By Adam Pack
The Ronceverte City Council met Monday, Dec. 19 for their regular meeting, rescheduled from Monday, Dec. 5 due to illnesses amongst the council members. Items on the agenda included an update on progress to the water system, discussion of new equipment for the fire department, the EMS special needs registry, and more.
The EMS Special Needs Registry allows individuals or their loved ones to register their home with emergency dispatch as having individuals with special needs present. Councilwoman Ashley Gaye spoke to the personal impact of the registry, sharing that, “It could be huge for my daughter, as in the case of an emergency she might just run away due to her special needs, and this makes me feel so much better knowing that first responders will know well before they arrive what they should expect.” Those with autism, Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s, dementia, emotionally disturbed, hardness of hearing and or sight, deafness, blindness, immobility, and other necessities like severe allergies requiring an Epi-Pen may be included in the registry. Gaye made note of the fact that 30 families have signed up as of now, and all those that have special needs family members would be greatly benefitted by doing so.
The city also discussed the current status of Air-Pac acquisition by the Fire Department. The Department, as previously reported, secured the purchase of new Air-Pacs (apparati used by firefighters to breathe in non-permissive environments) to avoid regulatory action by the Fire Marshal’s office. However, the Fire Department has been requesting the city’s aid for assistance in purchasing the pacs, as they run upwards of $6,000 per unit and must be present on every truck. The Fire Department has a financing option through City National Bank for a loan at $1,100 a month at 6.9 percent interest. The Department will receive their Air-Pacs, but will need assistance in paying the loan should it be secured. The city council voiced their heartfelt desire to help the department secure these funds and work can now begin between the city and the department to find funding sources for the equipment.
On water related business, Mayor Deena Pack informed the council and public that a letter had arrived at city hall dated Nov. 2 declaring that Ronceverte’s Community Block Development grant (CDBG) would be receiving $2,000,000 for Water System Phase #4. The project will replace portions of water distribution systems benefitting 950 existing customers. Mayor Pack said that this money and this project is “a big part of the ‘menu’ to upgrade our water system.” Pipes in that system are both cast iron and concrete-asbestos, dating back to the early 20th century and the mid-70s, respectively. The pipes in question are largely south of the railroad tracks.
The city also updated their abandoned vehicle policy. As of now, the city does have an abandoned vehicle ordinance, but the actual removal of an abandoned vehicle requires police personnel and equipment. The motion before the council would allow city employees with city equipment to remove abandoned vehicles and house them on city property. City Administrator Pam Mentz said that this would “help police focus on crime and criminal activity and not bother them with just moving an abandoned vehicle.” Abandoned vehicles would still be subjected to the same set of regulations as before, the process taking several months from an initial report to the actual removal of a vehicle. The city passed this measure.
The City next delegated American Rescue Plan Act funds for the paving of Lewisburg Avenue and further work to the Ronceverte Splash pad. The funds to be split between the projects totals $60,873.00, with work to the Splash Pad encompassing electric wiring installation and the setting of rebar.
Finally, with heavy hearts, the Ronceverte City Council read a letter of resignation from Councilwoman Kathy King. King, who has moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to family, said in her letter: “Due to my relocation, I regretfully resign my position on the City Council of Ronceverte. I have enjoyed serving the citizens of Ronceverte and assisting in all the various projects and accomplishments we have completed over the past several years. I look forward to visiting and seeing what is currently in progress. Many good things are coming to the town and I wish the best for everyone, sincerely.” It was with an equally heavy heart that the members of the council voted to approve her resignation, noting that she and her very incisive questions will be missed.
King’s vacant seat must now be filled, and the city is accepting applications for the position until Dec. 29. Those submission letters can be mailed to P.O. Box 417 Ronceverte, WV 24970, or dropped at City Hall. For more information, call 304-647-5455.
The Ronceverte City Council will meet again on Monday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. in the new City Hall building. The public is encouraged to attend, and to call ahead at the phone number above to confirm time and date as they are subject to change.