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Past due bills still plague Durbin Council

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

At its regular meeting September 8, Durbin Town Council discussed the ongoing struggle to collect past due bills from residents in the town.

During the discussion, resident Thelma Smith asked council to go into executive session to discuss a billing issue. After a half-hour discussion, the council returned to the regular meeting and councilmember Shelia Varner made a motion to dismiss a past due balance and any new balance for a building in the town.

When treasurer Donald Peck asked why the bill would be dropped, mayor Kenneth Lehman explained the council’s decision.

“Reason being our own building code, Donald,” Lehman said. “The building code states under Section D, Number 1, inadequate sanitation which shall include but not be limited to the following – lack of proper water closet, lavatory, bathtubs, shower, lack of proper kitchen sink, lack of hot and cold running water and plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit.”

In citing the code, Lehman stated the building in question is a sound building, but it is not a dwelling and is not used as a dwelling. The code states that the town cannot charge water and sewer for a building which does not use the services.

“The building is sound,” Lehman said. “It is not a dwelling unit. It does not have electricity. There’s no water connected to it. There’s no sewer connected to it. It’s being used as a storage facility and not a dwelling unit.”

When Peck tried to further press the issue, Lehman said it is a council decision.

“Donald, if you want to be a part of this council, you should’ve run for council, mayor or something else,” Lehman said. “You need to be the treasurer if that’s what you’re going to be.”

The motion passed with three votes for, one opposed and one abstention.

In updates:

• Durbin librarian Nancy Egan addressed the council with several concerns regarding signage around the new Durbin Community Library facility. She said the route signs are blocking the view of the library and she requested the town install two more No Parking signs in front of the library to deter individuals from blocking the front of the building.

Councilmember Mark Smith told Egan the West Virginia Department of Highways is in control of the route signs and not the council.

Lehman said he would contact the DOH and ask if the signs could be repositioned. He will ask about more No Parking signs, as well.

Egan added that she would post a copy of the meeting agendas at the library in order to keep the town informed.

• Durbin Ice Cream Depot owners Pam and David Vanorsdale reported on a new event they plan to sponsor for the town.

“We want to do a pumpkin patch across the road at the campground,” Pam said. “Mark Kane has already told us we can do whatever we want to do over there. We want to do things for the kids, and we wanted to let you know what are plans are.”

The pumpkin patch will be open October 10, 17, 24 and 31. Pam said they plan to have activities for visitors as well as a chance to find a pumpkin to take home. She is currently looking for vendors for arts and crafts, face painting and other activities.

Each day will have a special activity, as well, with the final day, Halloween, having Trunk or Treat for the children from 2 to 4 p.m.

All funds raised during the events will be used for a secret Santa Shop for children.

For more information on the event, look for a story in next week’s edition of The Pocahontas Times.

• Council approved to hire Judy Fuller as the 2016 Durbin Days Heritage Festival coordinator.

• Town worker Bunny Vance updated council on issues in the town. He reported there are several streets signs that need to be replaced, as well as the signs at the lagoon.

• Jason Bauserman reported that he is nearly finished with the restoration of the town jail. He invited council to take a tour of the facility to see the finished product.

Durbin Town Council meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the town hall.

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