The Comprehensive Plan process was a communitywide endeavor. The planning commission was made up of volunteer citizens appointed by the governing body to serve in a largely advisory role.
The Marlinton Planning Commission, over a three year period, held open house meetings, solicited stakeholder surveys, invited local leaders to meetings, and made sure to discuss the comprehensive plan during open meetings for anyone to attend. From these numerous meetings, the commission gathered information, analyzed data, obtained input and developed the comprehensive plan for the town.
The final plan was voted on and approved at an Open Meeting and was filed as a public record at the Pocahontas County Court House, August 2019. Beginning on page 4-4, it reads as follows:
Safe Community– Create a safer community.
Objective 1.1 Ensure law enforcement is a priority in the community.
Action Step 1.1.1 Continue to fund at least one town police officer with emphasis on hiring more personnel as needed and funding become available
Action Step 1.1.2 Work with county and state law enforcement agencies, when needed, to ensure safety of the community
Action Step 1.1.3. Reesta-blish a neighborhood watch program. Make sure a plan is developed and volunteers are in place to ensure that it is a long-term endeavor.
Objective 1.2 Provide deterrents and additional safety enhancements
Action Step 1.2.1 Install and monitor surveillance cameras at the park and other targeted public spaces
Action Step 1.2.2. Analyze public lighting options to decide whether existing lighting is sufficient. If existing lighting is not sufficient. Identify where additional lighting would be needed.
Action Step 1.2.3. If new or additional lighting is needed, ensure any new public light fixtures are energy efficient and provide the illumination needed. Consider requiring downward facing sconces so as to minimize light pollution.
The number 1 and 2 Objectives have not changed. In fact, the need is greater now than before. Over the last five years, we have hired five officers and are currently without an officer. The problem is, the Town does not have the budget to accomplish its goal.
Beginning the process of adopting and implementing a Municipal Fee for Public Safety is a last resort – that is past due. A Municipal Fee to adequately fund a police officer, at a competitive salary, and to provide additional enhancements to assist in growing a professional department is the most logical and timely approach.
I will seek community support to secure and maintain the safety and security of the Town of Marlinton.