Sistersville’s Fourth Ward is open
Mayor Ann Doig reported at the Jan. 13 Sistersville Council meeting that Fourth Ward Councilman Colin Marrin has entered his letter of resignation.
Leaving his seat will open both positions in Sistersville’s Fourth Ward. The other seat was vacated by former Councilman Bill Schleier, whose resignation was accepted at the Dec. 9 meeting.
“We cannot accept his (Marrin’s) resignation (officially) until we put it on the agenda next month,” said Mayor Doig.
Regarding the city’s recent decision to renew a Park and Pool Board, council unanimously approved the appointing of Audist Pancake, Dave Pancake, Barbara Vincent, Connie Boyd, (Secretary) Dee Dee Williamson, and Councilmen Richard Long and Mitch Corley. Because he is joining the board, Corley recused himself from the vote; he also stated that he would back out and allow a resident to hold a seat on the board if they could only have six members rather than the appointed seven. Appointments to the board will reportedly occur every year at the January meeting.
“We would like to have the first meeting as soon as possible,” said Audist Pancake of the Park and Pool Board. “There are a lot of things we have to get ready, plus we want to have some fund raisers.”
She requested the following people, if possible, attend the first meeting: Chief of Police Ben Placer, City Commissioner Daniel Grimes, Tyler County Planning Commission Executive Director Eric Peters, and a reporter from the Tyler Star News.
Councilman Mark Klages mentioned the possibility of an upcoming vote to renew the Excess Levy.
“We renew it every five years, and it’s coming up for renewal this year,” he said. “There are some deadline conflicts with the way we run our election. We’re working with the state to get an extension to place the Excess Levy on this year’s budget. The paperwork is done and has been approved by the State Auditor. This is just the announcement so the town knows that we are going to renew the levy this year.”
Linda Henriksen, president of Olive Branch Animal Rescue and Refuge in Sistersville, was present to officially schedule two of their annual fund raising events. Paws in the Park is planned for Saturday, May 31 in the Sistersville City Park, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Street Mutts is planned for Saturday, June 14, along all of Charles Street, from 3-8 p.m. Council unanimously approved those dates, times, and places.
Henriksen also updated the city regarding the use of the dog tax funding council allotted to the Olive Branch.
“We’ve taken six (stray) cats out of Ward Three for sterilization, and they’ve been removed from the city,” she said, citing that the no-kill shelter is continuing its efforts to control the pet population. “The money that you’ve donated to the Olive Branch is working. I’ll try to keep everyone informed. Thank you.”
City officials thanked Henriksen.
“I had a personal friend of mine and a close friend of Sistersville pass away,” said Councilman Craig Pritchett, noting the loss of Allen Wilson, who served on the Water Board. He noted that they will be trying to fill that position in the near future.
Council discussed a request by Kenny Lipscomb to be annexed into city limits. Councilman Bill Rice said that he spoke with Debbie Price of the W.Va. Municipal League and he described the seven items the city had to consider for a minor boundary adjustment.
In order to annex an address into city limits, the city must: look at the number of businesses located and persons residing in the additional territory; examine an accurate map showing bounds and additional territory; make a statement setting forth the municipality’s plan for providing the additional territory with all applicable public services; make a statement of the impact of the annexation on any private solid waste collection service or public service district currently doing business in the territory proposed for annexation in the event the municipality should choose not to utilize the current service providers; make a statement of the impact of the annexation on fire protection and fire insurance rates in the territory proposed for annexation; make a statement of how the proposed annexation will affect the municipality’s finances and services; and a make a statement that the annexation meets all of the foregoing requirements.
“From there, it goes to the county commission to fill out an application under their seven areas of criteria,” he said.
No action was taken, but the city will review Lipscomb’s request.
Council unanimously approved an increase in the employee clothing allowance, raising it from $75 to $95 a year. Mayor Doig said that the extra money is intended to cover the costs of taxes taken from the stipend.
Councilman Phil Konopacky described the events of a Personnel Committee meeting to address UPS employee Jeff Christner’s complaint against former City Recorder Julie Schlier. Christner originally showed up at the Oct. 15 council meeting, demanding a written apology from then Recorder Schleier, who he said made false statements to the company that could have resulted in his termination.
“We talked about the new complaint policy, a complaint form was initiated and no decision was made as far as a letter of apology to UPS employee Jeff Christner,” said Konopacky.
It was noted that the issue of Christner’s complaint was still open, and any disciplinary action would be moot because Julie Schleier no longer works for the city.
Konopacky went on to describe how complaints will be handled in the future. He said that those who wish to file a complaint will be given a form to fill out, as well as contact information for the council members representing their ward. This does not mean that the city will only accept complaints from its residents.
“If we keep it handled in a uniform way where everybody’s aware of it, it will be less likely to be swept under the table, whatever the case may be,” said Konopacky. “It will be more of an open policy.”
“That’s a very good point,” said Mayor Doig.
“As a new councilman, I would rather hear it directly from someone in my ward if they have a complaint,” said Konopacky. “If there’s a complaint, it goes to your councilmen. It starts from there.”
Council approved December finances for payment: Sistersville General Hospital (SGH) accounts payable, $285,812.95: SGH payroll, $298,295.47; city bills, $19,037.91; and the city’s purchase card bill, $26,015.18.
Klages was the only councilman to vote no on paying these finances.
Council approved minutes of the Dec. 9 regular meeting and Dec. 19 special meeting.
In the public forum time, Mayor Doig had residents state their names and addresses prior to hearing their statements.
Scharlene Koerber, who recently addressed council about the Americans with Disabilities Act and handicap accessibility issues at City Hall, asked where the city stood on these matters.
“I haven’t appointed a committee yet,” said Mayor Doig. “We’ve had a lot going on with weather and everything else. It is something we’re still talking about. We just haven’t had time to do anything about it.”
Beri Fox repeated her previous request that the city charter be brought up to date. She asked that the mayor appoint a committee to review and update the antiquated sections. She also said that she would help to organize a fund raiser.
“It is extremely important that council take a look at the charter and make the appropriate amendments,” she said. “I would like to ask that you put that on the agenda for the next meeting. The time to do it is now.”
Connie Boyd asked about a “big” pothole at the state Route 2 entrance to Sistersville General Hospital; it was relayed that City Commissioner Daniel Grimes plans on having it patched.
Harold Dally requested that a “No Parking” hospital sign that has been laying in the alley behind his house for a couple of months be repaired. He also mentioned a couple of holes in the road.
Sistersville Public Library Director Heather Weekley asked about her request last month for supplies to clean the library.
“I just wanted to know how you guys want me to get supplies,” she said. “Do you want me to buy them and send you the bills, or do you want the cleaning lady to pick them up?”
Mayor Doig said the cleaning lady can pick up supplies.