Pine Grove Hopes To Improve Sewage System
At the meeting, Mayor Dave Barr explained that the city council hopes to improve the sewage system with as little cost to citizens as possible. It was also stated that interviews with sewer design engineering firms to conduct the upgrade had not yet begun but that the council has received information from S&S Engineering of Charleston, Thrasher Engineering of Clarksburg, and Swiss Valley Associates of Hannibal.
On April 23, council had voted to decline a United States Environmental Protection Agency grant for $724,000 that would have been used to repair their municipal sewer lines and extend sewer service to Galmish and Barker. Residents of the outlying areas had expressed opposition to the service entering their area, requiring them to become sewage customers.
“Hopefully we’ll get the same money and change the vacuum system to gravity as much as we can,” said Barr.
The council adjourned to executive session to discuss sewage issues. The executive session resulted in a motion being passed that will provide all water customers with a $1.62 credit because of a computer error.
Also discussed at the meeting was the water shut off valve located in front of Simon’s Market. It is currently inoperable but the city is hoping to begin repairs as soon as possible. The valve allows the water department to localize water outages for repairs when necessary.
When work begins on the valve replacement, customers in that area, that includes Valley Manor, will be without water until the repairs are completed. Council did not indicate when that work would be done.
In preparation for winter, council unanimously approved buying road cinders. They also passed a motion to buy a tarp for storage.
Due to the rising cost of utilities, the Bingo contract renewal with American Legion Post 81 was discussed at Monday’s meeting. The games are played on Monday evenings at the Byrd Center. Rent is currently set at $55 a week.
“We have our heat. We have our electric. We have our cleaning. As far as I’m concerned, it ain’t worth it,” said Councilman Roy Justice.
On the positive side, Mayor Barr said that as far as he is concerned, it is another night the building is being used. He pointed out that during the winter months, the Byrd Center has to be heated whether it is being used or not.
Councilman Dave Williams made a motion to raise the rent to $75 per week and prohibit smoking in the building. However, they never voted on the motion.
Barr said he would meet with the American Legion to discuss the contract. Also, the city will check with the Wetzel-Tyler Health Department to see if smoking is even allowed in a government building.
As a result of several complaints from community members last year regarding eligibility requirements for the annual Christmas lighting contest, a motion was made and passed at the meeting that there be no limitations placed on those wishing to enter the contest. As long as contestants reside within the city limits of Pine Grove, they are eligible to participate.
Last year Councilman Justice and Peggy Lueck won the contest and some people questioned the connection. “That’s just plain stupid,” said Lueck, who noted that they have annually decorated their home before a contest was created.
It was also agreed upon by council members that the owners of the town’s four restaurants, none being city residents, would judge the contestants on Dec. 13. Prizes will be distributed for both first and second place winners. A motion was made and passed to award $100 to the first place winner and $50 to the second place winner. Valley Diner has donated a $25 gift certificate and Mason’s Depot has donated a free pizza and pop to be added to the cash prizes. It was decided that if more donations should be received, they will be divided equally among those winning the contest.
Also regarding community events, Councilman Dave Williams made a motion that last year’s fireworks budget for the Fourth of July celebration, held in Earley Park, remain at $3,500 and that the rest of the allotted $5,000 for the event, be used to provide more activities for the children.
“That’s more money to do other things,” said Williams. “I think the fireworks were fine.”
The motion was seconded and passed unanimously by council members. It was concluded that committee members for the annual celebration would be appointed as needed.
Council complained about the parking situation on Main Street when services and activities are being held at the Chapel of Victory Church. They have asked the state to put up “No Parking” signs in the area to try to keep the road passable.
Council members noted that the church’s parking lot is empty while the street is full. Also, they said American Legion Post 81 has offered their parking lot to parishioners for use during their services due to the lack of available space for parking on Main Street.
The Pine Grove City Council meets the second Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Byrd Center. The meetings are open to the public. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.