Bath Council approves buying new trash truck
Councilman David Crosby proposed that Town of Bath buy a new garbage truck and increase garbage pickup rates by 10% to help pay for it.
Crosby, who chairs the town's Finance Committee, made the proposals at the September 18 meeting of the Bath Town Council.
"If we want to keep the (garbage) business in town, there is no other way," said Councilman Kenny Easton, who heads the town's Public Works Committee.
Crosby said that a 10% increase in the rate would still be less than that county residents pay for garbage service. He proposed that the rate increase take effect January 1, 2008.
Crosby said the town can get a five year loan from Comvest, LTD, Inc., a lease-to-purchase company, for an interest rate of 5%. The new truck is expected to cost about $100,000.
The town puts aside $1,200 each month in a depreciation fund and would need another $800 a month to make the payment on a new truck.
Council voted to proceed with the process of purchasing a new garbage truck, but tabled the rate increase until a report from the Public Service Commission is received. The PSC conducted a study of the town's water works last month and their report is forthcoming.
Farmers Market report
Larry Lower, the president of the Farmers Market, gave a report on the success of the Thursday market. The market has run for ten weeks with an average of 223 people visiting each week.
Lower said the market had a lot of repeat business and 95% of the visitors made purchases. He said the Thursday market was a "destination market" where local people come to buy specific products.
The Sunday market attracts 750 to 800 people each week and more tourists than the Thursday market, Lower said.
He asked the council to extend the Thursday market for three more weeks until the end of October. He said vendors are happy with the town's support. He also talked about an initiative to get local businesses involved with the market.
"We want to investigate how the Farmers Market and downtown businesses complement each other," Lower said.
He pointed to a program this year that 16 businesses on Fairfax and Washington streets participated in. The program allowed market customers to show their receipts to downtown businesses to receive a discount.
Lower also noted that Farmers Market
had applied for and received a grant of
$3,500 from the West Virginia Department
of Agriculture for vendor training. The
money is being used to educate vendors on
how to create or improve their internet sites.
Mayor Susan Webster said council is involved with the Farmers Market because public streets are closed on market days.
Council voted to allow Farmers Market to extend the Thursday markets until the end of October.
Chief James Minton reported that parking permits had been ordered for residents on the north end of Wilkes Street for the Apple Butter Festival. In past years, Wilkes Street residents have had problems with parking in front of their homes during the festival.
The plan is to give each resident on the north end of Wilkes Street a parking permit. During the Apple Butter Festival, the north end of Wilkes Street will be blocked off to all but local residents displaying the permit.
Minton asked council to approve three reserve officers to enforce parking restrictions during the festival. Minton said he had three citizen volunteers who will buy their own uniforms.
"We hope this will grow into a police auxiliary," Easton said.
Council is considering whether town police should have a reserve officer force like the Morgan County Sheriff's Department.
Council approved using three reserve officers to regulate parking for the Apple Butter Festival only, with the stipulation that they be provided training on how they should conduct themselves.
"We'll bring them in before hand, talk to them, train them as to what to do out there on the streets, no conducting traffic with cigars in their hands," the mayor said.
Webster tabled discussion of a permanent reserve force until Minton presents the council with a proposal including a budget.
Officer may be deployed
Corporal Craig Pearrell, who is also a Staff Sergeant with the Air National Guard's 167 Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, informed council that he might possibly be deployed sometime next year for active duty. His deployment could last up to a year.
The question of what to do with Officer Butch, the police dog, if Pearrell is deployed was discussed.
Both Pearrell and Minton felt the best option was to house the dog back at Battle Ridge Kennel, where the dog was trained.
Pearrell said Lieutenant Mike Mayes of the State Police in Logan County has agreed to house the dog in the event he is deployed.
Mayes owns the kennel and trained both Butch and Pearrell as Butch's handler.
New parking ordinance
Council had the first reading of an ordinance setting new fines for parking violators.
A public hearing, second reading and possibly a vote to approve the ordinance will be held at the next council meeting on Tuesday, October 2.
The ordinance lists fees starting at $8 for a meter violation and all the way up to $100 for parking in a handicapped zone. If fines are not paid within 30 days, fees increase substantially.
The ordinance lists 16 different parking violations, each with a set fee. Most violations have a fee between $30 and $50. (Examples: parking within 15 ft. of a hydrant - $30, parking on a crosswalk - $40, parking within 20 ft. of a firehouse driveway - $50)
For a copy of the proposed ordinance, contact Margie Allgyer at Town Hall.
Chief Water Operator Terry Largent said the plant is now pumping 650,000 gallons a day and that pumps are running an average of 21.5 hours a day to keep up with demand.
Before the water line replacement project, pumps were running 24 hours a day and pumping 800,000 gallons, which is the plant's capacity.
Largent said water employees continue to find and fix leaks in sections not replaced by the project. He said five leaks were fixed last week.
It will be at least two more months before the town will know whether it can lift the water moratorium.
Webster said the town is working with St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Warm Springs Public Service District and local businesses to split the cost of repaving Bath Street.
Webster said that over the years, construction, water and sewer projects have caused Bath Street to be patched repeatedly. Webster said the town is in the process of getting bids on the proposed project.
Marsh suggested the town expand the bid to include Congress and Independence streets between Wilkes and Washington streets. She felt bids on a larger job would come in lower. Costs for repaving Congress and Independence would be paid by the town.
Webster has talked to Highway Supervisor John Coleman about the timeline for repaving Wilkes Street between Fairfax Street and Rt. 9 West. Coleman said the street should be repaved by April 30, 2008.
Webster said she had talked to Irene Hedrick of the Cemetery Commission about the town annexing Greenway Cemetery. The Cemetery Commission wants the town to annex the property so town police can patrol there.
The cemetery is owned by the town, but is located in the county. There have been instances of vandalism and drivers using the cemetery road as a shortcut and speeding through the property.
If the town annexed the cemetery, tough ordinances could be written that town police could enforce to catch vandals and speeders.
Webster has taken the issue to town attorneys and asked for a quote from a surveyor to survey the 25-acre cemetery. Webster said the shortest route would be to annex a short distance of Johnson's Mill Road to connect the town to Greenway Cemetery.
Town Clerk Margie Allgyer presented Recorder Garnet Marsh with a plaque containing her council name plate and signed by the mayor, council members and town employees as a token of their appreciation for her service.
Marsh announced early this month that she was moving out of town and could no longer serve on council. Her last day is September 30.
Marsh's departure leaves a vacancy on council and on the town's planning commission.
Anyone interested in serving on council or the commission may send a written request to town hall.
Webster said that council will consider any written requests to serve, but council does not have to fill the vacant seat.
The next town election is in June, 2009.