PC Council Approves First Reading of Fee Increase
PADEN CITY — City council approved the first reading of a proposed increase in municipal fees, gave a thumbs up to a horror movie and signed onto dates for the upcoming municipal election.
During Monday’s meeting, Mayor Joel Davis addressed City Hall’s need to tighten its belt so as, possibly, that a fee increase may not be necessary. However, Davis conceded that expenses have increased while revenue remains flat.
“I am investigating ways to decrease spending and other ways of saving money,” he said. “Since the rate increase is not going to go into effect until May, I wanted council to know I was looking into it in case they wanted to postpone it. As I said, I don’t know if I will find enough to warrant not raising the rates, but I feel I owe it to the citizens to give it a look.”
If council approves a second reading of the ordinance at the March meeting, municipal fees would increase $4 across the board for residential, commercial and industrial property. There will be a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. prior to the next council meeting on March 6. If the fee increase is approved at the March meeting, the rate increase would go into effect May 1.
In other business, council approved a request from a production company to film a horror movie in Paden City. Davis explained that though the movie has a theme that addresses problems associated with the drug epidemic, the film would not portray Wildcats’ town in a negative light. He said the New Jersey based film production company pledged not to block traffic or harm anything. Local people may be hired as extras and the company, which has produced top quality films, is certain to spend money on goods and services from local businesses.
In other news, council approved dates associated with the upcoming municipal election on June 1. The ballot will hold races for three council seats and recorder. Interested parties have to file by or before April 3.
During Public Works Superintendent Josh Billiter’s report, he talked about a pair of the city’s aging water tanks that need to be replaced. He said the city should have 3 days worth water in storage in the 90-year-old tanks, but recent water leaks were able to quickly deplete the tanks’ reserves within 18 hours that left certain parts of the city high and dry recently.
Billiter said several years ago, the city’s water system pumped 300,000 gallons a day whereas now, presumably because of leaks, the system pumps out 500,000 gallons a day. He advocated taking steps to improve the city’s water system, perhaps including rate increases to provide more funding for repairs and meters.
“We have to be proactive with this or we’re going to fall behind fast,” he said.
As to rate increases, the city’s garbage rates will be increasing from $16.01 to $17.45 effective immediately. The state’s Public Service Commission approved rate increased requested by Solid Waste Services. City Recorder Tami Billiter strongly emphasized that the city has nothing to do with garbage rate increases.
Speaking of infrastructure, council will open bids for the Meadow Heights water project on Feb. 16. The project will restore and provide better water pressure for that part of the city. Davis said the project will replace the outdated, thin walled water lines that service the area at this time. Once the lines are in place and along with a new pump, water pressure will be restored.
Council praised PCPD Patrolman Raphe Bailes for saving a man’s life on Jan. 28 after being stabbed in the chest. Bailes joined the city’s police force last year and has experience with Wetzel County’s EMS and service as a firefighter with the Shirley and Middlebourne volunteer fire departments.
Speaking of police, council approved the second and final reading of an ordinance to create a disciplinary hearing board for the police department. The ordinance, which closely resembles state code, will be comprised of police representatives from outside agencies that would provide due process for any incident involving a police officer.
During citizen’s comments, Brad Hibbs of North Fourth Avenue asked City Hall to do something about a neighbor who has built a front porch too close to his home.
“I’m coming here as a last resort,” Hibbs said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Tami Billter said the neighbor did not receive the proper permits for the porch.
Because the city doesn’t have a building inspector, the issue may remain unresolved, Hibbs said.
Davis said he will check with the city’s attorney to see if there is something more the city can do resolve the matter.
Paden City High School’s Students of the Month were honored by council.
December’s students were Levi Goddard and Lexy Glover while January’s students were Isaac Price and Destiny Harrison and Februarys were Aaron Heasley and Matthew Rexroad. More on these students of the month will appear in the next edition.