Helton appointed to Marlinton council
Marlinton, W.Va. – During Monday evening’s Marlinton council meeting, council and a select committee consisting of Sue Helton, Carolyn Burns and Jim Smith convened to appoint a new member to replace Natasha McMann, who resigned to continue her college education.
Six persons were nominated: Robbie Sharp; Sam Felton; Don Morrison; Bobbie Jo Gudmundson; Cris Weber and Sue Helton. In the initial vote, Felton received four votes; Helton received three votes and Gudmundson, two votes. In the runoff vote between Felton and Helton, Sue Helton was elected with six votes.
Helton, who works as the County Commission Clerk, tells why she wanted to be on council.
“Well, I believe that I can help this town,” she said. “I look around and I see issues we need to address and I believe I can have some input and maybe be an asset to the town. I think we have issues with the grass needing mowed and some of the streets are in bad condition. I walk regularly. I live on Jenny Split. It badly needs some repairs over there. I hope that Main Street can really be a positive place again, with the Depot over there and I hope that we can make Marlinton into a better place. My focus is that I just want to make this a better town for everyone.”
Council and attorney Steve Hunter concluded negotiations with Dr. John Mallow regarding a property dispute involving Courtney Avenue. Mallow prevailed in a previous lawsuit, which resulted in a court order to the Town to improve the avenue to Division of Highways standards – a very expensive proposition for the town.
Mallow says he was surprised when the town filed suit and Recorder Robin Mutscheller responds.
“Nobody said a word to me,” Mallow said. “They blind-sided me. They didn’t say, ‘we got a problem – can we work this out?’ A lawsuit was just dropped on me. I didn’t know it was coming. And I think the town could save themselves a lot of money, the next time they get ready to sue somebody – try to work it out instead dropping a suit on somebody.”
“Well, that’s not what we were told,” Mutscheller responded. “We were under the understanding that this was being worked out and that no agreement could be reached.”
“You were misinformed,” Mallow replied. “Nobody ever contact me at all.”
Under a new agreement negotiated by Hunter, the town will grant an easement, providing Mallow access to a parcel of his property behind the cemetery water tanks. In exchange, the doctor will drop all of his claims. Council voted 5-0 to conclude the agreement and will hold a special meeting to execute documents. Helton recused herself because she is an affected landowner.
During the mayor’s report, Smith said Potesta engineers had confirmed a fire department water line test, showing very low water pressure in the Fifth Avenue area.
Councilmember Norris Long explains the cause of the low pressure.
“A natural phenomenon with steel pipes, natural corrosion on the inside – a build-up, almost like platelets in the human body,” he said. “I looked at the piece of pipe and the capacity of that pipe was decreased close to 50-percent.”
The town needs to clear the lines to improve water pressure for fire hydrants. Smith said there are two possible solutions: disconnecting affected customers and flushing out the lines with fire hoses, or; hiring a firm to clean the pipes with wire snakes, which would be more expensive. Smith said he will attempt to coordinate with the nursing home and other affected water customers for a time to cutoff water service and flush out the lines.
Council held a public hearing for an increase to town sewage rates, but received no comments. Council unanimously approved the second reading of the rate ordinance. Sewage customers will pay $31.50 every two months, an increase of $6.50, starting November 1.
In other business, council hired Griffith and Associates for accounting services for the next phase of a water drainage upgrade project. The maximum authorized expenditure is $20,000, which will be paid from project funds.
During a public comment period, Cris Weber and BJ Gudmundson said the Sheriff’s Department is doing an excellent job running the animal shelter in the ARC Building. Weber encouraged councilmembers to visit the facility.