With Mayor David Smith down with a bad back, the Ronceverte City Council, led by former Mayor Gail White, handily managed the Monday night meeting with Smith on speaker phone from his home, where he was able to provide a quorum and vote on several agenda issues.
Reports by grant consultant Doug Hylton on FEMA related issues, as well as other grant resources, held sway over the brief meeting. Hylton mentioned six grants that the River City is eligible for.
FEMA will cover the expense of various city equipment lost in the flood, as well as the expenses resulting from storm drain repairs.
The Greenbrier County Arts and Recreation Committee has made funds available to assist in putting Island Park back the way it was by replacing chain-link fencing around the ballfields that was knocked down and destroyed by the flood waters from the Greenbrier River.
The Main Street West Virginia Development Office has a Growing Healthy Communities grant Hylton has applied for that requires a primary water feature at Island Park in the absence of a pool. A splash pool will be that special feature, which should be a welcomed park enhancement for many youngsters next summer.
Hylton said he is working on two West Virginia Division of Highways grants that do no require a match, allowing the city to put all the funds received toward the projects’ completion, he said. Those grants involve the ongoing production of city sidewalks. Hylton said he is wrapping up two other sidewalk projects with new benches and planters that will spruce up the appearance of Edgar Avenue and Main Street.
And, lastly, the city’s Christmas decorations were also ruined in the June flood. Hylton said he’s applied for assistance to replace them, but donations may be needed as well. “It may be a blue Christmas,” if adequate funding is not received, he said.
In other city business:
• Dunn Engineering contractor Eric Hartwell stated, in his update report on the new wastewater plant, that progress of the site is going well now that the weather has cleared. The completion date, however, has been moved from February 2017 to mid-May 2017. Weather was the main issue, he said, and the June 23 flood event caused the loss of some of the equipment, including a crane. He said if the weather holds, that completion date could be moved up.
• City Administrator Reba Mohler stated that new committee appointments for the Ronceverte Planning Commission include Sherry Davis, who will replace Amy Hall, and Wayne Peer, who will take Kelly Bostic’s seat on the commission.
• Mohler said another FEMA hazard mitigation meeting will be held on Oct. 6, at 6 p.m., at White Sulphur Springs City Hall.