Marlinton garbage rates unchanged – for now

Marlinton, WV – During the monthly Marlinton council meeting, Mayor Joe Smith had some good news to report regarding two major building projects in the town.

“I met with the engineers and the contractors for the Wellness Center and the Depot, two weeks ago,” he said. “They’re both here. They both started work on both projects today. The Welnness center will completed by the first of May. The Depot, they’re estimating October or November. They have a year, but they think they’ll have it done by that time.”

Town residents may have noticed that decorative light post banners on Main Street have been removed. The mayor says the Womens Club is helping to get new banners.

“Some of them got blowed away,” he said. “I guess there were some of them missing. But, with the help of the Womens’ Club, we was able to order new ones and they will go up, probably within the week. I didn’t want to put just a few up and not put them all up at once. That was my decision.”

Smith reported that town and county officials had completed an emergency plan in the event of a truck wreck into Knapps Creek, from which the town draws its water. The plan calls for containment of spills with hazmat booms, shut-down of the town water plant, notification of all water customers and provision of temporary potable water supplies. Marlinton water tanks contain an approximate 48-hour supply of water, if car washes, schools and other large users are curtailed.

Councilmember Norris Long, who chairs the sanitation committee, says the town might have to raise garbage rates, if tipping fees go up at the county landfill.

“The determining consideration for any changes in our garbage bill revolves directly around the potential tipping increases to the Pocahontas County landfill,” he said. “Those rates being approximately 21-percent increase.”

Long said town accountant Jeff Feanster recommended a 25-percent increase to the town garbage rate if the Public Service Commission approves the Solid Waste Authority’s request for a $15 per ton tipping fee increase. Council tabled action on the rate increase until the July meeting. The Public Service Commission is expected to render a decision on the tipping fee increase later this month. Long advises garbage customers to report non-residents placing trash in Marlinton dumpsters.

Smith said he had met with Department of Transportation inspectors, who told him small, blue directional signs attached to town light posts were illegal.

“The signs are illegal for several reasons,” he said. “One – signs are not allowed on utility poles – point blank. Those are classified as utility poles. They do not meet the DOT regulations, as to size of lettering. There was no permits issued by the DOT. But, the one thing that really bothered me more than anything else is, if somebody’s driving through town and reading one of them signs and hits somebody or has a wreck, the town is liable – according to these two gentlemen – because we allowed the signs to be there.”

The DOT officials told the mayor legal action would be taken, following a 30-day warning, if the signs were not removed. The signs would then be removed at town expense.

Smith said Main Street is part of a Route 39 Appalachian Byways program and subject to federal regulation. The mayor said the town could remove itself from the Byways program, but could lose money, including depot restoration funds. Main Street signage still would be subject to state law if the town departs the Byways program. Nelson Hernandez, proprietor of the Old Clark Inn, and other town business owners urged council to find a way to allow signs to help visitors find their businesses.

The mayor formed a committee to develop a recommendation consisting of himself; Long; Hernandez; councilmembers David Zorn, Robin Mutscheller and Natasha McMann; and Opera House manager Drew Tanner.

In other business, the council:
— tabled action on a $2,000 contribution request for a Little League scoreboard;
— took no action on the hiring of a business and occupation tax compliance officer.

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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