Local Businessman Jim Burks Takes Marlinton Town Council To Task

Marlinton, WV – Pocahontas County resident Jim Burks appeared before the Marlinton Town Council Tuesday night, upset about remarks made by the Council at a previous meeting concerning the garbage situation in the vicinity of Pocahontas Memorial Hospital. At that meeting, Council members questioned who has the right to collect trash disposal fees in that area. After reading the comments in the local newspaper Burks directed his remarks first to Mayor Joseph Smith.

“The things that were said in the paper are number one, untrue,” he says. “Each of you who made those comments, didn’t know what you were talking about. Those of you who know me and know the former mayor Doug Dunbrack, we never had any verbal agreement on anything in my life. So then Mayor your comment that there was a verbal agreement between those gentlemen, is totally unfounded; that did not occur.”

He next commented on remarks made by Town Recorder, Robin Mutscheller.

“Your comments that the Mecks may have bought something that they didn’t know they had the rights, I think their attorney was astute enough in the period of time he researched this program that he was probably more able to make that decision that you were during a town council meeting,” he says. “That was not your place to tell them what they could buy or what they couldn’t buy. You don’t know the circumstances. I found that in the newspaper, slammed at Dr. Sharp and myself to be offensive.”

Burks then showed the Council the town ordinance in effect at the time. The ordinance says that the town is responsible for trash collection in the hospital area including the placing of dumpsters as needed.

“You, being the town, never put a dumpster in and you never billed for your services,” says Burks. “Then I read in the paper the other day that we had bad dealings. I am offended by that. There were no bad dealings on our part, we didn’t do anything wrong. Yet at your council meeting and [in] this local paper, I’m the bad guy.”

Council member Loretta Malcomb and Mutscheller tried to convince Burks that their remarks were taken out of context. But he was not dissuaded.
In a separate action, Mayor Smith announced that the town would start trash collection in the Hospital vicinity next week and that he would telephone Mr. Meck to let him know of the decision.

In other actions, Council approved a schedule of fees to be collected when the town employees are required to work on private property and for festivals and fairs. The rates are as follows: $10 per hour per man, and $50 per hour for large equipment when working on private property; and $8 per hour per man and $40 per hour for large equipment when working on fairs, festivals and the like. Smith emphasized that the intent is not to make money, but rather to re-coop some of the expenses.

Council held preliminary discussions on the Water Plant. The plant is in need of major upgrades. Both pumps need to be rebuilt and the obsolete control panel replaced. Mayor Smith reported that Dave Sharp of Potesta Engineering told him that there are grant monies available for such projects and that he will do some research for the Town.

The Council also took the following actions:

Approved a variance for the sign ordinance for the Artisians Co-op Gallery on 4th Avenue

Confirmed Herbie Barlow as the new Fire Chief

Approved applying for a grant to install sidewalks and bike racks near the new community building

Approved underwriting Allegheny Mountain Radio for $400.00 annually

Agreed to support Lauren Bennett and Parks and Recreation’s efforts to build a skate board park at Stillwell Park

Agreed to work with Doug Bernier and the Farmers Market to attempt to draft a set of enforceable rules for the Market

And heard an update from Cara Rose on the 2012 WV Harley Owners Group rally. The HOG Rally will be July 11-14th with Bike Night in Marlinton on Friday July 12th.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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