Prosecutor: Marlinton Mayor Cannot Issue Citations
Marlinton, WV – Pocahontas County prosecuting attorney Donna Meadows Price told Marlinton Mayor Joe Smith he cannot issue citations for violations of town ordinances. Smith informs Council members of the update at council’s regular meeting on Monday evening.
“Per the prosecuting attorney, the mayor cannot issue citations,” he said. “He is charged with the enforcement of ordinances, but not issuing citations.”
The mayor said the West Virginia State Police, who provide law enforcement under contract with the town, can issue citations. The mayor added that the State Police had been provided copies of town ordinances. Councilmember David Zorn says the police will enforce town ordinances, normally only in response to a citizen complaint.
“The State Police or Sheriff, or whoever they are, are not going to walk around and find things wrong, per se, ” he said. “Parking or whatever it might be – citizens have to come to town hall and make out a complaint form.”
The mayor distributed copies of the monthly water plant report, which shows a 49-percent water loss from the municipal system for the previous two months. Smith says water loss from the system has been greatly reduced.
“We’re losing about 49-percent of the water we pump,” he said. “It’s not being billed. That might look a little bad, but it was up there at about 69-percent. Now, it’s down to 49-percent, which is a good improvement.”
Marlinton’s water rates are among the highest in the state. Council considered a fee for annual inspections of backflow prevention devices, now required by state law on the water supply line at certain businesses, including funeral homes, medical facilities, beauty shops and barber shops. The devices must be installed at the business owner’s expense. Town employee Kevin Malcomb attended a certification course and will perform the inspections. The mayor says he checked inspection fees charged by other municipalities.
“The fees range up to $250 per inspection and they’re set by the local government,” he said. “So, we’re at the point to begin doing the inspections and charging people.”
Smith says the state might require all public water customers to install the devices.
“Within two to five years, they’re saying households will also have to have them,” he said. “It all depends on the people in Charleston.”
Council tabled action on the fee amount until it has more information on actual costs to the town. Mayor Smith tells council the town’s aging dump truck is in poor condition.
“It needs a new clutch in it – $1,500,” he said. “It needs a transmission. It does not have any safety hazard lights on it, which is a $500 cost.”
The mayor distributed two quotes he obtained for a replacement truck; a 2004 model available for $31,600 in Elkins, and a similar 2005 model available for $29,858 at Mitchell’s Chevrolet. Smith said he had checked with Sheets GMC in Green Bank, which did not have a suitable truck. Council voted 5-0 to purchase the dump truck from Mitchell’s Chevrolet. The truck is a 2005 Chevrolet C4500 dump truck with a 14-foot bed and 62,091 miles.
Council approved an amendment to its sign ordinance after second reading. The ordinance prohibits hanging or protruding signs larger than 4×4 feet and billboards larger than 10×10 feet.
In other business, Marlinton council:
– authorized the Opera House to mark two handicap parking spaces during events with temporary markers
– authorized a $50 expenditure to conduct a phosphorus in wastewater information event
– approved a resolution in support of completion of the Corridor H highway project
– approved a town employee drug and alcohol policy
– approved a budget revision to cover a $6,000 shortfall in the garbage account and a $3,000 shortfall in the cemetery account
– approved to offer a water plant operator job to David Johnson
– and tabled action on participating in the West Virginia On-Trac town improvement program.
Council agreed to hold a special meeting, tentatively scheduled for March 21 at 7 p.m., to consider approval of the 2012-2013 budget and participation in the On-Trac program.