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MTC sets reopening guidelines

The town of Marlinton benefited from the reduction in traffic during the “Safer at Home” time, as paving of streets and avenues got underway with limited interruption. This corner of Ninth Street and Third Avenue now boasts a smooth surface to go along with the new Discovery Junction. The outdoor stage, above, is nearing completion. J. Graham photo

Jaynell Graham
As restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic begin to be lifted, Marlinton Town Council offered council members and the public three options for attending Monday night’s council meeting.

Access to the meeting was through Zoom and tele-conference, with limited seating options in the municipal auditorium, adhering to social distancing requirements. 

As another step forward, council voted to begin reopening the town office to the public on a limited basis beginning Tuesday, June 2.

Only one person at a time will be allowed in the lobby to conduct business. Others are asked to remain behind the closed door at the stairwell, and to maintain social distancing if two or more are waiting at the same time.

Town employees will return to work and will pick up their work orders at the receptionist’s window.

There will be no loitering in the town offices.

Mayor Sam Felton reported on the improvement to the streets in town.

“Thank goodness we finally are getting some paving done,” Felton said.  “I’m sure it won’t be enough to satisfy everybody, but it is more than I anticipated.”

He advised council that the DOH had brought in a pressure machine to help clear up the standing water problem on Fourth Avenue.

“Even if the water comes up and overwhelms the exit drain, it should go out rather quickly,” he said.

Town Police Officer Ian Galloway reported that he had responded to 52 calls on various issues during the month of May.

He also advised that he has had complaints about activity on Campbelltown Road as well as “people rambling around” in the early morning hours in the center of town.

Councilmember Joe Smith reported that Galloway has completed his 90-day probation period and is now entitled to a raise and benefits.

Galloway also acquired a $12,000 Emergency Management grant for an improved radio system for the police cruiser.

Recorder B.J. Gudmundsson reported that she and Smith had been in touch with town attorney Tom White with regard to the Dilapidated Properties and Vacant Buildings ordinance.

“We actually have gone over all the work Mr. White has done and the recommendations for amending the ordinance,” she said.  “After looking at everything, Joe and I feel that Mr. White is on the right track. We looked at the ordinance and picked it apart. We found that there was a discrepancy in the make-up of the Building Maintenance Board, so we will make sure that every place it is referenced is consistent.

“Another thing that Joe brought up was how to address vacation homes.”

Gudmundsson said there are some family owned homes in town that are only used on rare occasions, but the owners have caretakers to maintain the property.

“We don’t want such residences to be labeled as vacant properties, because they are not,” she added.

Gudmundsson advised council that the Dilapidated Buildings and Vacant Structures ordinance will be ready for a first reading at the July meeting.

As the community continues to feel the effects of the pandemic, it was noted that Pioneer Days and Durbin Days have been canceled for this year. These events are major fundraisers for organizations that support their communities, so that is an additional loss.

Council delayed any decision with regard to canceling activities for July 4th.

It was noted that, if the governor’s Stay Safer at Home order remains in place, as well as the limit of 25 persons in gatherings, July 4th activities will have to be canceled. A decision will be made in mid-June.

Action with regard to selecting Bond Counsel and Legal Counsel for the proposed Sewer System Improvement Project were tabled until July to allow time to gather more information. 

Council approved payment of invoices in the amount of $62,776.14 for the Water Improvement Project. That amount included $49,776.14 for the purchase of an excavator.

Marlinton Town Council meets the first Monday of each month, holidays excluded, at 7 p.m.

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