By Brenda Boykin
At the Dec. 11 Alderson Town Council meeting, House of Representatives Delegate George “Boogie” Ambler presented Mayor Travis Copenhaver and the town council members with a CPP (Community Participation Program) grant of $20,000 for the purchase of a new vehicle for the Alderson Police Department.
Council approved expenditures of $81,247 for Resolution 14 of the WVSB245 Wastewater Treatment Plant actions. Representatives of the Stafford Consultants engineering firm and lawyers from Stroebel and Johnson attended the council meeting to discuss budget revisions plus other issues concerning the project. Council voted to submit written budget amendments in compliance with the legal requirements.
Copenhaver and attorney John Stump, with Stroebel and Johnson, explained to council the advantages of refinancing the 1983 and 2001 Sewer Improvement Bonds. The terms of the bonds would not be extended, but refinancing could save the town approximately $8,000 per year. Council approved the first reading of the ordinances. The second reading will take place in a special meeting of council on Dec. 23, so the process can be completed as soon as possible. The final reading will be done at the regular public council meeting on Jan. 8, 2015.
In other business:
• Council voted to renew the Suddenlink Communications franchise agreement. They also voted to remove the multiple occupancy service fee for a property located at 207 Greenbrier Street.
• Jeremy Bennett, Fawn Valentine, Luther Lewallen, Tom Dameron, Jim Russell and Sam Kasley were nominated to serve on the Blighted, Abandoned and Dilapidated Property Advisory Committee. Three members will serve for one year, and the other three will serve for two years.
• The parks commission has two vacancies. Council appointed Laurie Patriacca to fill one of the positions. The commission has received a $14,000 grant from Greenbrier County Arts and Recreation Committee for renovations, improvements and additional picnic tables for the municipal park. The commission asked if they should buy the materials and ask for volunteers to do the labor, buy the materials and look for other labor sources, or if they could accept the offer from Jeff Ambler to contract the job. The council recommended that this be reviewed by Jesse Guills, the town’s attorney, to be sure that the town is in compliance with the requirements of the grant.
• Police Chief Jeremy Bennett requested that, in future planning by the council, enlarging the police force to be taken into consideration, and possibly increasing the pay rate to be competitive with the surrounding areas. He explained that the current force of two full-time and one part-time officer is not enough to meet the needs of the community, let alone provide 24 hour coverage.
• The mayor reported that the town’s workers’ comp coverage will expire Jan. 31, and the current carrier is not going to renew it. Guills has reviewed the municipal service fee ordinance because it came into question, and it is legal.
• Myka James, 911 Emergency Service Address coordinator, advised that the latest update of addresses has been submitted to the Alderson Post Office. The Postmaster indicated it will be two week turn around for their review. When the list is returned it will be sent to Charleston. Letters will be sent to the residents who don’t have a post office box in mid January. Those with a post office box address can call James’ office to obtain their new address. Citizens do have to start using the assigned addresses and display their number on the house. The town also has an ordinance that house numbers must be displayed.