Water rates in Marlinton will increase by 8.3 percent this fall as the town begins the next phase of water system improvements. During Monday night’s special meeting, Council unanimously voted to proceed with a loan application for $415,000 to pay for design work on water system upgrades.
The Water Development Authority loan is considered a “bridge loan,” with a term of 20 years and three percent interest. The loan will be paid off when better project financing is approved through state agencies.
Engineer Fred Hypes, with Dunn Engineers, recommended that Council obtain the loan and proceed with design work on the upgraded water system. Hypes said progress on design work would improve the town’s chances of obtaining grant money through the Small Cities Block Grant (SCBG) program.
Region IV Executive Director John Tuggle told Council it had little choice other than to move forward with the loan application. The director said said the water system project must be completed or the town “won’t have a water system.”
Even if Marlinton does not receive SCBG funding, the design work will be finished and other funding can be obtained, said Hypes.
Town water rates will increase to approximately $57 per billing cycle, every two months, after the loan is issued.
New health & sanitation ordinance approved
On a split-vote, Council approved an updated health and sanitation ordinance on first reading. Mayor Joe Smith broke a tie and voted with councilmembers Norris Long, David Zorn and Loretta Malcomb to approve the updated ordinance. Recorder Robin Mutscheller and councilmembers Sue Helton and Lousie Barnisky voted in opposition.
The new ordinance incorporates the state building code as the town building code. The ordinance includes provisions for building inspections, removal of unsafe structures, abatement of nuisances and standards of premises maintenance. The law gives the town building inspector the authority to enter property, following advance notice to property owners.
Copies of the new health and sanitation ordinance are available at the town office. It will take effect if approved on second reading, which is anticipated during the Council meeting on September 1.
Also during Monday’s special meeting, Marlinton Fire Department employee J.P. Duncan provided Council with a list of needed fire-safety related repairs, including fire hydrants. Mayor Joe Smith said some progress had been made on painting of fire hydrants and brush clearing around hydrants.