Update on Dent Street Shooting

Statement from EPD Chief T.C. Bennett
Date: February 21, 2020
Date: 1046

On February 20, 2020, at approximately 6:24 pm, officers of the Elkins Police Department responded to a house located at 11 Dent Street in Elkins in reference to a shooting.

The location of the incident was in close proximity to the Davis Medical Center, which prompted a lockdown of that facility. Upon arrival, officers secured the scene and learned that one male subject had suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. The victim was treated at Davis Medical Center and subsequently transferred to Ruby Memorial Hospital for further treatment. Officers obtained a search warrant for the crime scene in order to collect evidence pertaining to the incident.

Investigators have been conducting interviews of witnesses and are currently attempting to locate others believed to have knowledge of the incident. A vehicle believed to be involved with this incident was recovered by the West Virginia State Police in Pocahontas County. This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact the Elkins Police Department at (304) 636-0678 or by dialing 911.

I would like to thank the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, the Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Department, and the Elkins, Marlinton, and Morgantown detachments of the West Virginia State Police for their assistance with this investigation.

T.C. Bennett
Chief of Police

How Are Elkins Sales Tax Revenues Being Spent?

Ever wonder how the city’s sales tax revenues are being spent? It’s an important question. Since the imposition of the tax in 2018, the city has collected about $1.6 million. Although we are only partway through the second year of the tax’s existence, it seems as though we can count on annual revenues of about $1 million. That’s a lot of money, with the potential to accomplish a great deal for Elkins.

What Sales Tax Money Can’t Do

There are some things it can’t do, however. The city can’t spend a dime of that money on anything to do with our sewer or water systems. State law requires that sewer and water utilities be run as standalone businesses, with no income other than user charges. (That’s why there had to be a sewer-rate increase last year, despite all this sales-tax revenue.)

Sales Tax Money is Restricted to the General Fund

Instead, municipal sales-tax revenues must go into a city’s General Fund, or basic operating fund. The General Fund covers things like street repairs, snow plowing, the police department, planning and zoning, building inspections, code enforcement, financial administration, customer service, legislative processes, downtown beautification, and the functioning and upkeep of city hall. For a sense of scale, the estimated annual sales tax revenue of $1 million represents about a 25 percent increase in the Elkins General Fund.

How Is This Money Being Spent?

So, how is that money being spent? A good snapshot comes from the fall of 2019, when City Clerk Jessica Sutton made numerous public presentations about progress on the City of Elkins 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. (You can scroll through the presentation below or download it here.)

As Sutton explained in the above presentation, about 80 percent of the $1.4 million that had then been collected (in around October 2019) was budgeted toward goals identified by council in the strategic plan, in categories like redevelopment and beautification; master facilities plan; improved communications; governance; and city boundary expansion.

Here are some of the budgeted strategic plan goals:

  • $100,000 for demolishing dilapidated houses
  • A new entry-level police officer position, at $125,000
  • $200,000 in improvements to the public parking lot behind city hall
  • $90,000 toward renovations at the Phil Gainer Community Center
  • A $200,000 project to renovate the police department
  • $75,000 toward needs assessment, equipment purchase, and staff for a new GIS office
  • Publishing the city’s laws in a searchable format online, at a cost of $20,000
  • $6,400 for analysis and planning for possible restructuring of city government

About 20 percent of sales tax revenues are going toward non-strategic-plan expenditures, including:

  • Annual lease on four new police vehicles: $36,000
  • 15 snowflake holiday decorations: $7,000
  • Council chamber and other city hall renovations: $43,000
  • Support for community partners (e.g., $5,000 to Humane Society’s feral cat spaying program): $18,000

The above are just highlights; the more exhaustive list of budgeted strategic plan goals from Sutton’s presentation is below.

Budgeted Strategic Plan Goals

City of Elkins Online Auto Auction

The City of Elkins and its Boards will be selling surplus property thru the online public auction site of J.J. Kane beginning on 11/15/2019.   (more…)

Street Vendor Ordinance now in place

Elkins City Council unanimously passed an ordinance during Thursday’s Elkins City Council meeting that will allow for street vendors within city limits.

According to City of Elkins Ordinance 264, street vendors – any person except itinerant vendors, who engages in or conducts, either as principal or agent, a business selling goods, wares, merchandise, food, confectionary or drink upon any street, sidewalk, or public park, including food trucks, will be permitted.

However, there are exceptions: vendors may only conduct business between six a.m. and 11 p.m.; no vendors may block pedestrian passageways; vendors must remove merchandise at the end of the sales day; no vendor set-up may consume more than three feet in width and eight feet in depth or more than two parking spaces; and no street vending is permitted on Davis Avenue between Second and Fifth Streets.

There are three classifications of vendors: Class A includes all non-food items, such as clothing, arts, crafts, flowers and miscellaneous items that are not food products; Class B covers all food products that do not require cooking, such as whole fruits, vegetables, and non-perishable food items that are pre-packaged by the manufacturer; and Class C is all food products that require cooking, heating, or a health permit. Vendors may also be required to meet additional requirements, depending upon their classification and location.

