BUCKHANNON — The Buckhannon City Council held a regular meeting in person at City Hall on Thursday evening. Members of the community were welcome to attend by calling in or visiting in person with required masks.
Mayor Robbie Skinner proclaimed Thursday, November 5, 2020 “Erin Anderson Day” throughout the City of Buckhannon. Local Teacher of the Year, Erin Anderson talked to those in attendance about teacher identity and the impact the pandemic has had on teachers. “I shared that I get my value from the work I do and the time that I spend with kids, celebrating their successes in the classroom,” Anderson said. “As teachers, we get our identity from our work in the classroom and until we have our students in front of us again, it felt like something was missing… The teachers need their students. I call it the Heart of a Teacher or Teacher Identity; it’s just who we are, it’s when we’re the happiest.”
The Council, City Attorney Tom O’Neill, City of Buckhannon Municipal Building Commission and Tom Aman, with Steptoe and Johnson, reviewed an Ordinance, which authorized the Building Commission to take the title and authorize the lease by the General Fund from the Building Commission. The Council approved the Ordinance. O’Neill explained, “The Building Commission will take title of the property, the City General Fund will then lease the property from the Building Commission, and then the City Council will sublease a portion of it to the Waste Board.”
In other business, Information Coordinator and Grant Researcher Callie Cronin-Sams gave her report with social media and press releases. She announced there are new hybrid Chestnut Trees at the Riverwalk Park and the Buckhannon Fire Department did not receive the FEMA SAFER grant to hire additional firefighters, but plan to revise and resubmit their application at a later time.
Public Works Director Jerry Arnold reported on progress of the different departments, including training, paving and Riverwalk Trail Extension #4 approval.
Finance Director Amberle Jenkins gave her report on grants, bills, current balances, revenues and expenses.
Buckhannon Fire Chief JB Kimble reported on September 2020 response stats and all 63 COVID tests, which have yielded negative results. He then reminded residents to change smoke detectors, as West Virginia reportedly has the highest rate of death from fires per capita in the country. Kimble reported that they will start drug testing the fire department volunteers this next calendar year, and they will continually have random testing throughout the year. Kimble also announced that a group of volunteers will be starting a PTSD group, filled with pastors, for supporting firefighters.
The Council then approved for the Buckhannon Fire Department’s change order for the Sutphen Rescue Fire Pumper Apparatus Truck.
Mayor Skinner addressed the following items during Correspondence and Information: the BFD’s Grant Denial for the FY 2019 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) FEMA/DHS Grant Program; Zoning Board of Appeals for 72 Boggess Street; CALEA Confirmation Letter for Web Based Assessment Law Enforcement Accreditation Review; ART26201 News Release: First Energy Foundation’s $5K gift in support of the Colonial Theatre Renovation; Proclamation: American Indian Heritage Month as November 2020; CGP Foods, Inc. Shop ‘n Save Express Zoning Form to WVABCA Licensing Department; Upshur County Commission’s September 2020 Cat & Dog Activity Report; City Press Release for the Veterans Day Program livestreaming on Facebook and broadcasted on TV Channel 3 on November 11 at 11 a.m.; City Press Release for the City planting two Hybrid American Chestnut Trees at Riverwalk in Collaboration with WesMonTy RC&D; FOIA Request-Retained Equity, LLC-Unclaimed Property; City Attorney’s letter to Altice USA, Suddenlink RE: Notice of Intent to Renew TV Cable Franchise Agreement & Written Comments from Public regarding issues and complaints; and WVDOT Alternative Transportation grant award for Poundstone Riverwalk Trail #4 Project.
The Council approved their October 15 regular and October 22 special meeting minutes, building and wiring permits and the payment of bills. The Council accepted the 2021 City of Buckhannon Holiday Schedule and approved to re-appointment the past Audit Committee for the FY 2020/2021. The Council ratified the City of Buckhannon’s board appointments FY 2020/21 Charles Gibson Public Library: Susan Breathe for a 2-year term, William L. O’Brien for a 4-year term, Charlotte “Butch” Rainey for a 3-year term, Martha Edgell for a 5-year term and Bethany Cupp Post to fill Jane Skinner’s unexpired term.
Before adjourning, City Councilors gave their comments and announcements. Mary Albaugh reminded residents that the American Legion Post 7, Buckhannon VFW Post 3663 and Honor Guard will be hosting a brief Veteran’s Day Program at 11 a.m. at Jawbone Park. CJ Rylands, David Thomas, Jack Reger and Mayor Skinner all congratulated Anderson and wished her luck in the national competition. “It’s a positive statement on our education system,” Rylands said. Thomas announced that the Family Resource Network will be holding a raffle for handmade furniture. Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. He also shared his disappointment for the Salvation Army bell ringers’ limitations. Reger reminded those in attendance that it was the 35th Anniversary of the 1985 Election Day Flood. Mayor Skinner reminded everyone that next week will be the 50th anniversary of the Marshall University plane crash tragedy.
The next Buckhannon City Council meeting will be held on Thursday, November 19.