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MTC considers cell tower contract

Jaynell Graham

Although Marlinton Town Council addressed a short agenda at Monday night’s meeting, it resulted in decisions intended to improve services to residents and visitors, alike.

In addition to approving $218,031.47 in payments for the ongoing water improvement project, council agreed to forward to its attorney a proposal from T-Mobile to install a cell tower on the roof of the municipal building.

“I believe it’s our duty to raise the standard of living in the town,” Mayor Sam Felton said. “This will give our people another choice for cell service.”

It was noted that T-Mobile cell service is now activated on the cell tower on Old Buckeye Road.

Ownership and maintenance of T-Mobile’s proposed 80 foot tower at the municipal building would fall to the Town of Marlinton, which would receive $800 per month from the company.

Herbie Barlow and Jamie Kellision, representing the Marlinton Fire Department, were present to offer information about the existing tower on the roof of town hall, which has been in place since after the 1985 flood. Kellison also shared information gleaned from discussions and site inspections with T-Mobile about the proposed new tower.

Engineers will inspect the roof for stability on February 6 and, once council receives a report from it legal counsel concerning the terms of the contract, it will move to a vote.

Barlow had other issues to discuss with counsel, one of which concerned representation on council for residents who do not live within town limits, but pay for town services such as water and sewer.

Felton acknowledged that Barlow had a legitimate argument, and that the West Virginia Legislature has a House Bill under consideration which addresses  that particular issue. He also encouraged Barlow to pursue annexation of his property. The process is relatively simple, he said, but must be approved by the county commission.

Several members of the Discovery Junction committee were present for the meeting to present a proposal for a restroom to be included in the design for the proposed park/learning center. The cost for water and sewer, cleaning and supplies for 122 days per year is estimated to be $2,334. As the item was not on the agenda, counsel received the report as information and will vote on the matter at its March 4 meeting.

The committee hopes to begin construction of Discovery Junction in early April. Wages will be an issue as federal funds are included in the grants received for the park.

“We will have to pay Davis Bacon Wages,” committee chair Joe Smith said. “That will cut into our funds real fast.”

But the committee is confident it can complete the project.

Recorder B. J. Gudmundsson reported the names of candidates who have filed for mayor and five council seats for the town election which will be held June 11.

Deadline for filing was midnight February 4, by postmark. To offer equal publicity to all potential candidates, The Pocahontas Times will run a complete list in its February 14 edition.

Marlinton policeman Travis Cook reported on arrests and assists for the month of January, which reflected a decrease in incidents within the town.

In other business, council

• Reported the hire of J. P. Duncan as Municipal Judge. This decision was made at a special council meeting January 23.
• Approved the purchase of a furnace for the town garage.

• Will begin to gather information, pricing, etc. for live stream cameras to be installed along the Greenbrier River and Main Street for security purposes and, more importantly, to encourage visitors to come to the area.

Council meets the first Monday of each month, holidays excluded, at 7 p.m. in council chambers on the second floor of the municipal building.

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