SISTERSVILLE -- City Council recently discussed a laundry list of items that included approval of the annual budget, water theft as well as Parks and Recreation Department events.
During Monday's meeting, council unanimously approved the 2017-18 general fund budget of about $980, 827.
City Recorder Chad Edwards said the budget has increased from last year by about $100,000 because City Hall has added the Ferry Board and the Parks and Recreation budget back into the general funds. He said the increase in expense was offset by the increase in receipts.
Edwards said it is a trim budget, not any frills.
"Each department head was given the opportunity to request needed items and to think of ways to cut costs," he said. "Those meetings were quite productive."
In other business, Mayor Bill Rice said he has been frustrated with an ongoing issue of people not paying their water bills and it has gotten to the point that people have cut off their water meters in an attempt to get free water. He stated that it has gotten to the point where the city will begin prosecuting those people for theft of utilities. Tampering with a meter or a lockout is justification for a lawsuit and the city has been keeping track of the amount of water being used even after being shutoff and evaluating a dollar value for the lost water.
"We will be pursuing legal action against anyone who gets caught," Rice said.
Also, council approved a request to hold the Autism Awareness Walk at 6 p.m. April 9 on the walking trail located behind Sistersville General Hospital.
Also, department heads then gave their monthly reports and it was mentioned that the city has a new trailer that is being used and it worked great for gathering sludge. When asked about paving in front of the Fire Department it was stated that Hope Energy would be responsible for fixing the damages and that they would get to it when they can get some asphalt.
There was an acknowledgment for the city workers for fixing a water break last Friday. The Street Department, Water Department, Sewer Department and the garbage crew all worked together to get the job done. Kudos for working together to solve the problem.
Tyler Sheriff's Department announced that they would like to get their vehicles on a two-year rotation in order to keep up with viable vehicles. The white Crown Victoria should be paid off around the time that the new budget will be presented and so they will go ahead and purchase another vehicle on the state bid contract. The payment will be relatively the same and some feel that it could be more cost effective than constantly doing maintenance on some of the older vehicles.
The city planning commission announced that they have purchased the paints for the pool. Also, the Easter Egg Hunt will be held on Saturday April 15. The annual Picnic in the Park will be Sunday July 9 which will be a free swim day sponsored by the city planning commission. The Spring Cleanup is scheduled for the last week of April and there will be one large and one small dumpster available for collecting.
March movie nights have been a big success at the library with at least 30 people showing up for the fun. The first showing was "Goonies" followed by "E.T." And this upcoming weekend will feature The "Sandlot" followed by "Shiloh" the weekend after. They have been using the new projector that was purchased by the park and it has been a great collaboration.
On March 20, the Park and Recreation Department will begin interviews for pool workers and lifeguards with lifeguard training to begin April 8. There is a little damage from winter that will need to be addressed but nothing too major. There have been some complaints in regards to usage of electricity during ball games. The rate is $8 an hour for electricity for adult leagues, however the committee decided that there will be no charge for childrens sports. There have also been some complaints that the adults are not abiding by rules of the park and so the park committee will have to crack down on these complaints. The committee feels that the adults need to set the example for the youth. Also, the Park Department would like to begin working on the pool earlier this year to work on some of the winter damage and to do some concrete work. They are planning to begin one the first of April. The painting is set to begin around the 15th of April.
The Ferry Board announced that the ferry is still in dry dock and there have been some repairs done. The preliminary coast guard inspection is finished and they made some suggestions of what needed to be accomplished. The corrections were made accordingly and then the coast guard will re-inspect the vessel. The ferry is scheduled to open on Thursday May 4. Hours of operation will be 6 a.m.- 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Senator Mike Maroney will be giving a proclamation on the 200th anniversary of the charter of the ferry. There will be a 24-hour radio-thon held on April 7 to help get the word out and hopefully raise some contributions. There will be a media cruise in June where media agents throughout the state will take a tour of the ferry to help give the ferry some publicity.
The Fire Department announced that they feel the public has been misinformed about what is happening at the fire department and so they extended and invitation for anyone to attend their monthly meeting which are held on the first Monday of every month. They are also interested in building a history of the Fire Department and anyone with any information, memorabilia, or any other items to be displayed come forward where they will receive recognition for these items.
The Alumni Parade is scheduled for Saturday May 27th at 1 p.m. and Chapel will be held at 9 a.m. May 26 at the gymnasium.
The handicap ramp is ready to be installed on City Hall, but the city needs better weather. The design is for the ramp to begin on the right hand side of the front entrance and will wrap around to the side entrance. The city feels that they will more than likely end up replacing the doors on the side entrance. All of the modifications must first be approved by a historic committee before any work can be done to City Hall. Swiss Valley Associates will be doing all of the construction.
The next City Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. April 10 at the Sistersville Fire Department.