Council Passes Salary Increase For Elected Officials
The regular monthly session of the New Martinsville City Council was held Jan. 2, 7:30 p.m. in the municipal building’s council chamber.
Council met with a quorum. Absent members were Councilman Steve Pallisco and Councilwoman Kathryn Goddard. Mayor Steve Bohrer called the meeting to order at 7:37 p.m. Following the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer by Pastor Bruce Taylor, the council unanimously approved the regular city invoices.
As to citizens’ concerns, Earl Smith — long-time city resident and businessman — expressed concerns with unsafe conditions between pedestrians and vehicles on areas of Main Street. Smith read a letter he had submitted to the local newspaper, concerning an incident he and his wife had experienced.
Smith said incidents were becoming more frequent, and if action was not taken, there would end up being a terrible accident.
According to Smith, he and his wife — driving separate vehicles — almost hit two pedestrians and another vehicle as the Smiths were coming home from a funeral.
Smith said one gentleman opened his car door, while carrying a baby, and Smith nearly hit them. Smith said a lady stepped out into traffic, in front of Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith then nearly hit a vehicle pulling out of the WesBanco drive-thru.
Smith said he is working with New Martinsville Police Chief Tim Cecil regarding his traffic concerns.
Mayor Bohrer thanked Smith for his concerns and said council would watch the situation more closely.
A recommendation from Council Committee One to increase the salary of the elected officials — Chief of Police, Street Commissioner, and City Recorder — by $5,000 was unanimously passed by all council present. It was noted by councilman Joel Potts that this is a one time increase for the next four years. He wanted to clarify this wasn’t an annual increase but once for the entire four year period. He also noted that although the funds amount to $15,000, it is actually closer to $20,000 when pension contributions, social security and other factors are added.
A gentleman in the audience posed a question as to why the increase was not higher. Mayor Bohrer explained the city works within its budget, and that is the reason. He also refused to entertain any questions as the matter had already passed.
Another recommendation Committee One, in reference to city-owned vehicles leaving city limits, was tabled until council receives more information.
Committee One called for the first reading of an ordinance to increase the Municipal Fee from $7.50 a month to $10.00. This would be a total of $120 a year for residents. The first reading was held with council members Iris Isaacs and Joel Potts voting in the affirmative and council members Jeff Wright and Holly Grandstaff opposing. Mayor Bohrer broke the tie and voted for the increase. It will now have its second reading at the February meeting of council.
It was noted by Isaacs that she wasn’t really certain she was for the increase, but it was only the first reading and she would think more on it. Councilman Jeff Wright expressed his concerns with the increase and stated he would like to see what the New Year brings in ways to increase revenue.
Committee Three recommended Vance Monroe be promoted from within the street department to the position of equipment operator, effective immediately, with the proper rate adjustment. It was approved unanimously.
Under new business, Francis Headley asked council if there was any assistance available to help dogs that people are leaving out in the extreme cold weather. Mayor Bohrer suggested she call the dispatch with her complaints, and the city can try and get some help from the county. Chief Cecil said to call dispatch, and law enforcement would do what they could.
The mayor also mentioned the ice skating at the Marina. He recommended folks stop by as “it is amazing.” Bohrer compared the scene to a picture of times past. It was mentioned there are many people taking part, and Bohrer thanked those responsible for volunteering their time, efforts and resources to make it happen. “It is really something. They have a fire to keep warm; they have lights donated by a local business, and they have lots of ice skates. If you have some old skates you don’t need, take them there they can use them,” said Bohrer.
Councilman Joel Potts echoed Bohrer’s statement saying, “If you can do it, or if you see one of the people, offer them a few dollars. It is a very good thing they are doing, and we need more people like them. They are providing hot coffee and hot chocolate and snacks, so they can use a few dollars.”
Mayor Bohrer than entertained a motion to adjourn. The next meeting will be held on the first Monday in February, as regularly scheduled.