Citizens Address Concerns At Paden City Council Meeting
The Paden City Common Council held a regular meeting on June 3 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of the municipal building. The meeting began with the approval of the minutes from the May 6, Lay the Levy Council Meeting. The motion to approve the minutes was quickly carried. Following the passing of this motion, Mayor Clyde Hochstrasser opened the floor to citizen comments and concerns.
Miranda Sine approached council first on an issue she reportedly has continually brought to the council for some time. Sine explained there is a nine inch drop washout in her driveway that is only steadily worsening. She said while she has told council this and explained the severity on several occasions, one is not fully aware just how dire the situation is until they see it with their own eyes.
Sine told the council she is a distributor for a new skin product, and customers come to her home everyday. Whenever new customers come to her residence, they complain about how terrible the conditions of the driveway are; her father is also reportedly unable to drive to her home anymore. Sine provided pictures of the road for the council.
Sine noted they came on July 12 of 2018 and ground off half of the street, but took no other actions.
Sine also said when it rains, broken asphalt washes down the driveway. She explained they are unable to get to the area they dump the asphalt pieces in the yard as it’s too muddy and wet. She also expressed that this pile of asphalt was “huge” and the family was forced to clean their drains again.
Mayor Hochstrasser informed Sine he and another individual would come and measure the washout when they are both able to arrange time off. He assured her it will get paved along with Sixth Avenue and possibly part of First Avenue depending on how much they receive from bids.
Deborah Hood then approached council. She questioned the state of PCE in the water and what actions the city was taking to rectify the issue. While Hochstrasser reported he had already explained this multiple times, he again told her new pumps and lines will be installed within the month. It was also said that at the time of the last reading roughly two weeks ago, the reading showed 6.6 parts per billion (ppb) of PCE in the city’s water supply. The limit is 5 ppb, however he said it was not considered emergency levels.
Hood asked when the PCE issue will be fully solved, and Hochstrasser told her it would be solved as soon as they receive $500,000 from the USDA. He said he doesn’t have the power to make the government move any faster. However, it was said both Manchin and McKinley’s offices have been involved in the process and are attempting to push the issue through. Hochstrasser told all present they had “gone after every dime” available, but these funds were still necessary to completely eradicate PCE from the city’s water supply.
It was reported they had recently installed a pump. Unfortunately, this pump was too big and blew seals. The town was then forced to spend more money to re-seal it. The new pumps to replace this one will reportedly be installed within one to one and a half weeks, depending on how quickly they are able to acquire the parts. When asked, a Thrasher represenative explained the pump will only take about an hour to install.
While the city waits for the funds to arrive from the USDA and until the new equipment can be installed, they will also re-strip in an attempt to lower the levels of PCE, which Hochstrasser said would work “in theory”. These actions, according to Hochstrasser, are an experiment that the city is trying to hopefully lower PCE readings.
While Hochstrasser said they do all that they can to speed the process up, but it still takes time.
Following this explanation, Candy Landers then approached council concerning multiple complaints.
Landers said people traveling on four-wheelers on Seventh Avenue is “getting out of hand”. She said she has seen individuals traveling without safety helmets, without tags, with a baby and two passengers on the vehicle, and once an individual was seen riding with his feet over the fenders. When asked, Chief Bob Kendle said it was legal for four-wheelers to be used in town, but a tag is needed. Mayor Hochstrasser stated it doesn’t cost anything to get a tag. One council member said it was legal to ride four wheelers in town, but they are violating the right of procedure, and not the right to ride the four-wheelers. Hochstrasser said this subject is one they “might” need to revisit.
Another issue Landers brought to the council’s attention was the neighbor across from her slings mud up the front of her sidewalk when he drives his vehicle up his hill. She complained she is forced to drive through mud daily, and said something needs to be done on this subject. However, Chief Kendle told Landers since it was the man’s personal property, there wasn’t much he could do to keep him from driving up the hill. Kendle did say the presence of the mud on the street can be dealt with, but he would need to see the man create the mess with his own eyes before he could legally take action.
