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Voting Place Change Tops PC Council Agenda

By Staff | Apr 6, 2011

The City of Paden City is facing another minor set back in the wake of a request from the Wetzel County Board of Education calling for the relocation of the Third Ward polling place, previously housed at Paden City Elementary School.

Faculty Senate President Sheila Aberegg and Faculty Senate Vice President Debbie Allen appeared before the common council to deliver the news and present a copy of the request in writing.

Aberegg said, “We have a duty to secure our schools per the state-mandated Safe and Drug Free Schools Act. It is absolutely impossible to follow guidelines during elections in which school is in session. 

She added, “It makes it extremely difficult to conduct any type of activity with students.

Aberegg called the situation “less than ideal for the voters of the Third Ward, the staff at PCES and the students.

The decision to disallow the polling place at PCES was made by Superintendent Bill Jones after the school year was amended to make up for classroom time lost during snow days.

However, Allen first approached the council in November 2010 citing several concerns for the safety of the students. 

In a letter dated Nov. 1, 2010, she explained the situation in detail, “…with the new safe schools act, all public schools in West Virginia are required to have in place an emergency plan to ensure the safety and well being of the students during school hours and events. This requirement includes keeping the doors locked and allowing outside visitors to come in only after they have identified themselves and have been given permission by the office to enter.

During the election, the doors to the school cannot be locked, which allows access to the public as a whole, whether they are a part of the Third Ward precinct or not.

In light of the safety issues at the elementary school, the Third Ward precinct has been moved to the Paden City Fire Hall located at 208 W. Main Street.

The election has been set for June 2. When city filings ended on April 1, the following candidates had expressed their intention to run for office in Paden City: Tammi Billiter, recorder; Matthew Ferrebee, first ward councilman; Richard Wright, Jr., second ward councilman; Clyde Hochstrasser and Dan Probst, third ward councilman.

After several residents and councilmen spoke out in opposition, the decision was made to reallocate money set aside to purchase a PA system for the council chambers. Instead, the funds will be used at the park to purchase paint, piping and possibly new bleachers.

Wright made a motion to accept the budget revision, which was seconded by Councilman Glen Casteel.

A measure to approve revisions to the budget for the water fund was tabled after Councilman Ferrebee requested additional time to review the information.

Mayor Bill Fox noted that the information given to the council was merely a “dummy” budget for their own records. The actual budget must be approved by June.

Wright brought a request to the council to extend the Labor Day Celebration to include Sept. 2. “The carnival would like to set up a day early to offset their costs,” he explained.

The celebration will be held Sept. 2-4.

Rodney McWilliams spoke on behalf of the Paden City Foundation to update the quorum on upcoming events and tentative plans. He began by pointing out the foundation’s role in the community, citing their purpose was to support education in Paden City, spur economic growth and support various community objectives. Although their main initiative is the scholarship program which aids seniors at Paden City High School, the group also operates the museum and was instrumental in the formation of the Cornerstone Project.

With this in mind, McWilliams proposed a new fundraiser to provide for these projects and additional ventures.

He noted that this project would benefit the museum and cultural center, the Cornerstone and the Craig Broadwater Memorial Scholarship fund. 

“The foundation will sponsor a 5K walk and run on June 4,” he said.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. at Centennial Park in Paden City. Racing will start at 9 a.m. According to McWilliams, the event will be held rain or shine.

McWilliams noted that they could expect 100 plus participants in the race and encouraged everyone to enter the race whether they were competing or walking for fun. “This project will provide a healthy way for residents and visitors to participate in a worthy fundraising event.” he said. “It will be for experienced race participants and beginners.

He also pointed out it would be a great way to building community spirit.

Trophies will be awarded to overall first, second and third place winners in male and female runner/walker categories.

Awards will also be given to the first, second and third place male and female runners/walkers by age.

The course will wind throughout the town, avoiding 4th Avenue, and will include the entire walking trail in Ford Park. The start and finish will be Centennial Park (3rd Avenue).

Sponsors for the race include WesBanco, Healthy Alliance, RAM Financial and Days Gone By Pub.

“The next step is to get volunteers to help with the event,” McWilliams said. 

The entry fee will be $10 per person.

The council entertained the second reading of an ordinance to amend an existing ordinance “establishing salary and wage rates for the City of Paden City.” Under the amendment, the salary of elected officials will increase as follows: Mayor, $400 per month; Council, $100 per month. The measure is effective July 1, 2012.

They council also heard the second reading of an ordinance to amend an existing ordinance establishing the salary for the recorder. Under this amendment, the salary of the elected recorder will increase from $10.93 per hour to $14.50 per hour, to become effective July 1, 2011.

The final amendment was entitled “qualifications of board members of the Paden City Development Authority, article 153.04.” This article will be amended in its entirety to read: All members of the Board of the Paden City Development Authority shall be appointed by the Common Council of the City of Paden City.

All ordinances and amendments were accepted and adopted by the council.

The Wesleyan Church is considering holding an Easter Sunrise Service at Paden City Park on Sunday, April 24. The congregation will invite the local churches and the community to share in the event. For the purposes of this service, the council moved to allow the church to use the large pavilion.

In other business, council approved the Paden City Little League Tag Day for Saturday, April 9 from 10 a.m. until noon. 

Before adjourning, the council approved and signed a measure to collect an additional $5 on all fines to be paid to the Teen Court Program. This mandatory fee, outlined in WV ode 49-5-13(d), will be paid by the defendant and shall be remitted to the Wetzel County Teen Court.

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 2.