In a statement during the Tuesday night Lewisburg City Council meeting, Mayor John Manchester announced he will no longer be serving as City Administrator as of June 30, 2019. This decision will not affect his current term serving as mayor of Lewisburg.
“It is bittersweet for me,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful city to represent and work with great people, and it’s been my distinct honor to do that. But there always is a time when it’s time to start handing over the batons and the reins. I think having a succession plan and having a transition time to make sure that information is carried over and not lost in the handoff of the baton…is very important for the stability and health and welfare of the city moving forward,” Manchester said.
The succession plan includes the creation of a city manager-in-training position, which was approved by council. In a second motion, the city council also approved the hiring of Jacy Faulkner to follow in Manchester’s footsteps and learn the ropes. Faulkner, who has a wide city government management background in her home state of Texas, appeared on the city council’s radar while the search for a replacement for Bonita Sienkiewicz was in process. Council member Beverly White said, “When we went through the process of finding someone to replace Bonita, we came across this incredible applicant. The bells just went off that she would be perfect as city manager…”
In other business, the city council passed the first reading of the City Charter update and amendments (ordinance 276), a 26-page document, which includes modern organizational, operational and ethical protocols and requirements of city government, and follows a year-long effort aided by Morgantown City Attorney Tim Stranco, who is assisting the council with the amendment process. The amendments are available for review at City Hall and online at Lewisburg-wv.com. Manchester said he welcomes comments and suggestions from citizens. Information on how to make formal comments about the Charter is available by calling City Hall at 304-645-2080. A public hearing about these proposed amendments will be held at City Hall during the September 18, 2018 City Council meeting at 7:30 p.m.
- Manchester announced a new appointment to the historic landmarks commission with the retirement of long time member Gary Roper. Manchester said Roper is leaving to begin a new phase of exciting changes ahead. He thanked Roper for his excellent service with the historic landmarks commission. David Craddock, owner of A New Chapter bookstore on Washington Street, will serve the remainder of Roper’s term, which ends June 30, 2019.
- A grant request for $13,962 from the Greenbrier East High School soccer complex committee was presented to the city finance committee, according to council member Mark Etten. The funds are reserved to install an irrigation system for the entire complex grounds. Council approved awarding the funds from the city’s gaming income account, from The Greenbrier casino revenues, which is budgeted at $20,000 annually.
- Manchester said the project for two electric car charging stations is moving forward. The Peyton Fund awarded the city with a $10,000 grant for the purchase and installation of the charging stations which will be located in the Green Space parking area and at Montwell Park for the benefit of local electric car owners “on the city’s dime.”
- Public Works Director Roger Pence said vandals attacked both city parks recently with spray paint marring a number of park equipment and structures. The vandals were found and put to work removing the paint as part of their community restitution.
- A street paving bid from Greenbrier Excavating and Paving was accepted and approved for $370,000 to repave a number of streets in the city. A public service announcement on the paving schedules for the assigned streets will be on the city’s Facebook page, said Pence. A new sidewalk is scheduled to be installed between Foster Street and Austin Street along Rt. 219, anticipated to be “a spring project,” according to DOH representative Roger Kennedy. And sidewalk repairs and resurfacing in the downtown area will start within weeks.
Regarding other projects, Kennedy said a pre-bid meeting on the Civil War Trail will be held at City Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 28. Applicants are welcome to bid for work on what will be a combined aggregate and grass trail from the library to the Lewisburg Elementary School. He said the Feamster Road sidewalk is held up as DOH planners determine how to discharge the drainage from Dorie Miller Park to a safe place before any concrete can be laid. Planners have also been reviewing the L&R Trail’s latest route layout and are trying to stretch the 80/20 funding match to get the Trail to end at Holt Lane, Kennedy said.
- Zoning Officer Chuck Smith, reporting from the July planning commission meeting, said Montwell Park’s Greenbrier Restoration Group presented a revision of their site plan, which originally included paving the parking lot in asphalt. The group has decided to instead use pervious pavers that allow the water coming off of Rt. 219 to sink into a foot of gravel beneath the pavers and slowly release it to be absorbed in the soil. The pervious pavers are costly, Smith said, but the expense is worth it to reduce storm water runoff. A new drop inlet will also be added on the north side of the parking lot to direct water to the cave on the property. The parking lot layout will also include a deterrent to discourage vehicles from using it as a by-pass to avoid downtown traffic.
- Police Chief Tim Stover advised everyone to prepare to attend the 2018 Dare To Cruz Car Show, which is coming to town on Saturday, Sept. 8.
• Another piano has been donated to the city by the daughter of Sam and Kate Hudson. The piano is in tune and now resides inside the lobby at City Hall and is available for public use and enjoyment.