Pine Grove City Council discussed the possibility of obtaining a town police officer at their meeting Monday-their first regular meeting in three months.
Mayor Brian Price stated that he has been looking into the matter for a while now. Price explained that if Pine Grove hires a cop who is solely a cop for Pine Grove, then he or she would need at least "40 hours a week to survive." On the other hand, "If we have an (off-duty) sheriff's deputy, they want to work at least three hours a week to work out here."
Price explained that if the town hires a cop soon, he could get a vehicle donated. Also, a large portion of the money that comes in through fines such as tickets, would go to the town as revenue. Price stated that he believed the cost to the residences would be approximately $60 a year, which would be $5 a month. These were the costs on a similar ordinance that was written in 1996. Price stated he did not believe the figures changed much since then.
Council members voted for the measure to be written up as an ordinance by the town's attorney, Gary Rymer. At the next meeting, residents may attend to voice their opinions on the matter.
Dee Cain of Wilson Run appeared before the council concerning several matters, the most pressing being the damage several of his appliances suffered due to the town's water leaks.
Cain stated that although he is not technically within the town limits, he is the last on the line and pays a water bill. Cain stated that there have been three prior water leaks and "every time we get a leak, I get the mud." With a most recent incident, Cain says his washing machine, hot water tank, and refrigerator were all filled with mud.
Cain said he understood that Mayor Price contacts his workers and orders them to let the people know about mud coming through the lines, but added that he was never contacted.
"I have pictures that I want to show . . . everything has been shot. It's happened three times. I let it go three times. The last time it happened, I had to bring it up again. I get tired of having to put out the money to fix this stuff. I know Brian (Mayor Price) and Kim (Recorder Bates) said they looked into having it broadcast somehow," Cain added, referencing the possibility of citizens being alerted about water leaks through the news.
Price stated that since talking to Cain, he has gone through the city by-laws to see what the town can do legally. He said that the by-laws read that the town should not be held liable. Cain responded by stating that two years ago, a motion was made pay for his hot water tank when there was another leak. Recorder Bates stated that this was done as a courtesy, with Price adding that according to the by-laws, the city is not required to do that. "I'm trying to do everything by the book," he stated, before adding, "I've talked to a lawyer, talked to several people. I've read the rules."
He added, "Like Kim said, they've done it before to keep the peace."
Price also stated that he's changed a couple of things about the protocol that is covered when there is a water leak or water shutoff. "If we have a leak or have to shut down for anything, if we have to separate a pipe . . . no one is going to have any water. We are going to flush the hydrants before we turn the water back on." He added, "It's going to be a process, but hopefully we can fix this, eliminate the problem that Dee is having and flush the hydrants at the same time. I've talked New Martinsville and Shortline, and they went through all the steps and found that this was the best thing to do."
Councilman Tom Dulaney then recommended that the city contact the city's insurance company. "Maybe they can take care of it. That's what we pay them for," he stated.
It was then agreed that the city would contact their insurance company to see what they could possibly do for Cain.
As for an alert system for future incidences, Price said that contacting residents door to door would probably be the most feasible option. "I did some checking, and to have an alert system like the schools have . . . Frontier came here and met with myself and Kim. The cheapest version is $10,000 to $12,000." Price explained that to contact more individuals, the cost would be approximately $50,000. "It's not really an option we can do," he stated.
Cain had several other concerns on his list, including the town's garbage truck; he explained that the garbage is piled by the city's Family Dollar Store and "when the wind blows, it blows everywhere."
Price explained it is going to cost $10,000 to $12,000 to bring the city's garbage truck "up to date."
"We are running off of a dumpster. We got a dumpster and the Solid Waste Services and they have four drivers," Price explained. Recorder Bates further explained that on Tuesdays city workers are using regular trucks to pick the garbage up from residents' houses. The trucks are then dropping the garbage off to the Family Dollar dumpster. The solid waste is then picking up the garbage from there to take it to the landfill. Bates explained that the city is in the process of trying to get another truck.
After the update on the garbage truck, Cain then asked about possible park upgrades for the town, asking if people would be allowed to volunteer time and materials for the park.
Price had no issue with this, stating, "Anything that you or someone wants to do, if you want to volunteer your time or donate something . . . If it is going to better the park, we'll do it. If we can fix the park up, we'd love to do it."
"We appreciate anything we can get," Bates added.
Price stated he had recently taken basketball backboards to Valley High School, who painted the VHS logo on them. The backboards are now at the park, though Price added that the basketball court itself is in need of repairs.
Cain added that he has a young son who wants to get out the house and go to the park. "We need a park," he said. "I'll come in here and put it up myself."
"If you can get it," Price stated, referencing materials for the park, "We can have the guys of Pine Grove do it."
Cain then mentioned water bills. "The people that live here have a water bill every 30 days . . . The water bills need to be paid within 30-60 days after the due date. The water bill should be taken care of, because it's hurting the people of Pine Grove."
Cain and Price agreed that everyone has been late on bills before, with Price stating, "The last thing I want to do is pull someone's meter." He added, "I've stayed within by-laws, sending termination notices. Not because we are wanting to pull it, but if we keep doing it, it gets higher and higher. If we put fear . . . they'll pay a little bit."
In another matter, Price stated that when the city was audited, "the auditor said that for Pine Grove to be up to date and to have more order, Kim (Bates) needs to have QuickBooks for the computer set up." The council then voted for this necessary program.
At the closing of the meeting, Councilman Dulaney complimented Recorder Bates on her work, stating, "We can all speak for what the lady is doing. The audits speak for what she is doing."
Bates complimented Price for his work as mayor thus far, stating "Brian has taken a big interest in the town of Pine Grove. He really has, so maybe he can help out