Bath Council moves to annex cemetery
The Town of Bath Council voted to help fund a survey of Greenway Cemetery as a first step toward annexing the property at the October 16 meeting.
Mayor Susan Webster said she had talked to Irene Hedrick, of Greenway Cemetery Maintenance and Management Corporation, about funding for the survey. Berkeley Land Surveying had previously given the town an estimate of $3,400 to survey the 20.5 acre property.
Hedrick told Webster that the corporation could raise half the needed money for the survey and asked the town to contribute the other half.
The corporation wants the town to annex the property so that ordinances can be written and enforced by town police to prevent vandalism and speeding vehicles from cutting through the cemetery. The cemetery is also running out of grave sites and needs the wooded area to the south surveyed to determine the cemetery's boundries.
In order to annex the cemetery, a short portion of Johnson's Mill Road, connecting town property to the cemetery, would also be annexed. Webster said she didn't see any obstacles that would prevent the town from annexing that part of the state maintained road.
After a brief discussion, council voted to pay $1,700 toward the cost of surveying the cemetery.
Webster asked council to consider annexing an 8 acre plot on the ridge behind the Berkeley Springs High School football field above Concord Avenue. Webster said the land was donated to the town over 100 years ago.
If the town annexes the property, Webster said it would put other properties that may be considered for future annexation contiguous to the town. Berkeley Land Surveying has provided an estimate of $1,200 to do the survey.
Councilman David Crosby said he would like to take a look at the property before making any decision on annexation. The issue was tabled until the next council meeting on Tuesday, November 6.
Council also discussed the possibility of annexing the old English Cemetery off of Whisner Avenue. Webster said the problem there is that a deed to the property has not yet been found. The cemetery dates back to the Revolutionary War and a deed may not exist.
Wilkes Street repaving
West Virginia Division of Highways Engineer Robert Amtower told the Streetscape Committee that the Wilkes Street repaving project was still funded and scheduled to be completed by June 15, 2008.
The repaving project on Wilkes Street between Fairfax Street and Route 9 west was originally scheduled to start in July but has been postponed twice. Webster said she asked Amtower to meet with Wilkes Street residents before the project starts to talk about the impact of the project.
Webster also asked Amtower and his staff to look at repaving the north end of Wilkes Street.
"I want to move them to at least getting it designed," Webster said.
Webster asked council to look into streamlining the town's building permit process. At the present time, a building permit has to be approved for posting by the council at one meeting, posted for a week for public comment and finally approved by council at their next meeting.
Depending on when a permit is applied for, it might take as long as a month to get a building permit approved.
Police secretary Barbara Cirigliano has been researching how other municipalities handle building permits.
Council asked the Public Safety Committee, chaired by Dale Lutman and the Ordinance Committee, chaired by Nancy Harvey, to study the issue.
Chief James Minton told council that for the fifth year in a row, the police department has won a safety award from the American Automobile Association (AAA). The award will be presented at a luncheon at Tari's on Monday November 5. Minton invited council to attend.
"I am very, very proud of the Berkeley Springs Police Department. We appreciate all the improvements made in the department," Webster said.
Minton commended the work of temporary reserve officers Daryl Lay, Jim Slough, Dean Vangoshen and Helen Wulzer who each volunteered their time to help with traffic and crowd control during Apple Butter Festival weekend. He also commended Parking Control Officer Gene Kilduff for his work that weekend.
Minton said he talked to Highway Superintendent John Coleman about conducting a crosswalk safety study. The town is considering putting signs in the center of the road at crosswalks to alert drivers that they have to stop for pedestrians. Since Washington Street is maintained by the state, DOH approval is needed.
"We need to think about stepping up enforcement on trucks," Councilman Scott Merki said.
Minton agreed and said they had been stepping up enforcement. He reported that a tractor trailer was recently clocked at 67 miles-per-hour racing through town. The vehicle was chased down and stopped and the Department of Transportation notified. The driver was cited by police for multiple traffic violations and by the DOT for vehicle violations.
Webster reported to council that since the water line replacement project was completed, more problems with leaks have occurred outside of downtown in areas where old galvanized or polyurethane pipes are installed.
She said the increased water pressure in the system due to the water pipe replacement downtown is causing weak pipes outside of the project area to burst.
Webster said council needed to start thinking about a new water project.
Webster was asked if the current drought would cause the town to institute emergency water conservation procedures, as it did last year. Webster said so far, due to the water line replacement project, the pumps were keeping up with demand.
"That doesn't mean people should stop conserving water," Webster added.
Town Clerk Margie Allgyer is trying to schedule a meeting with the Public Service Commission at 3 p.m. on November 6 before the next council meeting to discuss water issues.
The PSC recently completed a study of the Water Department and council wants to discuss the results with the PSC. One of the town's issues is how to implement a more equitable rate system for customers.
Webster said she received a call at home on Friday night, October 12 from Office of Emergency Services Director David Michael. Michael said that an attack had occurred and the Mayor was to report to the Health Department.
Fortunately, this time it was a statewide drill called by Governor Manchin and not a real disaster. The premise for Morgan County was that they had to prepare for an influx of 13,000 people from the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area.
Webster asked the Police and Water Department to prepare lists of resources they would need to handle a real disaster.
The lists will be given to Michael so he can request needed resources from the state in an emergency.
Free leaf pickup
Council announced this year's dates for free pickup of bagged leaves as November 13, 27 and December 4.
Allgyer asked council to approve the expenditure of $1,200 to replace four tires on the town's garbage truck. The truck is five years old and the tires have never been replaced. Council approved the expenditure.
Council also passed Resolution 2007-14, Guidelines for the Town of Bath Council in Accordance with the Code of Conduct for Public Servants. Nancy Harvey, chair of the Ordinance Committee, wrote the resolution to acquaint new council members with ethics guidelines.
Harvey said that Municipal Code Corporation (Municode) of Florida will be visiting the town to meet with town lawyers in November. Municode is rewriting the town's code book. Municode also asked Harvey for a copy of any recently passed ordinances.