Bath parking meters subject of council discussion

by Trish Rudder

Two decisions will be made at the October 6 Bath Town Council meeting regarding decorating the parking meters in town.

One, the length of time the decorated parking meters are left in place is being considered, and two, the council will decide if the meters must be decorated in a way that the coin slot is left open to prevent moisture damage.

Town of Bath municipal building

Lori Hansroth, executive director of the local Chamber of Commerce, asked the council in a letter that was read by Mayor Scott Merki on September 15 to approve decorating the parking meters on November 22 to 26 and be completed by November 27.

The decorations would be removed by January 4, 2021.

In the past, when the meters are decorated, the town allows parking to be free.

Councilman Rick Weber said because the town has lost funds from the covered meters, it was suggested by the town’s finance committee that the covered meter dates be cut in half and begin on December 15 and end on January 1.

“A lot of income was lost,” he said.

“There will be no parade this year, probably,” said Merki.

Councilman Chris Chapman was weighing both sides: “I understand how far it would put us in the hole, but I lean toward allowing it.”

Merki said “we’re all in this together.” He said a lot of the larger businesses are not doing Black Friday this year.

“It’s tough on businesses; we need to try to help support our businesses.”

Danielle Swope of the Bath Police Department told the council members that the meters have been damaged from the decorations because moisture collects inside, and they are costly to repair.

Councilwoman Rose Jackson said she would talk with Hansroth.

Town Recorder Susan Webster said Hansroth and the Chamber of Commerce members do not know the covered meters cause moisture problems.

Merki said more information is needed and the decision on holiday decorations on the meters will be tabled until October 6.

“Let’s find a way to solve this,” he said.

Trick or treating unchanged

In other town business, Trick or Treating on Halloween, October 31, remains the same as in the past for now, said Councilwoman Rose Jackson. Traditionally, trick or treating takes place in the Town of Bath from 6 to 8 p.m. on Halloween night.

At the September 15 Town of Bath council meeting, Jackson said she spoke with Bill Kearns, Morgan County Health Department administrator, and learned that any change will come from West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and will be based on Covid-19 case growth in the county.

So far, Morgan County is color-coded yellow, which is designated as lower than some other parts of the state. If there is a change that would impact the safety of Trick or Treating, the governor will issue an order.   The health department will be alerted, and town and county officials will be notified.