Having given his notice to retire, White Sulphur Springs police chief Bill Wallcoen, whose last day on the job is May 1, was applauded for “a job well done” for the two years of service he has given to the city. His law enforcement experience included several years as a patrol officer with both White Sulphur Springs and Lewisburg police units. At one time he even ran for mayor of WSS. He later served as a police officer with the Air Force and the Department of Defense at Fort Bragg, NC. Wallcoen, originally from Atlanta, GA, has strong familial ties to Greenbrier County. His services will be missed.
In his place, Mayor Lloyd Haynes asked the city council to affirm his decision to hire John Pauley, a retired 25-year State trooper. Pauley had served in Greenbrier, Raleigh, Mercer and McDowell counties. He was affirmed to the office of police chief in a brief induction ceremony conducted by Haynes.
In other business:
• In reporting the city’s monthly financial statements, Mayor Haynes stated that the council has had growing concerns for a continued negative balance in the city’s general account. He said they are looking at ways to cut down on spending as well as how to increase income to rectify the ongoing deficit.
Toward that goal, an ordinance to increase garbage rates by $5 per month was given its first reading. If passed, this increase will be the first in 10 years bringing the monthly fee from $14.50 to $19.50 for residents of the city. Haynes said the dumpster rates, included in the ordinance, will remain the same.
The mayor said the council had considered getting out of the garbage business and instead use the services of Greenbrier Solid Waste Management, but found their lowest rate at $22 a month was clearly not negotiable. The motion passed 4/1 with G.P. Parker opposing. A second reading and public hearing will be heard at next month’s council meeting.
Standing Committee reports:
• With an eye on opening the WSS public pool for the summer months, Audrey VanBuren, reporting for Parks & Recreation Committee, stated that Paul Ghosh of Ghosh Engineering is looking into the leaks in the pool’s plumbing. “We are doing our best to open the pool but we cannot say definitely whether the leaks can be fixed,”’ said Mayor Haynes.
• G.P. Parker, reporting for the Streets Commission, asked why White Sulphur Springs doesn’t have an on/off ramp from I-64. He offered to contact the DOH and any other state authority to determine whether construction of an on/off ramp might be built as an entry point to the Spa City. A suggestion was made to also contact The Greenbrier owner Jim Justice who is in the process of developing a large medical facility on the premises near the interstate.
In New Business:
• The WSS Little League Baseball request for funding received $1,000 approved by council.
• City attorney Steve Hunter was consulted with regard to the closing of an alley, “unused since 1913,” that (presumably) runs through the Green Devil Civic Center building, now owned by the Greenbrier County Housing Authority (GCHA). With the approval of council to close the ‘`alley,” GCHA can continue with their plans to designate the structure as a senior housing center.