By Adam Pack
The Ronceverte City Council met Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m. at the new city hall building at 693 Edgar Avenue.
The first item of business was the securing of a much enlarged grant award for the completion of sidewalks in the city. The current amount of money available through grant funds is roughly $80,000, but City Administrator Pam Mentz brought forward news that with the rejection of that amount, the city can accept a new grant for $474,000. This new grant, which is through the West Virginia Department of Highways, will allow the city to “pay as we go,” Mentz explained, allowing the grant to reach a more significant sum. The projects, overseen by the Thrasher Engineering Group, cover sidewalks all across the city and with these new funds even more sidewalks can be improved.
Councilwoman Kathy King also made a point to note that, amid concerns from citizens over various projects around the city, “Keep in mind that grant money is very specifically earmarked. When we get money for sidewalks, that money is for sidewalks and sidewalks only. Those funds can’t bleed over at all.”
The city then moved to the approval of next steps in securing surveillance cameras in and around Island Park. Greenbrier Technologies Inc. was on hand to show the council an aerial map of where proposed cameras may be installed, as well sample images displaying the picture resolution and capabilities of their products. Greenbrier Tech let the council know that their cameras are equipped with facial and license plate recognition software and that all images are stored in a completely separate piece of hardware from the camera, making any images or footage taken by said cameras safe in the event of the camera’s damage. The footage collected from the cameras will then be fully accessible for 30 days, and end users will have the ability to slow, speed up, reverse, and otherwise examine the images.
Cameras will be in strategic locations throughout the park, as well as aimed at the intersection, possibly providing information on traffic incidents that may occur there, with large, clear signage noting the existence of surveillance cameras at the park. Greenbrier Tech went on to add that this package was amenable after final installation, meaning future cameras and equipment could be installed with the existing contract. Impressed with the capabilities of the cameras, the council approved the initial plan and will now await a quote from Greenbrier Technologies.
Council also approved the 2022 Urban Deer Hunt. Last year’s hunt, according to Police Chief Jerry Hopkins, was a success from a law enforcement point of view, saying that “it went well, and there were no problems reported by anybody.” The hunt will proceed as normal, however there is an update to paperwork for this year’s hunt.
There will only be a two day period to apply for the Urban Deer Hunt this year to streamline the process of application. “If anyone needs special accommodation or wants to get them at a time when they’re not publicly available, you can call ahead and we’ll try to set that up for you, we’re happy to work with people,” Mentz explained. She explained that many people have been calling the city to ask questions of how many deer were harvested, where they were harvested, and other general information in an attempt to find where the deer population in the area is and is moving. Mentz said that this information is best retrieved from the DNR, as all deer taken should be reported to their office.
The measure passed 5-1, the only no vote coming from Councilman Scott Vogelsong, citing concerns over safety.
The Ronceverte City Council meets on the first Monday of every month at 6 p.m. in the new City Hall Building at 693 Edgar Avenue. The public is encouraged to attend.