City Council discusses reports and strategy

BUCKHANNON — Buckhannon City Council met on Thursday, January 20 in Council Chambers to discuss department reports and strategic issues.

Laura Ward, Executive Director of Country Roads Transit (CRT), addressed Council with her annual report. Beginning in 2006, CRT has provided rides for essential tasks, such as grocery shopping, doctor appointments, work and more. In 2021, the transit gave over 4,000 rides in Upshur County alone.

Although numbers have declined due to COVID-19, this service is still essential to the area and requires outsourced funding to operate efficiently. Ward requested $5,000, in addition to the City’s annual funding of $10,000, to assist CRT in broadening their services and outreach. The executive director also requested $5,000 from Upshur County Commission, Randolph County Commission and the Elkins City Council. Buckhannon’s Council approved the funding request.

Following Ward, Upshur County Development Authority Executive Director Jennifer Bostian requested a letter of support from Council to aid the implementation of the State of West Virginia Broadband Investment Plan’s Major Broadband Project Strategies Program. This would expand broadband access in Upshur County. Mayor Robbie Skinner agreed to send a letter stating their support.

City Horticulturalist Dixie Green gave a brief report regarding greenhouse projects and inquiries with local nurseries about new trees in various locations in the city.

Beginning department reports, Jerry Arnold provided an update on Public Works. He explained the Street Department’s ongoing snow removal efforts, as well as an upcoming hydrology study in Jawbone Park. Arnold urged consideration of the idea of a Parks and Recreation position, ensuring the consistent upkeep of Buckhannon’s various parks. Mayor Skinner suggested a meeting with Public Works, County Commission and the Planning Committee to determine the criteria and description for the job.

Next, Amberle Jenkins addressed Council with an updated Finance Department report. She reviewed the City’s balances, revenues, and expenditures. She announced the final date to file for a position in this election will end on Saturday, January 29. The open positions are for two city council members and City Recorder. City Hall will be open this Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon for any last minute candidate.

Concluding department reports, Buckhannon Police Department’s Chief, Matt Gregory, provided Council with a packet containing the police department’s cumulative report for 2021. Officers are scheduled to undergo two upcoming trainings— one for sexual assault investigation and one for identifying impairment from narcotics. Gregory also announced they would be facilitating two interns in spring 2022, both from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Upshur County’s Firefighters Association requested Council representation at their January 26 meeting. The request was accepted.

City Attorney Tom O’Neil spoke on behalf of Ordinance #454 regarding parking on parade routes during parade events. This was the first of three readings, as adjustments and amendments can be made before the Ordinance is enforced.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 3 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers.


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