Marlinton Mayor Sam Felton apologized to the Town Council at Monday night’s meeting, saying it was hard to give his mayor’s report in just a few sentences. He said he hoped to streamline it in the future.
The report was lengthy, but it contained many and varied projects, problems, solutions and proposed solutions which have filled Felton’s first days as mayor.
As a nod to his background and a throw-back to years past, Felton opened the meeting with prayer.
“I forgot to do something last time, that I want to do this time,” Felton said. “If there is anyone in the crowd that would be offended by an opening prayer, perhaps you could just step out into the hall for a few minutes. But, otherwise, I would like to have an opening prayer this evening.”
No one left the council chamber.
Felton also has a background in safety, and he has spent a considerable amount of time at the town’s water plant, overseeing its clean-up and the installation of temporary lighting, where, in the past, employees have had to use flashlights.
Karin Cogswell met with the mayor and gave him a copy of the questions from the Woman’s Club’s Meet the Candidates Forum.
“These questions are a good point of reference,” Felton said. “The questions were of interest to town residents as well as to folks living in the outlying areas.”
Felton told the council that many of the areas of concern are now being addressed. One of those concerns is the need to help the youth of the community. Felton said he hoped to have a Summer Youth Program in place by next year.
He asked that the council consider hiring part-time help through the next couple of warm months to address maintenance issues. At the present time, the town is receiving some help from individuals through the Day Report Program.
In talking with J. P. Duncan of the Marlinton Fire Department, Felton said Duncan’s report “indicates a tremendous need for a hydrant repair program.” To get started, the town will address the “quick fixes” before taking on the more costly ones.
To prepare for a response to any possible chemical spill into Knapps Creek, Felton and Duncan plan to conduct a “drift test” to ascertain how long it would take chemicals to reach the intake, which could affect the town’s water supply.
The problems at the burn site at Stillwell were addressed, and plans were approved to install a gate and cameras to prevent illegal dumping and or to identify those who illegally dump. The road at the burn site and to the lagoon will be improved, as well.
In answer to a question from Old Clark Inn owner Nelson Hernandez, Felton reported on the recent West Virginia Film Workshop, encouraging residents to register their unique properties on the website. If a site within the town or county is selected to be a part of a film or documentary, the economic benefits would help area businesses.
With regard to the Fire Fee Ordinance, Felton said the ordinance had too many mistakes at this time to have a second reading.
“We want to make sure it will stand up if it is challenged,” he said.
Felton said he had been pleasantly surprised to learn that 388 folks outside of the corporate limits have been voluntarily paying the fire fee.
It was noted that the town has its own water supply, but the fire department maintains a tanker truck for use in those outlying areas. A large majority of the department’s fire calls are out of town.
The ordinance will be re-written, and Felton is hopeful that it will be well-received by everyone in the fire department’s first response area.
“I think we have reasonable people who know the bills need to be paid,” he said.
The department shoulders a lot of expense in maintaining its services. Even the firemen’s hats and coats have expiration dates, Felton said.
The mayor appointed B.J. Gudmundsson and Don Morrison as business liaisons, to work with business owners who have concerns – either rectifying those issues or bringing those concerns to the council’s attention.
In other business, the council:
· Hired Roger Forman as municipal judge
· Appointed David Johnson as Interim Water and Sewage Operator
· Approved a recycle bin for plastic bottles and cans to be placed at the gazebo
· Heard recommendations from the Beautification Committee concerning plans to improve the appearance of Main Street.