By Lyra Bordelon
No new chief of police, national news coverage, lack of candidates to fill Town Council seats, and potential progress on ordinances were the subjects of the Monday, February 22, Rainelle Town Council meeting.
Due to technical difficulties, the council meeting was not shared via video on the Town of Rainelle Facebook page. Instead, the meeting was streamed to Councilmember Ron Fleshman’s personal social media account.
A new Rainelle chief of police has still not been recruited to the town.
“We have a couple of prospects, I spoke with some people, but nobody is willing to take the reins yet,” said Acting Mayor Bill Bell. “… We’ve been leaning on the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department, they’re doing a marvelous job.”
After Greenbrier County 911 Director Mike Honaker approached Town Council for training in the county’s new emergency response system, council agreed someone in the currently vacant department should be trained in the software. As a result, the police department’s office manager was sent.
Rainelle received national press, noted Councilmember and mayoral candidate Jon Wyatt, as part of a segment on governmental response to flooding.
“A reporter from NPR was here Tuesday and did interviews with a couple of people,” Wyatt said. “We were on national news this morning … and it was all positive, most of it was positive from what I heard.
The segment, featuring interviews with locals Aaron Trigg, Jon Wyatt, and Matthew Eby, can be found at npr.org under the headline “A Looming Disaster: New Data Reveal Where Flood Damage Is An Existential Threat.”
Another project in the works is an ordinance allowing four-wheelers on the streets in town. Although previous talk around a four-wheeling trail would not be included here, this potential ordinance would be unrelated.
“It has come with a little concern from a few citizens,” Bell said. “… One of those concerns is [that] we know all the legalities. They have to be legal, just like state law says. We’re not putting anything in that isn’t already there, but I would have to … agree that there would be a time frame so you don’t open Pandora’s box and it’s the middle of the night with four wheelers going down the streets.”
No new progress has been made on the Rainelle Visitor’s Center. Previously Bell noted increased production costs had the project paused. This month, Bell said “we’ve got to make a move right-quick-like. We’re going to put that on hold for right now.”
Two more write-in candidates are still needed for seats on the Town Council, with only three candidates signed up for the five total seats. Bell emphasized “it’s not too late to sign up to run for office in this community. You can sign up as a write in. I’m encouraging someone – there’s still two vacant spots that you can get signed up for. All spots are available through a write in campaign.”
Potential revision to the distribution of town fees in order to better care for the street was discussed, with councilmembers noting they had the power to change the policy through ordinance due to the fees originally being enacted by ordinance.