By Jean A. Flanagan
Citing personal reasons, Councilman A. J. Wade submitted his resignation to the Moorefield Council, effective Dec. 31, 2015. Wade was elected in June 2015.
“I have a hearing disability from my time in the military,” Wade said. “Since the town doesn’t have the equipment necessary to amplify voices, I feel it is in the best interest of all concerned that I step down.”
According to town code, it’s up to the council to appoint a replacement and while several names were offered as possible candidates, none were chosen at the Moorefield Council meeting held Tuesday, Jan. 5.
If any resident of the town of Moorefield is interested in serving on the town council, they should contact Town Clerk Rick Freeman.
Prior to the formal council meeting, a public hearing was held regarding the town’s application for funding to the United States Department of Agriculture-Rural Utilities Service. The town is seeking $24 million to build a new water plant and distribution system.
“The application has been submitted,” Moorefield Public Works Director Lucas Gagnon said. “The funding will be part loan and part grant. We don’t know what that split will be yet.”
The application is in review, Gagnon said. Once the funding is approved, the town can apply for a Certificate of Convenience and Need with the West Virginia Public Service Commission and solicit bids for construction.
Steve Reckart, Chief of the Moorefield Police Department reported there were 150 calls for service in December. Of those, 118 came from the Hardy County 911 Center and 32 came directly to the office.
“We had a relatively quiet month,” Reckart said. “We did execute two search warrants that will hopefully result in prosecutions.”
Reckart said he will be installing traffic cameras at the four selected intersections in town.
“I’ll have one at the traffic light at the end of Corridor H, one at Southern States and the railroad tracks, one at Caledonia Heights Road and one on South Fork Road at the edge of town,” he said. “We basically want to cover the edges of town.”
The MPD is also in the process of purchasing two new speed radar systems. “We finally received the funds from a grant from Delegate Sponaugle,” Reckart said.
MPD has been monitoring the school zones and school buses, Reckart said.
“I’m please to say we’ve not had a lot of activity. People have finally gotten the message and are obeying the laws.”
Reckart also remarked about the hand-held cell phone laws in West Virginia. It is illegal to text or use a hand-held cell phone while driving. “We will continue to enforce those laws as well,” he said.
Councilwoman Carol Zuber asked Reckart about parking on Washington Street across from the Hardy County Courthouse. “Commissioner (Harold) Michael asked me if there was enough room to put a sidewalk on the south side of Washington Street across from the courthouse,” Zuber said.
Both Reckart and Gagnon agreed that emergency vehicles could not pass if there were a sidewalk and curbside parking on both sides of Washington Street. “The sidewalk would have to be totally on private property,” Gagnon said.
Brian Wolfe reported five building permits were approved in December and one is pending. Those approved included:
• Joe Zirk is remodeling in the 700-block of N. Main Street.
Precision Auto Collision is adding a paint booth in the 500-block of Spring Avenue.
The Hardy County Public Library will be remodeling in the 100-block of N. Main Street.
Lawrence Sherman is installing an addition in the 100-block of Central Avenue.
Tammy Benson is installing a storage building on 5th Street in Misty Terrace.
Front Porch Properties’ addition in the 600-block of N. Main Street is pending. Wolfe said there is a zoning change necessary for that location.
Public Works Report
Gagnon reported on a litany of activities in the water, sewer and street departments. The only action taken by the council was to approve the purchase of a snow plow for the skid steer to clear sidewalks. The cost is $3,640 for the plow.
Gagnon reported the Hardy County Public Service District has issued a formal complaint to the West Virginia Public Service Commission about the town’s proposed water rate increase. The PSD purchases water for distribution to its customers from the town of Moorefield.
Gagnon said the PSC asked for some information, which needs to be submitted by Jan. 11.
“The PSC will look at the PSD’s rate and usage,” he said. “They could dismiss the complaint or theoretically could raise the PSD rates.”
There is no time frame on the decision, Gagnon said, although the complaint will not impede the rate increase.
Park Director Juwana Bridger provided an overview of activities at the park since the December meeting. Most of the activity involved cleaning equipment and grounds, and repairing equipment and facilities.
Bridger said she was spending a great deal of time trying to organize and identify the Memorial Trees and plaques. “I am working on a map that will show everyone where the memorial trees are located,” she said.
The council discussed ideas for replacing all the plaques so they are consistent. The council also discussed the program going forward. It was suggested that instead of trees, memorials could be placed on a walkway or wall. No decision was made.
Bridger suggested cameras be installed at certain places in the park to deter vandalism. There was considerable discussion about high speed internet access, lighting and how to pay for cameras, electricity and lighting.
The next meeting of the Moorefield Council will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 19 beginning at 7 p.m. at 206 Winchester Ave. The meetings are open to the public.