Marlinton Town Council’s agen-da Monday night contained several items for discussion and or action, and they weren’t just whistling Dixie when it came to discussions. Many and varied issues were worked and reworked during the three-hour meeting.
Mayor Sam Felton kicked off the evening with a report on recent meetings, activities and efforts to lay concerns to rest. One concern, in particular, being the amount of water used at the water slide during the recent Pioneer Days festival.
Monitoring water use and improving the water loss ratio is a top priority for the town, and those efforts have reduced the town’s water loss by one-third and went a long way in acquiring another $1 million in grant funding from the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council (IJDC) for the town’s Water Improvement Project.
Therefore, the town metered the water used at the water slide, and town office manager Star Barlow advised council that the bill has been paid.
Wayne Hypes, of Dunn Engineering, reported on changes that led to increases in costs for the water plant and water system upgrade project.
Hypes said the filters currently used at the water plant are no longer available, and to fabricate one to match those in use would cost $20,000 just for the design plan. In addition, the health department has mandated that the plant come into compliance, which will require that the water plant to have “two of everything.” The building itself will require a lot of repairs, as well.
Repairs to the tank at the plant has, over time, required the use of Bondo to hold things together, as there is nothing left to weld to, Felton said.
Hypes showed photos of the interior of the plant, and despite the outside appearance of the equipment, he assured people that the water contained within the tanks is safe to drink.
“The men at the water plant have done a phenomenal job in keeping it together,” Hypes said.
He also advised council that the plant is beyond its useful life, and in the event of a failure, the town would be put into an emergency situation where water would have to be trucked in, emergency rationing would be called for and the town would be without fire service.
The improvement plan calls for a new tank to be installed at the Mountain View Cemetery location, and pressure reducing valves will be added to allow water from outer systems at Edray and Brush Country to flow back into town in case of an emergency.
The improvements to the system should increase water pressure to homes and businesses in town.
Mark Mitchell, who attended the meeting about another matter, spoke up during the discussion and suggested that the town consider putting in a water refill station at a location along Rt. 219 to relieve congestion on Ninth Avenue caused by trucks waiting to fill large water containers. His suggestion was readily accepted as a way to improve the process, reduce congestion at the water plant as well as provide a more user friendly option for bulk water customers.
Business and property owner Ellen Galford questioned the council about billing for sewer service for one of her apartments that is not being rented at the present time.
Hamilton Hill resident Zed Weatherholt questioned why he was billed for sewer service when he is away for several months at a time, during which the water is shut off to his home.
Felton said it was a complicated matter as the town has to adhere to Public Service Commission requirements, but he will look into the issue as the town tries to be fair in its dealings with its water and sewer customers.
Mitchell presented a proposal to the town with regard to the rock wall along Knapps Creek at the water plant.
It was noted that Marlinton contractor Johnny Moore had applied a concrete cap to the wall several years ago which had worked well in stabilizing the wall to this point.
Cement in the wall, which was built in the 1930s, is beginning to crumble, the center of the wall is beginning to bow and stones are falling out.
Mitchell has pressure washed and repaired the wall at the upper end near his Knapps Creek Trout Lodge.
He said he would pressure wash the rest of the wall and then put in new mortar to stabilize the rocks.
Council agreed that, if the wall ruptured, it would be a big problem, and agreed to pay Mitchell $4,800 to get it back in shape.
Luci Mosesso appeared before council on behalf of the local Create Your State project which proposes to revitalize communities through art. Applications are due by August 15, and, if selected, the committee would have to pay $500 for a three-hour training program to be held at the Pocahontas County Opera House.
Council agreed to a commitment of $300 to support the project, if it is selected.
In other business, council:
• Had the second reading of the Amended and Re-enactment of the Town of Marlinton Building Ordinance
• Discussed changes to the Health and Sanitation Ordinance
• Agreed to meter water usage by the Marlinton Fire Department for information purposes only as part of the water loss monitoring process.
Council meets the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in council chambers on the second floor of the municipal building.