Bath Council sets special meetings about courthouse & police issues
When they met on Monday, May 7, the Bath Town Council scheduled two special meetings.
The first - on Monday, May 14 at 5:30 p.m. – is to discuss the possible inclusion of town offices in the new courthouse.
The second – on Wednesday, May 16 at 1 p.m. – is to discuss police issues with the Chamber of Commerce, Travel Berkeley Springs and local business owners. Both meetings will be held at Town Hall.
The council also heard a proposal for new telephone service for town offices, and a proposed new ordinance governing the chaining and sheltering of dogs.
Offices in new courthouse?
Mayor Susan Webster talked about discussions with Morgan County Commissioners, who are against the town offices being located in the new courthouse, and discussions with Governor Joe Manchin, who is in favor of the idea. Another meeting with the governor is scheduled for May 17.
Webster said the town is considering submitting a formal request to County Commissioners for approximately 1,500 sq. ft. of office space to house current town offices in the new courthouse. The police and Water Works would remain in their present locations. The estimated cost is $350,000, which would be paid by the town.
"I am very optimistic that we can raise the $350,000," said Councilman and Finance Committee Chairman David Crosby.
"I feel this is worth a serious look. I am very appreciative of the governor's interest in this community," Webster said.
Council referred the matter to the Finance Committee and scheduled a special meeting for Monday, May 14 to decide whether to go forward with the request.
Dog ordinance proposed
Rebecca Mallory presented council with a draft ordinance governing how dogs should be tethered and sheltered when left outside a residence.
The proposed ordinance would prohibit tethering, chaining, tying or restraining a dog to a dog house, fence or other stationary object.
The ordinance defines how a dog may be attached to a running line, pulley, or trolley system, and the required length of the system.
Fenced enclosures would be required to have a size of 100 sq. ft. per dog and be constructed of chain link or similar type materials, with all side enclosed.
The ordinance calls for all outside dogs to be provided with a proper shelter. The shelter must be fully enclosed on three sides, roofed, and have a solid floor. The fourth side must have a door or flap.
Violators would be warned and have 14 days to comply with the ordinance. Fines for non-compliance would range from $50 to $300 and the dog would be confiscated. Fifty percent of all fines collected would be donated to the Humane Society.
Council said they appreciated Mallory's research and work. They referred the draft ordinance to the Ordinance Committee chaired by Council member Nancy Harvey.
Harvey is already working on a dog leash and waste ordinance and will look at merging the two into a comprehensive ordinance.
David Alley of Fibernet presented a proposal to replace the telephone service to town offices. Currently the town gets its phone service from Verizon.
Fibernet is based out of Charleston and currently has 91,000 business lines installed in West Virginia. Fibernet is a competitor of Verizon and has equipment co-located in Verizon central offices.
Switching the service is a matter of making the necessary cross- connections at the central office. Nothing changes on the local side.
Alley claimed the town could save $3,500 per year by switching to Fibernet service. Crosby asked Alley to provide him with a sample Fibernet bill. He said the bills from Verizon have been hard to decipher.
Council voted to allow the Finance Committee to consider the proposal and act on their behalf.
Kevin Hancock reported that the 400 ft. section of new pipe on Fairfax Street, from in front of War Memorial Hospital to Golden Lane, is now in service. This has corrected the water pressure problems that residents on Golden Lane and Fairfax Street were experiencing, he said.
Hancock also said that Water Works had found and fixed two large leaks, one in front of Tari's and the other on hospital hill.
Since the leaks were found and repaired, reserve water levels have increased from 23 ft. to 40 ft. in one tank and from zero to 30 ft. in the other.
The water line replacement project is now 84% complete. The town is seeking a subcontractor to fix the faulty valves on the old water line.
The valves have to be repaired so water can be shut off to the old lines once the new lines are installed. The town is trying to get the valves repaired without exhausting the contingency funds built into the project.
The mayor received a request from the 911 Dispatch Center asking that the town send a letter to the State Historic Preservation Office. The Morgan County Commission is working on a project to build a 250 ft. tower near War Memorial Hospital to enhance 911 radio communications.
Before signing off on the proposed project, the state office wants a letter from council saying the tower will not affect the historic district.
Harvey said the tower is outside of the area surveyed for the historic district and council voted to send the letter.
Harvey also noted that the final edit of the historic survey would be completed and submitted to the state by June. She said three properties have been added to the survey.