The Marlinton Town Council made considerable headway in cleaning up frequent flyer issues at Monday night’s meeting.
Council approved the second reading of the Amended Fire Protection Ordinance moving that process to the next step of publication to receive public input. Two more steps are necessary before implementation of the increase in the annual fire fee for residents within the corporate limits. The fire fee, which was set at $25 per year in the 1970s will, with passage of the amended ordinance, increase to $50 per year.
During the Main Street fire in November 2013, fire departments found it necessary to draw water from the Greenbrier River near the Mini-Park on First Avenue. Discussion concerning the need for a ramp into the river for emergency situations has continued since that time.
Two options have been passed back and forth – one for a minimal outlay of funds to provide stone-stabilized access at an area that offers a natural slope; the second being a more costly access ramp built to Natural Resources Conservations Services’ (NRCS) specifications.
Councilmember Norris Long, a former NRCS employee, drew up a design meeting those specifications a few years ago, but the design can no longer be located and would require a new survey.
Marlinton Fire Department members Herby Barlow and J. P. Duncan were present at Monday night’s meeting and encouraged council to move forward.
“We may never need it,” Duncan said. “But we might need it tonight.”
Duncan said the ramp would seldom be needed, but the department would use it for training, so the squad would be familiar with its use if and when it is needed.
“This has been going on for some time,” Barlow said. “We just want to get it done.”
Council heard the call, and voted to proceed with the more economically feasible stone ramp, at a cost not to exceed $2,500. Once in place, the ramp, over time, could be upgraded to a concrete ramp suitable for foot traffic and convenient boat access to the river.
Duncan provided a report to councilmembers on the recent fire hydrant testing. While there was improvement in pressure at some hydrants, there is still work to be done.
Council referring to the “beginning of work that is long overdue,” set a goal of upgrading the hydrant system by the end of the year with the installation of three new hydrants, which are on-hand, as well as improving the function of a least three older hydrants – bringing them up at least one level on the flow chart.
Mayor Sam Felton and the council have focused these past several months on clean-up of not only town property but private property, as well.
Nelson Hernandez, owner of Old Clark Inn, asked what measures were being taken to make property owners take responsibility for cleaning up their property – rental property, in particular.
Felton said letters had been sent to rental property owners advising that an inspection will be required before a “new renter goes in” and before utilities can be turned on.
“We are doing a lot,” Felton said. “One piece at a time, and it is time consuming. We have moved three cars since the last meeting. We mowed grass, and we are still picking up trash – and there is a lot of trash out there to pick up. It’s going to take a while.”
Felton said people are often overwhelmed by the work that needs to be done. The town is hoping to inspire people by helping them clean up property and mow it, to let them see what it can look like.
In other business
· Council took no action on Charles Malcom’s request for a revision of the Camping Trailer Ordinance to allow him to live in an RV within town limits.
· Approved the Franchise Renewal with cable company Shentel
· Approved a Fourth of July Celebration. Event to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the gazebo with fireworks at dark.
· Approved the purchase of a bike rack for McClintic Library
· Approved $500 donation for helmet testing for the Pocahontas County Youth Football League
Council meets the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in council chambers in the municipal building.