Paden City Council Addresses Various Matters
The Paden City Council heard from a citizen June 4 who requested more patrol in the area of South First Avenue and Mill Street. He noted an influx of traffic due to the placement of two basketball hoops on the street in the area. According to the citizen, a group of young men have been playing in this area regularly, often blocking the street with their vehicles and using profanity. While he did not have a problem with the young men playing basketball, he suspected they were drinking and using drugs.
“We’d like to see more police patrols in this area,” he stated.
Another Paden City resident asked about the paving of the streets in town and the large sum of money in the street fund account. These questions were also posed at the May meeting by former Recorder Ginger Wilcox.
Councilman Glenn “Bob” Casteel gave a summary of a conversation he had with Maintenance Director Clifford Duke last year. “I asked him about paving Robinson Street,” he said. “At the time he told me he was in the middle of a water line project and there was no way we could get that street paved at that time.”
A resident asked if funds were available at that time to pave. Casteel answered in the affirmative.
“Traditionally what the council has done is go around and prioritize the areas that needed paved,” noted City Attorney Carolyn Flannery. “When you were doing the sewer rehab project it was an issue because you don’t want to pave a street and then have it torn up and repaved.”
She added, “But you really can’t keep that money in some type of fund and let it grow unless you have some type of large project and a goal that you are working toward.”
“Prioritizing certain areas in town is something that you can do,” Flannery suggested. “Then you can go out for bids to have it done. You really shouldn’t be letting it build up to a large amount of money.”
Mayor Bill Fox added, “The sewer project has been finalized and it’s over with. The street committee should go out and make a list of those streets and decide. . .”
Councilman Matt Ferrebee said, “That’s what we are going to do. Then we will bring it back to council and go from there.”
Councilman Dan Probst said, “We have to remember that our sewer project has a one year guarantee, so we don’t want to patch something that would interfere with that guarantee.”
“But there are still streets out there that don’t interfere with that project,” Wilcox pointed out.
The council entertained the first reading of an amendment to City Ordinance 920.01 (a) concerning utility regulations. The following language will be added to the ordinance in question for clarification purposes: “Active water and sewer” means the occupant shall maintain connection to city water and sewer mains and the flow of water and sewer is not interrupted by physical breakdown of the customer service lines, or by termination of water service due to non-payment of water charges, for a period not to exceed 120 continuous days from the date of interruption.
After a brief discussion, the council approved the measure.
Council voted to reject an insurance settlement for pole damage at the old middle school due to an accident that occurred on Oct. 2, 2011. Noting the $391 settlement did not cover the cost of labor to reset the pole, Councilman Dan Probst made a motion to return the settlement to the insurance company.
Police Chief Owens requested permission to purchase two drug identification books to aid his department in recognizing prescription drugs that fall into the DEA’s scheduling. Probst made a motion to allow the purchase, which was seconded by Councilman Ferrebee. In a roll call vote, all councilman were in favor of the request, with Councilman Casteel voting no.
Under building and grounds, the council approved the second reading of a property maintenance ordinance outlining the guidelines for maintenance of personal property and the procedures for reporting unkempt real estate.
Mayor Fox signed a resolution on behalf of the Paden City Development Authority to accept grant funding in the amount of $6,000 to be used for improvements at the Health and Recreation Building. The community action grant was sponsored by Del. Dave Pethtel (D-Wetzel).
Council re-appointed Patti Casteel, Jim “Cork” Bowen, and Larry Potts to serve on the PCDA for the period of July 1 through June 30, 2013.
Under new business, a committee was formed to review the sick and vacation days for city employees after two councilman expressed an interest in revamping the policies regarding personal time. The three-man committee will review the policy manual and report on the matter in July.
Under old business, the councilmen revisited the matter regarding a $988 storage bill received by the city from the PCDA and an outstanding bill of $200 the PCDA is expected to pay to the city for office rent. Last month, amid numerous disagreements between the city and the development authority, the mayor appointed a committee to serve as a liaison between the entities.
“Myself, Tom Trader, and Matt Ferrebee met and came up with these findings,” Probst reported. “The PCDA is an entity of their own, but they are also an arm of Paden City (government).”
“After further investigation, we found there were no records showing rent was ever paid to the city by the PCDA. There was a rumor that there was a paper floating around that said they should pay rent, but somebody destroyed it. Well, the City Recorder has no record of this ever being charged,” Probst explained. “The PCDA has no record they ever paid rent.”
Wilcox said, “They have never paid rent, but they have never been in the City Building.”
“They have been in the City Building for the past thee year,” Probst said. “The reason why they are in the City Building is because they were appointed to be in the building according to the ordinance. If the citizens don’t want them in this building, we will have to change the ordinance.”
“There was a gentleman’s agreement between the Paden City Maintenance Department and the PCDA,” he further explained. “Clifford (Duke) stores materials that belong to the city at the industrial park, free of charge.”
In exchange for this kindness, the city agreed to provide office-space for the PCDA rent free. “I don’t know who authorized this, but there was a bill sent to the PCDA for rent for $200. We don’t know why it was sent, because council never approved anything like this,” said Probst.
“Why did the development authority bill the city for $988?” Wilcox asked.
“Because whoever sent that bill (from city to PCDA) broke that gentleman’s agreement between the PCDA and Clifford,” Probst said.
He added, “Before we vote on anything pertaining to this, Bob Casteel and Larry Potts will abstain from voting on this. The rest of council will vote and if there is a tie, the mayor will break it.”
A citizen asked, “The police department is here, the sewer board meets here – they all pay money each month. They aren’t a part of the city?”
“They are all a part of the city,” Probst answered.
“Then why don’t they (the PCDA) have to pay?” the citizen replied.
“This committee recommends that as long as the maintenance department uses the storage for free, there should be no rent charged to them (PCDA),” Probst said. “What it amounts to is that they charge the city for storage at a rate of $988 per month, the $200 won’t matter. With this agreement, as far as dollar and cents. . .”
“It needs to be in black and white,” Wilcox interjected.
“If the city decides not to use the storage down there, we will revisit this and they will have to pay rent,” Probst concluded.