BUCKHANNON — The Buckhannon City Council held a regular meeting in person at City Hall on Thursday evening and welcomed K-9 Erros as the newest addition to the Buckhannon Police Department. Members of the community were welcome to attend by calling in or visiting in person with required masks.
The meeting started with a public hearing to allow the public to voice comments, questions and concerns about Ordinance 448 (acquisition of the Building Commission property), to which no one responded. During the meeting, City Attorney Tom O’Neill and Tom Aman, with Steptoe and Johnson, discussed the enactment and adoption, as well as accepting the proposal from First Community Bank.
BPD Sergeant Courtney introduced his new K-9 Erros, an 18-month-old Dutch Shepherd trained on drug detection, tracking, area searches and apprehension.
Upshur County Honor Guard Commander Larry Brown, who is also the former Commander of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, asked the city for permission to place boxes throughout the town to collect Toys for Tots. Collection boxes are set up now until December 15, then the toys will be dispersed December 19 and 20.
Rhett Dusenbury came on behalf of Congressman Alex Mooney to show Mooney’s support for the City of Buckhannon and offered help with any grants needed.
In other business, Upshur County Parks and Recreation Board Representative Dennis Cortes gave his monthly report on their November meeting. He reported that the new proposed Upshur County Recreation Park signs are waiting for approval by the West Virginia Department of Transportation and they are looking at ideas on what to do with the old amphitheater. Cortes also reported on a scam call going around recently claiming to be Amazon, asking people to “renew club memberships.” He warned that he contacted Amazon, whom said they do not have clubs, and advised if anyone experiences these calls to hang up and report the number to the police department.
Information Coordinator and Grant Researcher Callie Cronin-Sams gave her report with social media and press releases. She talked about the grants she is working on, “Christmas around the World” on Main Street and the available WiFi hotspots in the area.
Public Works Director Jerry Arnold gave his reports on the Street, Sewer, Water, Waste and Engineering departments.
Finance Director Amberle Jenkins gave her report on grants, bills, current balances, revenues and expenses.
Buckhannon Police Chief Matthew Gregory reported that Officer Colin Cope has turned in his resignation effective December 5. He explained that he has submitted names for a new Probationary Police Officer, including Al Laroussi, Charles Wayne Smoll and Jacob Emanuel Garrison, to which the Council later approved. Chief Gregory also reported that the department is mentoring two high school seniors, Hunter Cohen and Levi Tomey.
City Attorney Tom O’Neill discussed House Bill 4587 in his report, which the Waste Board adopted for inflation rates.
Mayor Robbie Skinner addressed the following items during Correspondence and Information: Notice of the public hearing bond authorizing Ordinance No. 448; John Young and Marshall Day Proclamation; WVDHSEM’s letter for “Change of Scope Letter #2 Budget Revision #1 - Emergency Power Generator; and the City’s press releases for both the Buckhannon Sewer Department Crew being commended for outstanding performance and work ethic and Buckhannon Police Department’s Sergeant Courtney and K-9 Erros completion of training.
Council approved their November 5 regular meeting minutes, building and wiring permits and the payment of bills.
The board also held and approved their second reading of the Ordinance No. 447 Revised Downtown Parking. The third and final reading will be held at the next City Council meeting on December 3.
Rob Hinton visited the Council to discuss a new road project with Upshur County Development Authority on Brushy Fork Road. The council tabled the discussion until the next meeting.
City Councilors gave their comments and announcements. Mary Albaugh thanked the Council and media for their help on the Veteran’s Day gathering and asked the public to donate to Toys for Tots. Pam Bucklew thanked Jerry Arnold for his work within the community and BURMA’s help with the Christmas decorations. CJ Rylands commented that he does not support hiring a new probationary officer, but instead thinks the city should hire a new deputy chief. Randall Sanders also showed interest in looking to hire a new deputy chief.
Mayor Skinner announced that in lieu of a Christmas parade, the Buckhannon Fire Department is planning a full day of Santa strolling around the City of Buckhannon on a fire truck to visit the kids, beginning at noon on December 5.
Before adjourning, the Council went into an executive session regarding personnel matters. The next Buckhannon City Council meeting will be held on Thursday, December 3.