Marlinton business owner and former councilmember Mark Strauss addressed Marlinton Town Council at Monday night’s meeting about areas of concern within the town.
Strauss had provided a list of issues to council prior to the meeting. Those issues ranged from abandoned vehicles, lack of inspection of rental properties, stop signs and street signs that need to be repaired or replaced, to suspicious and dangerous activities.
Mayor Sam Felton agreed that there are problems.
“I can’t argue with much of what you said,” he said. “I agree with you whole- heartedly. We gain ground in some places, and find a bigger mess somewhere else.”
Recorder B. J. Gudmundsson noted that some of the issues go beyond the scope of the town’s ability to deal with them.
She said she had forwarded Strauss’ concerns to the sheriff and the county health department.
“We need to have a forum to kick these things around,” she said.
Felton agreed that a special meeting would be the way to begin addressing the issues.
Councilmember Gail Hyer thanked Strauss for coming to the meeting and speaking up.
“I promise you, we will do something,” she said. “It may not be tomorrow, but we will do something. Thank you for bringing the problems to our attention. We can’t be everywhere.”
Katie Workman, chair of the Planning Commission, was at the meeting to give an update on that body’s work.
“There are a lot of action items which are making great progress,” Workman said. “And there are several items that require action from council.
“As you look at the plan, as things come up in meetings, just because there is not a specific item in the matrix, does not mean it is not included somewhere else in the plan.”
Workman said the Planning Commission would be interested in overseeing rental compliance within the town.
She said the committee would take on that duty if it falls into the realm of their authority to do so.
“A sound housing authority and well maintained properties are important to making the town attractive and safe,” she said.
Workman said that many of the issues presented by Strauss are addressed in the Comprehensive Plan.
She asked that the Planning Commission be allowed to take the lead in a special meeting/forum to begin to address the problems.
Continuing in town improvement mode, Leslie McLaughlin, who recently moved her Cackling Hens business to Third Avenue, addressed council about the condition of the “music building” which fronts on Main Street. The back of the building is visible from her location, and it has fallen into disrepair.
Felton said he talked with the owner of the building and told him, “Something’s gotta give.”
The owner said he would be in town by the end of the week, and that he would sell the building for $50,000, if anyone is interested in investing in it.
In other business
• Hyer advised council that the town’s website is now live at townofmarlintonwv.com
• Council approved the Second Reading of Amended Title IV Building Ordinance Title 7 Dangerous or Unhealthy Structures.
• Approved the Second Reading of Amended Title IV Building Ordinance Chapter 11 Vacant Structure Code.
• Addressed the need for a public auction of the H Building on Main Street.
• Advised that the August 15 Block Party requested last month by S&D Diner owner Dennis Wilfong had been cancelled, in accordance with the Governor’s directive concerning large gatherings.
• Approved payment of invoices totaling $32,276.07 for engineering, construction and administrative costs for the Water Improvement Project.
• Approved $54,714 from remaining funds in the infrastructure grant for installation or 529 radio-read water meters.
• Reinstated the pause on late fees and water cutoffs for 90 days.
• Agreed to contact the Department of Highways to request stop signs on the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Third Avenue.
• Approved a motion for a complete audit of Discovery Junction funds and spending.
• Gifted the Dog Tax, $364.50, to the Humane Society of Pocahontas County.
Marlinton Town Council meets the first Monday of each month, holidays excluded, at 7 p.m.