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Several Sistersville Residents Address City Council During Meeting

By Staff | Mar 18, 2020

The Sistersville City Council met for a regular meeting on March 9. The Council Members addressed several matters, including the appointment of a councilman to the vacant first ward seat and heard the concerns of several residents during the public forum.

Immediately following the Pledge of Allegiance, the floor was opened to public forum for residents to address the Mayor and the Council Members. First to speak was a business owner, expressing his issues with the lack of parking on Wells Street. He reported it’s difficult for customers to even leave the business.

The Mayor reported there has been talk about putting up time limit parking signs following the removal of the parking meters. Rob Haught, Chief of Police, reported there is no practical way to enforce a time limit on parking. The Mayor brought up the possibility of hiring a meter maid to ensure the parking restrictions would be enforced.

It was then requested for the item to be put on the agenda for the next meeting so a decision can be made.

The next to speak was a Sistersville resident. “It’s not every day, and it almost looked like a Hallmark card; it was that impacting…we had the hailstorm the other day, and the rain, and the terrible wind, and everything, I saw our city police officer Rob Haught with a can of gas, helping a stranded citizen,” he said. He continued to ay that he is pleased to see the interaction between the community and the law enforcement, stating that it is important to highlight the good things that take place in the city and the public forum is a good opportunity for him to do so.

He also spoke about the city employees and the work they do throughout Sistersville, stating he wishes the council would dig in the budget to get them a raise for the hard work they do each day.

Another city resident asked Mayor Rice to clear up a few items the public was questioning. She asked him if he had taken on another position as a part-time city street commissioner.

Rice reported that while he had not taken on the role of city street commissioner, he was allowed to be the boss over the street crew.

Rice reported he has been in this position for about three to four months, and he does receive pay for being the supervising over the crew. However, Rice reported the position is only temporary.

Rice reported he has been working to clean the town up for years, and he spoke to the finance committee saying he was tired of running the town with the mayors wages and he felt he should be compensated for what he has to do, such as working to clean up the streets. Rice said he has to give the crew chores to do or things wouldn’t get done throughout the city. “They can pay me $9 dollars an hour, they can pay me $8.75, but they don’t have to pay me nothing. But if they don’t pay me nothing, then I’m going to do my mayor’s job. I’m not your typical mayor. I’m out here making sure everything’s getting done, making sure the street lights are getting replaced, making sure everything goes kosher,” said Rice.

Rice said he doesn’t want to hold down the city commissioner job, but he felt he could make a lot of progress in the city just by talking with people and offering help cleaning up yards.

“I’m just telling you, if I were to make you up a list of the past three or four months of what I have gotten done, it’s quite a bit,” said Rice.

Following the closing of public forum, the council approved the appointment of a councilman Cody Amos to the vacant first ward seat.

The next item on the agenda was the approval of the minutes from previous meetings, followed by the approval of the bills.

Next, the department heads gave reports to the council. Rob Haught was the first to address the assembly about the condition of the City Building in the corner near his office. He reported the birds are collecting and those entering through those doors are forced to track through bird feces. He said they are nesting again and are beginning to cause damage to the building itself. He requested to get the item on the agenda so action can be taken before the damage is unable to be reversed.

Greg Gauge reported the Ferry Board has been in contact with Delegate David Kelly in hopes to secure state funding for the Ferry. He said they haven’t heard anything back yet, but reported they are keeping their fingers crossed.

Under old business, the Mayor reported he was hoping to begin flushing hydrants at the beginning of April.

Rice also reported he is planning to send an e-mail to Antero to see if they are willing to do some welding and community work on the Little Sister Well.

The Council also approved Alumni events, such as the parade and chapel, and the use of city facilities for the event.

The plans to have the Easter Egg Hunt on April 11 in the park, and Picnic in the Park, were also approved.

Under new business, Brian Camerlin was appointed as the Building Commission Member for a three year term.

Rob Haught reported he had an applicant for an officer and would like to be sure that he was approved to hire another officer. A motion was made and approved for him to hire an additional officer.

The Council also discussed the possibility of purchasing a time clock for city employees to help keep track of overtime, etcetera. Councilman Chuck Heinline also requested an organizational flow chart to help clear up any questions about who answers to which officials. He also proposed the Councilman communicate through email, rather than word of mouth, because he felt it would be more efficient in assuring each member is aware of events, problems, or meetings.

The Council then discussed the approval of a Personnel Manual. However, there were questions regarding sick leave and bereavement leave. The Personnel Manual was approved as is, with the correction that paid sick leave would be revisited at the next meeting.

The next item on the agenda was a discussion of the proposed Prospect Street Guardrail. At a previous meeting, the several residents addressed council regarding an issue of the road being blocked due to several items blocking the roadway. A concerned citizen of McCoy Heights expressed their worry of a catastrophic event occurring and the road being blocked restricting emergency vehicles from being able to respond to the event.

“There’s one way on that hill, and one way off,” they said.

Rob Haught reported the department has written many tickets to the individual parking the items in the road.

There were several ways discussed to try to alleviate the issue, including possibly going through a nuisance ordinance. It was requested the item continue to be discussed, and the item moved forward.

The Council then entered an executive session, and following the executive session, the meeting was adjourned.