discussion was also held on the five to six easements the city will have to prepare.
Following this, Mayor Hochstrasser read the Election Proclamation, and proclaimed June 4, 2020 as date of next election where a mayor and council members would be elected to a two year term. Those wishing to run for either mayor or the council will need to file their intention by filling out the necessary eligibility form and paying a filing fee – $10 for the city council position and $20 for mayor – at the Recorders Office on or before April 16, 2020.
In other business, a report was provided by the fire department, and it was reported that there had been one EMS assist, two service calls, three mutual aids, one mutual aid standby, and one river rescue.
Next on the agenda was discussion on the purchase of a new police cruiser, with possible action to be taken. However, Paden City Police Chief Bob Kendle informed council that they were still working on getting a good price. Kendle explained that they were looking into purchasing a similar cruiser to the one they had previosuly purchased through the same company as before, and that they would deliver the car right to them. However, he informed council that they might have to spend a bit more than they had previously. Kendle said they should know more soon, and would keep them informed.
The Park and Pool then gave a report in which it was said that discussion was held in a Park and Pool meeting on future fundraisers and goals for 2020. They also reportedly discussed this coming year’s Christmas festivities, saying they wanted to go “all out.”
While still discussing Park and Pool matters, Councilman JP Springer questioned if the cameras will be fixed anytime soon. Mayor Hochstrasser confirmed that they would, and reported that they would have been fixed before Christmas, however, he was unable to get a key to the sewer plant, which was necessary for this project.
Springer then informed council that while on a recent walk on the trail near Butterfly Park, he encountered a pile of human feces with feet of the walking trail. He stated that a lack of a restroom is a common complaint he receives, and creates issues such as this. He believed it might be appropriate to get a restroom somewhere along the trail. However, it was said that when restrooms are left opened, they often get vandalized. Springer questioned getting a portable toilet, but this was also rejected due to the high monthly cost.
Another question Springer had was in regards to the docks. He asked about the status of removing them. Billiter said that while they still have yet to be removed, he has it scheduled for removal on Monday, January 13.
Following this, some information was brought to the council on the Paden City Development Authority’s Brownfield project. Mayor Hochstrasser explained that they were looking into getting funding from this project, but admitted he doesn’t know too much about the project. Council then discussed the possibility of developing a way for residents to be able to pay utilities with a credit card or online. They discussed making a website where residents can pay online if they so desired. This is reportedly in an effort to make this payment more convenient. It was stated that those choosing to make payments online will be charged a slight fee, with the fee depending on the payment. In regards to the extra fee, all in attendance were informed that customers would be informed on the fee before the transaction took place.
It was clarified that research it still being done in regards to the project.
Action was eventually taken on this item with three of the four council members voting in favor of moving forward on the project, and one requesting more information.
Under new business, discussion was held on implementing a one percent sales tax in the city. Mayor Hochstrasser explained that all the surrounding towns and cities have already moved forward on the process of putting this into service, and asked the council to look closely at this. He also estimated that this program would bring the city around $50 to $75,000 a year.
Another council member informed the council that they would not need to do Home Rule as they do not have business and occupation tax, which will reportedly make it simpler for them to file it.
It was also said that this program would “spread the burden around a little,” and would have many benefits for the city. It was established that food items would not be counted in this.
Mayor Hochstrasser said that while the process would be “slightly time consuming,” they would have help.
Mayor Hochstrasser then asked for a motion so they could move forward. It was then that Springer said that he “whole heartedly disagrees with any taxes.” Another council member disagreed, saying that it would help them to keep their quality of life and receive some improvements.
Following discussion on this, a motion was made in favor of moving forward with exploring their options in regards to this. This motion was seconded, and carried. However, due to the reception of this by those in attendance, a roll call vote was taken. This showed that three out of the four council members were in favor of this project.
Once this was established, the meeting was adjourned. The Paden City Council will convene for their next regular meeting on February 3.