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New Martinsville Creates Wish List

By Staff | Dec 17, 2008

New Martinsville Mayor Lucille Blum reported at the Dec. 1 council meeting that the city met with the Belomar Regional Council recently and went over a long wish list of projects for which they would like them to seek funding.

“One of the things that they were really excited about was the development of campsites on Hydro Drive,” she said.

Along those lines, City Recorder Bonnie Shannon said she learned from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that if the city wants to add more than five campsites in the hydroelectric plant development, then they must reapply for permission from FERC.

It seemed a consensus that the city could pursue the first five campsites and then apply for more when that time comes.

“When you lose one source of economy,” said Blum, citing the impending loss of jobs at Bayer, “you look at what you have. We have the river.”

The Riverfront Development group gave their monthly report that included announcement of the third annual New Year’s Eve Dance to be held at the Lewis Wetzel Family Center from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The live band Street Talk will be performing. The cost is $25 for a single and $35 per couple, which includes dancing, appetizers, and soft drinks. “We always hope for a sell out,” said Councilman Steve Pallisco, who noted the venue can hold 300 people.

Parks Director Bev Gibb said she and the parks commission are looking at creating a Friends of the Parks organization. Also, they want to conduct a survey of community interest to see what the citizens want to see in their parks and offered for recreation.

Shannon told council that she received communication from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that they decided the first buyout of properties in the floodplain was no completed. She had to scramble and refile information that day, but it was taken care of successfully.

Also, she was told that the potential buyout of three more properties is still in the works. “Things are still alive for that,” she noted.

Council passed the second reading and adopted a failure to appear ordinance. The new law makes the city able to assess a $500 fine on anyone who fails to appear in city court at their appointed time to answer to charges. It does not, however, include any jail time. That type of punishment was removed from all city ordinances a few years ago as it is cost prohibitive.

Street Commissioner Gary Willey said he is looking into hiring some part-time help. Also, he said the city held a very nice dinner in Gary Lemon’s honor.

Lemon recently retired from the street commissioner position.

Also, during a special council meeting held Nov. 17, council unanimously approved renewal of liability coverage with Commercial Insurance Company for fiscal year 2008-09. The annual premium is $134,478.59, reflecting a three percent increase for inflation.

“Everything (coverage) is better than it was last year,” noted Shannon. For instance, previously the policy covered $1 million for the first occurrence and now that has been upped to $2 million.

They also renewed coverage with Employee Benefit Service for employee health insurance for fiscal year 2008-09. The maximum cost to the city for the self-funded insurance is $723,374.

The coverage remains the same as last year, keeping deductibles at $300 per person and $600 per family. “That is extremely low,” noted Councilman Joel Potts III.

The last few years city employees have gone without raises, but benefits have remained the same. “It means a lot to all of our employees,” said Shannon.

Finally at the special meeting, council approved an amendment to their agreement with Genpower concerning the New Cumberland hydroelectric project to extend the Notice to Proceed date from Dec. 31, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2009.

“Hopefully it doesn’t take that long,” said Shannon.