At the Tuesday night Lewisburg City Council meeting, Lewisburg Police Chief Tim Stover announced his plans to retire from the force after 28½ years of service.
In a voice occasionally choked with emotion, Stover said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the city of Lewisburg.”
He had only two requests from the council – one being that he hoped to see the next chief come from the ranks of the police department. “There are many officers here with years of service who are highly qualified and ready for the position.” He asked that council not “send the wrong message” by seeking someone from outside the city’s department. Secondly, Stover asked that the DARE to Cruz Car Show continue as it has for the last nine years in support of the Eastern Greenbrier Middle School’s D.A.R.E. drug education program.
Stover said in situations such as this, an honorary certificate is often issued to the retiree. “But, really, I’d like to keep the Dodge Charger,” he said with a laugh. He said he has no immediate plans for the future, but anticipates he will “get antsy eventually.”
“Catch your breath here,” Manchester said, reflecting the reaction from everyone on the council who appeared to be caught unaware of Stover’s retirement plans.
“Lewisburg’s Police Department is the envy around the state,” which, he said, is a testament to Stover’s leadership. “Your legacy is significant for the city of Lewisburg.” Manchester asked that Stover agree to “let us honor you.”
“We need [an event in which] to recognize how the city has grown and how safe we are because of your leadership. And you need to hear it from the people you’ve led and trained.” Stover was given an appreciative standing applause by all attendees in the council chambers.
In other business:
- City council approved Feb. 2, 2019 as the date for a special excess levy election so that citizens can re-approve the terms and conditions of three items of the levy, which have traditionally provided $476,000 to fund the police department, the fire department and for capitol improvements to the streets and city lighting.
- The mayor announced that Ian Lutz will fill Todd Wagner’s six-year unexpired term on the Parks Commission. Lutz will serve until June 30, 2023.
- A local Girl Scouts troup requested to place a Blessing Box in a convenient place where a food pantry could be made available for anyone to add to or receive. The mayor offered the Green Space parking lot area where the recycled, relabeled newspaper bin being used as a pantry box can be found for those seeking sustenance from caring strangers.
- The Board of Zoning Appeals quorum ordinance had its second reading, and after a public hearing, was approved. The change made to city code 1375-14 will allow the BZA to resolve property issues with a simple majority of three members instead of the prior code requirement of four members for a super majority. According to Zoning Officer Chuck Smith, this ordinance will assist the board in quickly resolving situations and thereby facilitate zoning appeal issues that arise.
Council also approved the first reading of ordinance 278 for the closure of Stratton Alley, which runs from Foster Street to the rear of the City Hall building. The road closure will give more frontage access to the alley, where renovations are currently underway for new shop fronts and cafes.
- City Clerk Shannon Beatty announced that an agricultural exhibit is currently on display at City Hall’s lobby on the ground floor. Curated by Janice Cooley, a Americorp VISTA volunteer in conjunction with the North House Museum, the exhibit will remain in place until February 2019 when the Black History month exhibit will be erected in its place. Beatty welcomes the public to come in and enjoy the exhibit open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Councilmember Beverly White reported that Public Works Director Roger Pence and City Manager-in-training Jacy Faulkner are working with a consultant with GameTime, an interactive playground equipment company, for eventual installation at Dorie Miller Park. The Parks commissioners are anxious to see the plans and new designs.
- Fire Chief Joseph Thomas gave an activity report for the month of October in which there were 114 emergency calls, four structure fires (none within city limits), the purchase a truck to replace unit 2026, a $86,000 grant, with a five percent match requirement, to purchase 27 new portable radios and a $25,000 Homeland Security grant for eight cold water “dry suit” dive gear for the department.
- The finance committee report, by Councilmember Mark Etten, included approval for a $1,818,959 task order for Chapman Technical group to begin the construction phase of the city’s water system upgrades project. Chapman, Etten said, has been overseeing the design phase for the upgrades to the system for the past few years. This task order marks the long awaited construction phase, which will begin in the spring/summer of 2019.
Etten said a bid for $15,500 by Matt Condon was accepted to remove 22 Ash trees and one Maple tree, which were considered hazardous.