Drug Store Demolition Is Approved
New Martinsville Council and Department Meetings
By Ed Parsons
Councilman Joe Smith made a motion to proceed with the demolition of the old Thomas Drug Store building located on North Street next to the railroad tracks. A second to the motion was made and council unanimously voted to proceed. During the department head meeting prior to the regular council meeting, Building Inspector Joe Hanna informed council Jim Klug Excavating was the low bidder on the project.
Hanna said almost everything is in place to get started, but they need to get some portions of the contract itemized before they can get the grant. He also said that he was in contact with CSX. According to Hanna, they sent him an email with an application for the city to fill out and return for a “Right of entry.” He said this would give them the right to go on CSX property in case they need to clean anything off the tracks or cause any damage. He added CSX wants the city to pay $1,200 with the application. The City decided it would be best to move forward without the application.
In other business, Councilman Joel Potts announced the Hrydro sub-station is getting upgrades and improvements in 2020. At the department head meeting, plant Superintendent Kevin Marciniak said the crane at the plant is messed up and they are back to square one. He said they have an outage scheduled for September 28 through October 20 at which time they will get several things worked on. He also informed council they are understaffed and have one operator retiring in December. Marciniak said he will be taking applications for the position soon. He said with the crane down it has become a safety issue because they can’t stop logs without a crane. On a positive note, Marciniak reported they were three percent over their estimate in generating power in August.
John Lasure appeared before council with four complaints from his neighborhood on East Foundry street in Brooklyn. Lasure said the city leased water to Antero, who operates 24/7, and Antero making a lot of noise. He said he is retired and likes to sleep in, but they are making it hard to sleep by blowing their horns at 3 a.m. and playing their radios very loud. He also complained to council about an excessive amount of dust from the trucks when they drive over an area filled with limestone rock.
He said he can’t even wash his car and expressed concern over the dust problem. Lasure said the Mayor had been there and has seen the problem. He added maybe that will help. He said the noise from inside the building where the people work is very loud and he can even hear it when he goes in the house. Lasure also complained about a no outlet sign which is bringing large trucks and other traffic to the dead end street. He wants to move the no-outlet sign and replace with a dead end sign. He was assured council would look into his complaints.
Council approved October 31 for trick or treat, and on a motion by Councilman Joe Smith they approved extending the allotted time a half hour. The time was set at 6 to 7:30 p.m. Boo at Bruce was also set during the department head meeting for October 24, from 6 to 7:30. It will be on Thursday night and they expect between 500 to 700 kids. She also announced the paddle boat at Lewis Wetzel were closed for the season, while Mini Golf at Bruce Park is open on the weekends. She said they are working on a grant for the Lincoln Theatre work. Gibb announced a grant for wheelchair accessibility at the pool for around $7,000 is in the works, which will also include some new lockers. She reported she has some guys from Mon Power trimming and taking out a couple trees at Bruce Park; they will be parking there for now.
Councilman Steve Pallisco reported on the dust problem near Martin Marietta. He said the dust issue by the gravel plant is a real problem and he’s not giving up on it. He said the city is getting prices on a new street sweeper. “We’ve never had a new one, the last one we paid $60,000 for was used and needed repaired as soon as it came in,” he said. It was reported in the department head meeting that several complaints have been received about dust from the area. It was noted that the plant is running a street Sweeper which is stirring up a lot of dust and the residents of the area are having to water down the streets.
Mayor Bohrer reported in the department head meeting that he had been in contact with the state to try and find a solution to collecting unpaid fines owed. He said the state tax department may be able to help. They gave suggestions like going to the magistrate, suspending license, and attaching wages. However, city attorney Carolyn Flannery noted most of those things have been unsuccessful in the past. She said most people who have outstanding fines don’t work and have no property. “It’s not easy to collect,” she said.
During the department head meeting Tom Lemons reported the street department is putting down blacktopping, painting curbs, and working with J. & T. Excavating for a price on paving at North Gate. He said the street department’s backhoe is broke down which is getting them behind. He also brought up continued dust problems and complaints from residents near Martin Marietta.
Pat Durant Water Superintendent reported the water and sewer project outside the city building is moving along. He said they will be using a bore machine to go under the road. He added they have been rerouting vehicles to keep access to downtown and the court restaurant. He said he has no idea how long they will be until it’s finished. Durant gave council the proposed water and sewer increase and Councilman Ryan Yost rea it for the first reading. It was approved unanimously by council with the next reading to be held on October 17, during the regular monthly meeting.
Councilman Jeff Gieseke reported they are still trying to hire police officers. Out of four recent candidates, only two have qualified so far. Councilman Ryan Yost reported the the fire department would like to replace a pump truck and another vehicle sometime next year.
Councilwomen Iris Issacc presented council with a clarification concerning the witholding of money from employees during their work probation period. She made it understood that new employees need their money just like everyone else and they all agreed to hold off on it until the police department has their meeting.
City Recorder Kim Whiteman announced they have been working on the application for home rule and it is now in Charleston on their desk waiting on approval. She said they are expecting to hear back form them anytime. She also reported she has had some problems and lost all of her e-mails.
Officer Tim Chichick reported the police department is still shorthanded and currently have two officers at the state police academy. He said with school resource officers back in the schools, it is causing a lot of overtime and the officers are averaging around 16 hours overtime a week.
At the beginning of the regular meeting, council unanimously passed the minutes from the August, 2019 meetings and approved the invoices. The next regular scheduled meeting of council will be held on October 7 at 7:30 p.m.