Town negotiating with Country Inn over back taxes
The Town of Bath council and town’s attorney Richard Gay went into executive session for 36 minutes at the Tuesday morning, September 20 meeting to discuss ongoing negotiations with the Country Inn for payment of back taxes and fees owed the town.
After the executive session ended, the council voted to give Gay the authority to continue negotiating.
The Country Inn owes the town approximately $42,000 in back hotel-motel taxes, garbage fees, street fees and penalties and interest from 2009 through June 2011, Gay said.
The Inn is disputing the penalties and interest and some of the garbage fees, he added.
A special meeting concerning this issue is set for Thursday, September 29 at 5:30 p.m. The council may decide to go into executive session during the meeting if necessary, Mayor Susan Webster said.
Harrison Avenue problem
Harrison Avenue resident Cathy McCumbee spoke to the council about problems with the street left over from the recently completed water line replacement project.
McCumbee said the parking area along the street in front of her home was a mess and a drain had clogged with gravel and had to be opened by the water department. She said there is still too much gravel around the drain.
“It’s just a total disaster, the whole mess. I mean it is not done professionally. It needs to be straightened up,” McCumbee said.
Town Clerk Margie Allgyer said she has reported the issue to Chief Water Operator Terry Largent for him to pass on to the contractor, Thrasher Engineering.
Webster assured McCumbee the problems would be taken care of either by the contractor or by the water department.
Building permits questioned
Councilman Andy Swaim questioned whether the town’s building permit process included inspections to ensure residents receiving building permits were not encroaching on town or state right-of-ways or on other people’s properties.
Councilman Kenny Easton said the Ordinance Committee then chaired by former Councilman Jim Slough had been drafting a new ordinance last year before Slough’s illness and his resignation from the council.
Easton said he would ask Slough for a copy of whatever work had been done on a new building permit ordinance.
Webster said one possible solution would be to include an inspection fee with building permits to pay for someone to do onsite inspections.
Allgyer said street cleaning before the Apple Butter Festival is scheduled for Tuesday morning, October 4. The Town of Bath requests that residents not park on Washington or Fairfax Streets that morning.
The Board of Risk Management insurance surcharge could be reduced if the town created a safety committee, wrote safety policies and completed paperwork required by the Board, Allgyer said.
She said there was one accident recently when a town worker fell while picking up garbage at Hunters Hardware and was transported to War Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.
Allgyer said Trinity Ashbury Church on Wilkes Street has contacted the town about paying half the cost for paving an alley owned by the town next to the church. The church is repaving the adjacent parking lot and wants to have the alley repaved at the same time.
The cost to the town is $1,050. The item will be put on the agenda for the October 4 meeting.
The town received a letter from the U.S. Postal Service asking for public input on an Area Mail Processing study being conducted by the Service.
Allgyer asked the Council to submit a letter in support of keeping a Post Office in Berkeley Springs and keeping the mail processing center in Martinsburg.
Webster said the town is looking for volunteers to work on this year’s Old Fashion Christmas in Bath. A committee has been formed to plan the event and has held several meetings.
Anyone interested in working on the committee should contact Allgyer at the town office.
Visit by WV First Lady
Webster said she gave West Virginia first lady Joanne Tomblin a tour of the town when she came for the grand opening of the Berkeley Springs State Park Bath House on Monday, September 19.
Included in the tour were the Streetscape projects on Wilkes and Mercer streets, the Ice House, Train Depot and several local businesses.
“When someone like her comes here, especially from as far away on the other end of the state as you can get, and they see us, we become people and it really means something. That face time is very important,” Webster said.
The Council approved a resolution to spend $3,300 left over from a grant to improve the Municipal Center on new flooring for the town office and a dehumidifier.
Another resolution was approved by the council to allow the Streetscape Committee to apply for a grant for energy efficient street lighting along the new sidewalks on Mercer Street.
Councilman Scott Merki said he has not heard from GHS Contracting on when construction will start on the retaining wall behind CNB Bank. The Council asked Merki to instruct GHS to put off repairing the wall until after the Apple Butter Festival unless he can start right away.
Meeting time change
The Council held a special meeting on Wednesday, September 21 to pass an ordinance changing the time of the second meeting of each month from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Town of Bath Council meetings are now held the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 6 p.m.