<strong>by Peggy Mackenzie<\/strong>\r\n\r\nAt the virtual Lewisburg City Council meeting held on Tuesday, City Manager Jacy Faulkner provided a newsy monthly report describing modified operations all around as the city\u2019s public works crews, along with police and other city departments that process permits, address the frustrations and concerns of customers and residents with the public closure of City Hall. Most complaints centered around how to pay bills, which Faulkner said can be handled a variety of ways: drop off at mailbox at City Hall, mail in, and by using the City\u2019s web pay option. Any questions can be directed to 304-645-2080.\r\n\r\nOther boards and commissions, which usually either meet monthly or quarterly, are working to adjust to the needs of residents with home projects that require permits from the city. For example, the Historic Landmarks Commission must review building materials presented by applicants for their home projects. While many residents are willing to wait, but not everyone has that option. A resolution is still being sought.\r\n\r\nAnother area of concern is public confusion on what the City\u2019s role is in policing public gatherings following the stay-at-home injunction by the governor. Chief Chris Teubert stated the police have had to break up gatherings in homes when reports have been called in. Some citizens urge the City maintain and enforce the quarantine, while others insist the gatherings are not illegal. He has been in contact with other law enforcement bodies around the state seeking guidance in handling the issue. The problem for the City, Teubert said, is that the police cannot enforce what is not illegal. \u201cWe want people to be safe, but we cannot enforce it.\u201d Teubert also stated in his monthly report that traffic and other incidents are down dramatically due to the quarantine.\r\n\r\nOwing to COVID-19, trash and recycling services are under an operations change issued by the\u00a0Public Service\u00a0Commission of West Virginia, which has temporarily ruled that bulky item pickup be suspended and all waste be placed in plastic bags for pick up. Greenbrier Recycling, which handles the City resident\u2019s recycling collection, has also suspended operations, Faulkner said. Residents may consider taking their recycling materials to the Ronceverte Recycle Center, which remains open to the public.\r\n\r\nThe City\u2019s water department continues to operate as usual as an essential public service to the community and she thanked the crew for their service dedication. In addition, Public Works Director Roger Pence is overseeing maintenance of litter on city streets to show the City is serious about cleanliness and upholding the quarantine. Faulkner also offered a special thanks to City Treasurer Susan Honaker, whose volume of city knowledge, owing to her years of employment with the City, has been so helpful in this time of flux.\r\n\r\nIn other City business:\r\n\r\n~ In an unanimous vote, the City Council approved the Laying of the Levy, applying the same rates as has been previously in force for many years.\r\n\r\n~ The City Hall roof has long been in need of repair, Faulkner said, and funds in the budget for the City Hall Roof Replacement project amount to $156,000, according to Council member Mark Etten. Four bids were reviewed, with Harris Brothers Roofing coming in as the lowest bidder at $137,500. The addition of engineering fees and asbestos testing costs would bring the total cost of the roofing project to $159,465, resulting in an over-budget of $3,500. With the asbestos report coming back citing no asbestos in the roof, Council determined that some savings was likely to be had. A motion to approve the Harris Brothers\u2019 bid was unanimous.\r\n\r\n~ In two separate motions, Council approved a lease to purchase a new police cruiser including the installation of police equipment for $41,745, and the purchase of a vehicle and body cam as a pilot program, downloadable using current equipment, for $6,608. Council member Joshua Edwards said he supported the use of body cam devices for police officers. \u201cIt\u2019s a wonderful tool for law enforcement and public safety,\u201d he said, that visually and transparently demonstrate that most law enforcers act appropriately in the field.\r\n\r\n~ Two paving bids were received for Lee Street and Fire Station #2 parking area. The low bid came from Greenbrier Excavation for $55,466. With some discussion, Council approved the bid.\r\n\r\n~ A waterline replacement change order caused a cost increase of $4,000 to repair a Fairlea water tank line leakage issue. The upgrade was not anticipated, Faulkner said, but it was an immediate need, and was a reimbursable expense. Council approved the change order expense.\r\n\r\n~ Mayor Beverly White welcomed the council to the zoom meeting and thanked everyone for staying in their respective homes and staying safe. She advised the Council and public that April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. Even though a flag-raising ceremony to honor those lives lost to child abuse could not be held as usual in front of the Greenbrier County Courthouse, the Mayor asked that everyone \u201cplease be aware of the children.\u201d\r\n\r\n~ Census 2020 totals for Lewisburg are up to 34.5 percent, she said. Citizens are urged not to wait for a census taker to come to their door and, instead, consider going online to fill out the census form in \u201c10 minutes.\u201d\r\n\r\n~ Communications from Council members elicited a discussion initiated by Council member Sarah Elkins, in which she inquired about making some changes to the City code to allow some animals, previously disallowed, to be permitted within city limits. Elkins was referring particularly to chickens in regard to citizen concerns for food scarcity issues.\r\n\r\nElkins said she has read research documents and various City code files, and that there are several cities in the U.S. that allow backyard chicken coops. Of course, there would be a number of issues to tackle, such as noise factors, cleanliness, space from other residences, and whether it would apply to other animals as well. Permits and restrictions would be a requirement. The council agreed to put the issue on the next council meeting agenda.