BUCKHANNON — On Thursday evening, the Buckhannon City Council congregated for the year’s final meeting. All Council members were in attendance in person or over the phone. The City Councilors heard monthly updates and reports, as well as an annual overview of the year.
Callie Cronin Sams, Information Coordinator and Grant Researcher, gave a report on the city’s public relations, website, and social media. She informed members about designing a Watershed sign for the Riverwalk and is also researching content to publicize on social media to remind people NOT to flush disposable gloves, masks, and other PPE.
Jerry Arnold, Public Works Director, provided updates on each of the city’s departments. Progress continues on various projects the City of Buckhannon has underway. Arnold also reported that Mountaineer Gas has restored service at the Colonial Theatre and a crew has been laying blocks in the building’s basement during inclement weather.
Finance Director Amberle Jenkins informed Council that the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department is expanding their personnel, hiring an additional sanitarian and multiple nurses. They are operating with very limited space in their current facility, and the Health Department is requesting additional space on a temporary basis. Council members decided to discuss the matter and determine the requirements regarding the space needed. The request will be further discussed at a later date. Councilors also discussed a property purchase on Mudlick Road with Jenkins. The property was first deemed to be in the flood plain, but after further investigation and study, the property was actually determined to be 6-8 feet above the flood plain. They are awaiting a refund on a portion of the insurance premiums.
Dennis Cortes, from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, reported on a Disc Golf course being built, in which a corner of the course extends onto the Board of Education property. After a formal vote, the Upshur County BOE agreed to let the course stay. The Parks and Recreation Board is looking to install the course in Spring of 2021.
Buckhannon Police Chief Matthew Gregory provided an annual report regarding citations, arrests, charges, 911 calls, etc. He also reported James Fisher was admitted to the Police Academy, beginning on January 25, 2021. The Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) volunteered over 1,515 hours during 2020, saving the City of Buckhannon a potential $35,000 in labor. Six officers were awarded for their volunteer hours through the Presidential Volunteer Service Award Program.
The City Council addressed and approved the following on the Consent Agenda: Approval of minutes for 12-03 meeting, approval of building and wiring permits, payment of the bills, approved the resignation of Greg Popovich on Zoning Board of Appeals, and appointment of Corey Rozelle on Zoning Board of Appeals.
Mayor Robbie Skinner wishes everyone a safe and Happy Holiday, and concluded the meeting by saying, “This is the last meeting of 2020, and we are happy to put this one to bed. We have put away six good months together so far.” Skinner added, “This community is one very bright spot in our country. We’re going to get through this virus together, and we’ll be a stronger community because of it.”
The next scheduled Buckhannon City Council meeting will take place on Thursday, January 7, 2021.