Marlinton Council Debates How To Spend B&O Money
Marlinton, WV – During Monday evening’s town council meeting, Marlinton Mayor Joe Smith reported that an environmental scientist with the state Bureau for Public Health had completed a study of the town’s water supply, which comes from Knapps Creek. The mayor said the major discrepancy was the lack of an emergency plan.
“Believe it or not, the town did not have an emergency plan in place, in case there is a massive contamination of Knapps Creek,” he said. “Oil tanker wrecks in it; fertilizer truck overturns in it or what-not. So, I have contacted the director of EMS, Melvin Martin, and 911, Shawn Dunbrack, and the fire chief, and we will ,this week, put together a plan, in case the whole thing gets contaminated.”
The mayor reported that the West Virginia Municipal League will hold its annual conference at Snowshoe Mountain on August 7-10. The town and Convention and Visitors Bureau plan to work together to provide tours and other recreational activities for the group. About 400 mayors, councilpersons and other officials are expected to attend the conference.
Finally, Smith reported the Municipal Building would need a new fire alarm system, as a result of a Board of Risk inspection. The mayor has requested quotes from three companies for completion of the work.
Council considered a donation to Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation for the planned Wellness Center adjacent to Marlinton Elementary School. Parks and Rec received $2.9 million in federal grant money, but needs to raise an additional $325,000 to begin construction. The building will be used as a school gymnasium and community fitness and sports facility.
Smith told council the town had $494,000 in an escrow account from business and occupation tax proceeds. The mayor said the town would receive nearly $59,000 from the contractor building the Wellness Center, and recommended donating most of that money to the project.
“I’m going to recommend to the council that we donate $50,000 to this project,” he said. “We’re going to get $58,881 from the project.”
Councilmember Norris Long supported Smith’s proposal to donate $50,000. Councilmember Louise Barnisky said the B&O money should be used for water plant repairs and sidewalks.
“We just recently had an architect in here – a company in here – telling us how bad our water plant is and what we need for that,” she said. “We know that and we know that our sidewalks are falling apart.”
Smith told council that Marlinton was highly likely to receive $150,000 in state funds for water plant upgrades. Long moved to donate $50,000 to the Wellness Center project. Long’s motion failed by a 4-1 vote. Councilmemeber David Zorn moved that the town donate $25,000 to the Wellness Center project and council approved the donation, 4-1, with Barnisky casting the vote in opposition.
Smith informed council that the Public Service Commission had approved a 30-percent increase in tipping fees at the county landfill. The mayor said town garbage rates would have to be increased, as a result. The mayor formed a committee composed of Long and councilmember Natasha McMann to evaluate how much the town would have to increase its garbage fees.
Matt McPeak requested a $2,000 donation from council for a baseball scoreboard at Stillwell Park. McPeak said the scoreboard would allow the town to host Little League playoff games. Council will place the item on next month’s agenda.
In other business, Marlinton council:
– rescinded a portion of the town’s stores ordinance, prohibiting certain types of work and employment on Sundays;
– approved on second reading an updated parking ordinance;
– and took no action on a requested donation for private trout stocking of the Greenbrier River.