Durbin Council looks to improve DDHF

The carnival at Durbin Days Heritage Festival did not live up to expectations this year and at its regular meeting August 12, Durbin Town Council discussed ways to change the festival.

The mayorless council was led by chairperson Mike Vance, who said he believes council should organize a committee to focus on the festival for next year.

“We’ve got to do something different,” he said. “We’ve got to change the whole program. This carnival really put the boats to us. He was supposed to have five adult rides, five kiddie rides, and cotton candy and things, but his son didn’t bring his truck.”

DDHF coordinator Donald Peck said that the carnival owner did not meet the requirements of the contract which left the festival without several staple items, including cotton candy and funnel cakes.

Former Durbin resident Jerry Nelson asked if the bill was paid in full since the carnival did not meet the needs of the town.

“I’m sorry to say, but the ball got dropped somewhere,” he said. “If that guy was supposed to bring five adult rides and five kids rides, and this and that, did we pay the bill? If there’s a contract there, and he didn’t hold up to his end of the deal, we don’t owe him that full amount.”

Nelson’s question was not answered. He continued to explain that although he lives in Lumberport now, he is willing to serve on a committee and has several ideas for upcoming events in the town.

“My heart is still here in Durbin,” he said. “I want to be here to help. Donald, you’ve done very well, but I think it’s time that we all need to stick together and make it better. We need to start here tonight. I’ve got several ideas. My goal is to have a log loading contest. You have to involve the whole family before it will work. Deep down, we’re all family here whether you move away or not. This is where the roots are. I’d like to see it build up.”

Council did not take action on the Durbin Days Heritage Festival, but did agree to form a committee for the 2015 celebration.

In updates:

• Council discussed a billing issue with Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity. Council and Habitat have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding use of the bunkhouse during the month of July.

The MOU states that the town may use the bunkhouse in July for Durbin Days and the town will reimburse Habitat for water, sewage and electricity for the month of July. Former town recorder Danielle Findley explained that there is a discrepancy in the reimbursement amount.

Findley said the Habitat office was contacted on several occasions to settle up with the town on the 2013 bill and now the 2014 bill has been added to the amount to be paid.

“In that MOU, it doesn’t say a certain dollar amount, it just says that we would reimburse them for the amount of the bill,” Findley said. “To me, that would imply whatever the bill is, that’s what we’ll reimburse them, but they want to charge the town two-hundred, forty dollars for the month of July and the bills are actually around sixty dollars.”

Council tabled the issue until the special meeting Wednesday, August 20, to allow Habitat representatives to be present at the meeting.

• Bartow-Frank-Durbin Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad fire chief Buster Varner reported that the state fire marshal recently inspected the BFD fire houses in Durbin and Green Bank, and he was pleased with the state of both stations.

Varner also gave an update on the fire department in general.

“We updated with some newer trucks and we’re going to sell some of our older trucks,” he said. “Right now, we can roll out with seventeen thousand gallons of water which makes a big difference on fires. One of our things we’re trying to do is get our Class 9 down to a Class 8 in our service area which is six miles from the station.”

Varner said if the classification changes, that will mean the upper end of the county will have continuous coverage from both stations – from the top of Cheat to Dunmore. It also means insurance costs will decrease for homes in that coverage area.

BFD hired EMT Aleisha Cassell to work between the two stations, ensuring that someone is always at one of the offices.

“She’s at Durbin Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and she’s at Green Bank station Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Varner said. “We’ve got her employed to try to speed up the process. If we have an accident, we can get her out there quicker. We’re hoping to do more.”

Varner said people have a misconception about what it takes to be a volunteer firefighter.

“It’s more to it than just going over there and jumping on a truck,” he said. “People have no idea how much training the firemen have to do. You have to have CPR, First Aid, defensive driving, fire officer classes, Section 1, Section 2, HAZMAT, all of that stuff you have to have before you can even get on the fire truck and respond to a scene.”

In the past year, BFD responded to 97 calls which ranged from medical emergencies, to wrecks and fires.

• Vance updated council on David Cain as the town flood control coordinator. He said Cain attended training in Charleston and brought an updated map back to the town office. Vance added that he was surprised that the floodplain in Durbin is smaller and a lot of places that were previously considered in the floodplain are no longer in danger.

• Council tabled appointment of a new mayor and new recorder. The matters are set for a special meeting August 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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