By Sarah Richardson
A representative from Altice was in attendance at last week’s Lewisburg City Council meeting to answer questions from the public about service provided by Suddenlink, now known as Optimum, in the region. Representative Tom O’Neil provided a brief overview of a recent lawsuit in which Suddenlink was ordered to open a West Virginia-based call center and was penalized $2.2 million for failure to provide “safe, adequate, and reliable service,” according to the West Virginia Public Service Commission.
Area resident William “Skip” Deegans detailed a long history of issues with cable service through Suddenlink, sentiments which have been echoed by a number of community members over the years at other public hearings. O’Neil reports lower rates of repeat service calls in recent months, and stated that the “nodes” which serve the Lewisburg area “have been averaging at 100 percent over the last six months.”
While Councilmember John Little expressed continued exasperation with the service, he noted, “I’m glad to see that there are some local technicians, I’m glad to see that there is a customer service center on the way, certainly it feels like our citizens deserve that. I don’t think we have any option, as this is the only service provider that we have at this time, unfortunately. I wish we had more competition.” He closed in saying, “As long as you fulfill the obligations you’re telling us, it seems like everybody here will be in a better spot.”
“I do want to note that the main meat and potatoes of this ordinance is to allow Altice to repair any of their assets that are on the right-of-way in Lewisburg,” explained Councilmember Arron Seams. The ordinance is a non-exclusive agreement, meaning that other providers are able to enter the region and provide service if they so choose.
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A resolution to approve over $1.3 million for work on the water system improvement project was approved unanimously by council. Construction has continued through the cold weather to relocate the water intake pipe and update the water plant facilities.
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The second reading of Ordinance 314, Historic Landmark Commission guideline updates, was approved after a second reading and public hearing. City Manger Misty Hill noted that the guidelines were approved by State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). More information on these guidelines can be obtained at City Hall at 304-645-2080.
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Council unanimously decided to apply for a $10,500 State Historic Preservation grant for the Greenbrier Historical Society. The city will operate as a “pass-through grant recipient,” meaning the Society will “do all of the work, they just needed a fiscal sponsor,” according to Councilmember Seams. Councilmember Sarah Elkins noted that this setup has been done previously and is not uncommon.
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Due to not qualifying for an Arts and Humanities grant, $1,537 was approved from the Community Development fund for the Shanghai Parade. “We met for a very lengthy conversation with this at finance, and there were a lot of requests, but the council and the city really feel strongly that Shanghai is very important to everyone, all of our citizens,” said Hill.
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Mayor Beverly White detailed a letter the city received from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority which stated, “As part of our regularly scheduled, on-site inspections required by the National Park Service (NPS) on Land and Water Conservation Fund-assisted (LWCF) projects, the city’s LWCF-assisted facilities at its Hollowell, Dorie Miller, and Washington Street parks were recently inspected. These facilities were in excellent condition by NPS standards and continue to reflect the city’s maintenance efforts to provide worthwhile public outdoor recreational choices.”