Landers also asked when the alley with high grass would be mowed. She explained there were three seperate occasions where it was dry enough to do so, but no one came up to take care of this. Landers said the presence of hip-high grass atracks bugs and snakes. Assistant Director of water, streets and maintenance Joe Parrish told her they would come out the following day and fix the issue.
While on the subject of high grass, one citizen said there are a few residences in the city that hardly if ever mow their grass. According to the council, the city is looking into changing the ordinances on this.
Another issue brought to the council was from Jennifer Gorney on the subject of stop signs on Seventh Avenue. Gorney explained that many drivers fail to stop or even slow while going through these streets. This is a concern of theirs as young children live in this area, and these drivers present a threat to the community. Gorney reported they had filed complaints on this subject about three years ago, but nothing had been done.
When asked about the state of the stop signs, it was said the signs are fading and the trees are blocking one sign from drivers view. Hochstrasser told Gorney the vegetation would be trimmed, and the city would look into replacing the stop signs in the future if the issue remains the same.
In the meantime, Hochstrasser suggested they take pictures of the license plates of the cars that fail to stop or slow at the stop signs, and take the matter to court. It was said that they would have to be able to identify the vehicle and/or the person driving, and might have to testify.
Another Paden City resident spoke of the abandoned cars on First Avenue; he said they have been sitting there for over three years now. In regards to this, Hochstrasser said letters are being sent out about this as well as to owners of four properties in the city.
In other business, all bills were approved for payment. Although the levels of PCE in the last reading were already discussed, Parrish again said that the levels of PCE were 6.6 ppb.
Discussion was then held on the water project. A represenative from Thrasher needed action from the council to approve project funds. A motion was made to approve of the funds, and it was carried.
Hochstrasser then told all present about an issue with a water line on Paden Fork. He said while the state was working on paving the road roughly a month ago, they busted the water line. The state is reportedly asking the city put it in three feet under the road as it’s currently not deep enough. However, Hochstrasser said they don’t have the equipment needed to do this. As such, a motion was needed to advertise this project for bid. A motion was made in favor of this following discussion, and it was carried.
Luke Peters from MOVRC then approached council with an update. He explained they are preparing to close on the $100,000 loan from MOVRC on June 7. The initial $35,000 will come out at closing to pay Thrasher, and an additional $65,000 will go towards preliminary design, Peters reported.
The council then discussed the Park and Pool. While many believed the Pool was to open on June 1, it has yet to open for business this year. Hochstrasser said he’d reach out to those running the Pool about this.
A council member then told all present that Dominion was searching for a community service project to do in Tyler County, and suggested that a represenative with the Park and Pool inquire about this.
Following this, one individual inquired about the tractor and what actions were being taken on this. It was while discussing this that the council realized that the minutes of a previous meeting showed that they had made a decision to put it out for bid. As such, Hochstrasser said it needed to go to bid. This motion was carried again.
Under new business, the 2019/2020 park and water budgets were approved. A time was then set for a council meeting to Canvass the vote on June 12, and Certify the vote June 14. It was decided they would meet at 7 p.m. on both nights.
Discussion was then held on implementing a one percent sales tax on purchases residents make within the city. Hochstrasser explained that this is not city tax, but believes it’s on everything purchased. It was said that many surrounding cities were taking the same action including Wheeling, Sistersville, and New Martinsville is said to be looking into this as well. Hochstrasser said this move could generate a lot of income, which he said they were in dire need of. A motion was made for Hochstrasser to look into this, and it was quickly carried.
Sine then inquired about the hotel/motel tax from the motel in town. She wondered if the city has looked into this, as the income could go towards the park and pool. Hochstrasser explained before they look into it, they would have to look into the legal aspects of it since they are being used as apartments now.
The council then discussed purchasing T-shirts for the city crews, and a motion was made in favor of this. The motion was carried.
One council member then made a motion to enter into an executive session. This session lasted about 30 minutes. Following this, the council discussed giving Barb Barker a raise. A motion was made to raise her pay to eleven dollars an hour. This motion was carried. A motion was also made to pay the following people for the vacation days owed: Sheila Ervin, Raphe Bailes, Diann, and Joe Parrish. However, the council declined to take care of Bailes court pay.
The next regular Paden City council meeting will be on July 1 at 7 p.m. in the chambers of the municipal building.