On Tuesday evening, during one of the shortest Lewisburg City Council meetings on record, Mayor John Manchester announced the city council voted to hire Misty Hill as the successful candidate to replace Bonita Sienkiewicz as Lewisburg’s HR (human resources) director and assistant city manager.
Hill is currently undergoing training with Sienkiewicz and is slated to be on the job starting Aug. 1. “She comes to us with great work experience [and] great work ethic,” Manchester said.
In other business:
- City Council formally approved Resolution 460 in a show of support for the Land & Water Conservation Fund, created by Congress in 1964 to create and maintain a nationwide legacy of high quality recreation areas and facilities across the United States. Authorized for a 25-year period, and extended for another 25 years, it expired in 2015. The fund was temporarily extended for another three years. It will expire on September 30, 2018. Lewisburg has received $144,000 from the Fund over the years, with the most recent grant of $60,000 in 2015, which provided outdoor lighting for the ball fields at Hollowell and Dorie Miller parks.
- City Recorder Shannon Beatty hosted two America In Bloom judges who came to town last week to assess and rank the city’s downtown historic district, which was properly tidied and dressed out in a colorful array of flowering plants in preparation for the 2018 America In Bloom’s National Awards Program for cities with a population between 3,500 and 10,000. Last year, Lewisburg won top honors in the contest and was inducted into the Circle of Champions.
- Police Chief Tim Stover said 25-year police veteran Mike Arbaugh will soon be retiring. He will be replaced by Dawson resident and former 911 dispatcher, Joshua Doss, who will undergo a three-month training course before he is active on the force.
Stover had an extensive list of police activities, compiled over April, May and June, with the issuance of 208 citations – from no seatbelt to reckless driving to obstructing an officer, 32 motor vehicle accidents, mostly on Rt. 219 – and 115 arrests that included five assault/battery, five fraud and 29 shoplifting.
- Public Works Director Roger Pence gave a review of the city’s street paving plans, and after a study of the city’s sidewalks, the department concluded there are 168 sidewalk “trip hazards,” mostly in the downtown area, that are estimated to cost $14,000 to repair. Council approved both projects unanimously.
Among the other public works issues, Pence cited a storm water drain on the corner of Washington and Lee streets that involved cleaning out an injection well and the adjacent culverts; two speed humps were finished on Court and Church streets; a grant was received to improve and repair Hollowell Park’s restroom, and a sidewalk extension to the entrance to Hill & Holler on Jefferson Street North was also completed.
Shannon Beatty thanked Pence and the public works crews for their efforts in freshening the city’s appearance in time for the America In Bloom judges’ visit.
- Lewisburg resident Ken Sautmyer approached the city council with a request that the city consider changing or modifying an old state law that prohibits a business from serving alcohol within 300 feet of a church entrance. Sautmyer, with his wife, Emily, have purchased the old Stella’s Restaurant on Washington Street West. The restaurant is already approved for a liquor license by the ABC, he said, and he hopes to open the restaurant by mid-October. As part of their renovation plans, they want to install a short flight of stairs from the sidewalk directly to the porch landing, which is where access to the building was original located. The problem is, the stairs would put the restaurant entrance within 300 feet of the adjacent Shuck Memorial Baptist Church. He cited a few examples of municipalities in West Virginia where those laws were successfully changed. Manchester said the item will be put before the city attorney for review.