Marlinton council addresses VFD concerns

Marlinton, W.Va. – Volunteer fire department issues dominated the Marlinton council meeting Monday night. Marlinton fire chief Herb Barlow says Mayor Joe Smith has not followed through with promises to help the fire department.

“The town has failed the fire department – period – and I blame, moreso than anybody, Joe Smith,” he said. “Because he tells me he’s going to do one thing and nothing ever gets done.”

Barlow said the town had failed to repair the roof of the VFD building, repair a building alarm system and color code fire hydrants.

The mayor explains why the fire hydrants were not painted.

“Six months ago, or so, I told him that we would paint the fire hydrants,” he said. “I had planned on using day report people to do that. We never – we don’t get day report people anymore. So, they was not painted.”

Councilmember Loretta Malcomb gives her opinion.

“You see these people around,” she said. “You see our crew wasting enough time. They could have had those fire hydrants painted 10 times. And day report, that is no excuse. Just because we don’t have day report people – that is no excuse.”

Barlow said his VFD has an excellent ISO rating, which lowers homeowner insurance rates. Recorder Robin Mutscheller said maintaining the high rating is council’s most important task.

“The thing that we need to be concerned about is our ISO rating,” she said. “And it is something that has to be dealt with in a timely fashion or we will lose it. They have no patience for you. You screw up – you lose it.”

Smith said a town worker would begin painting hydrants the following day. A council committee will ensure that other fire department concerns are addressed. Mutscheller and councilmember Sue Helton agreed to research fire fee utilization questions.

Councilmember Norris Long relays a safety concern to Barlow and the fire chief responds.

“Regarding your people coming through town in private vehicles, in excess of the speed limit, flashing lights and sirens,” Long said. “Let me finish. Flashing lights and sirens and going through traffic lights that are red.”

“I have sent a letter to the State Police and I have sent a letter to the Sheriff’s Department in regards to our personal vehicles with permits,” he said. “And I told them, if they have an issue with one of our members speeding, to stop them and write them a ticket.”

“Very good,” said Long.

Smith proposed a holiday pay incentive of $200 for full-time town employees and $100 for part-time workers.

Mutscheller says extra compensation for public employees is illegal.

“It is still my interpretation that the law does not allow for you to compensate employees through a year-end, whether you call it a bonus or an incentive or just a paycheck.”

Council voted down the holiday incentive, with Long and councilmember David Zorn voting in favor.

Council approved accepting ownership of a new sewage pump station at Fran Manor from the West Virginia Housing Authority, along with an associated 20×20′ parcel of land from Red Oak Realty. The pump station also serves the Lakeview neighborhood.

In other business, Marlinton council:
– approved spending approximately $3,000 for town office computer upgrades;
– approved donating $445 in dog tax proceeds to the county animal shelter;
– approved a $410 mileage payment to Smith, and
– tabled action on directional signs.

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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