“It became apparent over the past few years that the food truck and street vendor industry had reached Elkins. I was receiving an increasing amount of inquiries about how and where vendors could operate, and in reviewing our City Code found it didn’t effectively address these questions,” Elkins City Clerk Jessica Sutton said.  “The Rules and Ordinances Committee, with the help of the City Attorney, Administrative Officers and local vendors, developed an ordinance they feel will both protect and encourage this growing entrepreneurial enterprise.”

Applications, as well as all the rules and regulations, are available at Elkins City Hall, 401 Davis Ave., and on the City’s website.

Adopt-A-Tree

CITY OF ELKINS TREE BOARD ANNOUNCES ADOPT-A-TREE PROGRAM

Date: August 22, 2019

Contact: Marilynn Cuonzo, Chair, Elkins Tree Board mcuonzo@cityofelkinswv.com

ELKINS-A new program that promotes planting trees throughout the city is being initiated by the Elkins Tree Board this fall. An Adopt-A-Tree program will provide a free tree to two selected homeowners in each of the city’s five wards. Application deadline for residents is Friday, September 13.

Members of the Elkins Tree Board are excited about the program and are inviting residents in the five wards interested in adopting a tree to fill out the application.. The selected tree owner commits to taking care of the tree for a minimum of three years, but board members will provide assistance and advice throughout the three-year period.

The trees must be planted in the front of the home and the type of tree will vary according to the site location. Preferred locations would be in a designated tree lawn, the grassy area located between the street and the sidewalk. The homeowner will be responsible for planting the tree within two weeks of receiving it.

The goal of the program is to continue to cool the streetscape, provide shade for those walking on city sidewalks and encourage everyone to plant more trees in town. The benefits of planting trees are numerous. Not only do trees improve the aesthetics of a neighborhood, but they also assist with the lowering water run-off, reducing air-conditioning costs and noise pollution. Most importantly, trees remove significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the air, which reduces the impact on climate change.

If the initial year is successful, the tree board will continue the Adopt-A-Tree program every year to reestablish trees lost due to age, storms and removal.

Applications are available online on the Elkins Friends of Trees Facebook page and the City of Elkins website, and at City Hall, 401 Davis Ave., Elkins. Deadline for submission is September 13, 2019, and the trees will be distributed no later than October 14. For further information, contact Marilynn Cuonzo, Chair, Elkins Tree Board, 304.636.5900 or mcuonzo@cityofelkinswv.com.

The Elkins Tree Board meets the first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Darden House adjacent to City Hall. The public is welcome to attend. The board offers various workshops and volunteer opportunities throughout the year and, those interested are encouraged to visit the Elkins Friends of Trees Facebook page.

Traffic pattern to change

The traffic pattern at the intersection of Gorman Avenue and Martin Street will transition to a four-way stop. Motorists are asked to use caution when approaching this intersection. It is projected that the intersection will become a two-way stop on Gorman Avenue as the completion of the bike route approaches.

Website Calendar

We are experiencing some interface issues with our website calendar. Please be patient while we work to address the problem with the help of our website developer. During this time, if you would like to confirm the date and time of any meeting, please call the Mayor’s Executive Secretary, Lea Crawford, at 304.636.1414 ext. 1110. We apologize for any inconvenience.

What to do under a boil water advisory

What should I do?

  • DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.

Final leaf pick-up

Announcement:

The City will complete a final leaf pick-up starting on Monday, December 17th. The crews will cover each ward in an efficient manner.  All leaves must be placed at the curb by this date in order to be picked up. Please note that this will be the last leaf pick-up of the season.

COMBINED SEWER SMOKE TESTING NOTIFICATION

ATTENTION

COMBINED SEWER SMOKE TESTING NOTIFICATION

The City of Elkins is conducting a sanitary sewer smoke testing evaluation designed to detect ground water and storm water that is entering the sanitary sewer system through defects in the pipe or illicit connections such as catch basins or downspouts.  We will be testing sewer lines in the Teaberry Hills areas.  The smoke testing will be performed during the week of November 26th, 2018.  In the event of inclement weather, the smoke testing will continue into the following week.

Smoke will be blown into the sewer system at manholes, and may be seen coming from roof vents, building foundations, or manhole covers.  The smoke is a non-toxic substance which is clean and harmless to humans, pets, food, and material goods and creates no fire hazard.  The smoke should not enter your home unless you have defective plumbing or dried up drain traps.  Ensure that all plumbing traps, including basement floor drains, are not dry and contain water.  If you have any seldom used drains, pour water into the drain to fill the trap.  If smoke enters the home through faulty plumbing, this indicates the possibility that dangerous sewer gases are also entering your home and you should consider contacting a licensed plumber to identify and make repairs.  You can report any presence of smoke within the house to the crews working in the street conducting the tests.

Please avoid unnecessary exposure to the smoke.  Although the smoke is relatively harmless, smoke of any kind can be irritating to the nasal passages for some people.  If you experience smoke irritation, it should be temporary and quickly disappear after exposure has ceased.

If you or any member of your family have respiratory problems, are immobile, or have any other health condition that you feel we need to be aware of, please contact the City of Elkins Operations Division, at 304-635-7021.