Council Committee Diary: December 2021

Most council agenda items originate in one of council’s standing or ad hoc committees. You can learn more about council committees here and find meeting times and agendas here.

Following is a summary of committee work from the month of December 2021. (Most committees did not meet during December.)

  • Finance Committee: At its December 6 meeting, the committee supported the police chief’s request to purchase a portable radar sign for $3,500. These signs lock to existing signposts and can be installed in minutes by one staff member. They measure and show the speed of approaching vehicles, and they also record detected speeds for trend analysis. The committee also supported an end-of-year stipend for general fund employees and recommended a salary range for the new operations manager of $50-65,000 a year.
  • Special Hiring Committee: At its December 1 meeting, this ad hoc committee charged with identifying the next operations manager finalized a new job description for the position and authorized staff to advertise it and begin accepting applications.
  • At December meetings, the Elkins Sanitary Board and the Elkins Water Board discussed compensation and staffing levels. These boards are not committees of council but rather standalone entities governing these two vital infrastructure systems.

Council Committee Diary: November 2021

Following is a summary of committee work from the month of November 2021.

Most council agenda items originate in one of council’s standing or ad hoc committees. You can learn more about council committees here and find meeting times and agendas here.

  • Finance Committee: At its Nov. 1 meeting, the committee discussed the issue of providing an allowance for work boots for certain city departments. The committee was advised that IRS rules require such items to be taxed as compensation to the employee. No further action was taken. The committee also approved a proposal by the city treasurer to outsource mailing of utility bills to reduce costs.
  • Public Safety Committee: At its November 17 meeting, the committee learned that EPD tentatively plans to purchase Motorola body-worn and dashboard cameras. A meeting with area businesses is planned to discuss a new enforcement strategy for off-premise shopping carts. The police chief presented information about a radar sign he would like to purchase; it can be hung from signposts by a single staff member and records speed information for analysis. The need for higher compensation for the communications specialist and sworn officers was discussed. There is a significant pay disparity between the city and the county sheriff’s department.
  • Personnel Committee: Meeting November 16, the committee discussed how temporary assignment of additional duties should be compensated and how to adjust the city hall schedule for the holidays (current policy is not cleanly applicable to years when Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on weekends). The committee determined that pro-rating benefits for full-time employees who work less than 40 hours in a week is not practical.
  • Rules & Ordinances Committee: The committee, meeting November 10, decided not to recommend that council prohibit “street legal” UTVs on city streets. The committee also worked on reorganizing city laws and penalties regarding parking/standing/stopping violations and recommended that council require that the Board of Zoning Appeals meet only quarterly (and as needed for appeals), rather than monthly.
  • Municipal Properties Committee: Meeting November 3, the committee worked through the recommendations of Bryson Van Nostrand, an architect, concerning prioritization of city hall projects in light of council’s dedication of ARPA funds to such projects. First priorities are related to the fire alarm system, accessibility (especially bathrooms), and repairs to the facade to reduce the danger that pieces could fall onto passersby.
  • Special Hiring Committee: The committee finalized an updated job description for the operations manager position (especially as necessitated by the decision to shift administrative oversight of the water and sewer systems to their respective boards).

Mayor Announces New Committees, Committee Memberships

Establishes Ad Hoc Collaboration and Marketing Committee and Addiction and Homeless Resources Task Force

Elkins, W. Va., April 7, 2021: Mayor Jerry Marco has made changes to Elkins council committee memberships and announced the formation of a new ad hoc Collaboration and Marketing Committee and a new inter-agency Addiction and Homeless Resources Task Force.

Under the new city charter adopted by council last year, Elkins mayors are granted authority to decide the membership of council’s standing committees and may also establish and appoint members of ad hoc committees. By longstanding custom, committee memberships are typically updated immediately following the city’s biannual elections.

Mayor Marco explained that the purpose of the new Collaboration and Marketing Committee is to further strengthen lines of communication between city officials and other agencies, organizations, and stakeholders in the Elkins community. Committee members will be charged with reducing duplication of efforts and increasing collaboration communitywide toward a goal of making Elkins even more appealing and attractive to new residents and businesses. Appointed to this committee are Councilors Charles S. Friddle, III; Nanci Bross-Fregonara; Clint Higgins; and Linda Vest.

The Addiction and Homeless Resources Task Force will consist of one council member, the chief of the Elkins Police Department, and the Randolph County sheriff. There will be at least four citizen members, as well. This body will also look for opportunities to reduce duplication of efforts, but specifically in the areas of addiction and homelessness prevention and response. According to Marco, task force members will seek and share information about available strategies and resources, as well as identifying and advocating for needed new resources.

Prior to adoption of the new charter, there were five standing council committees, and these are now stipulated as permanent: Finance, Rules & Ordinances, Municipal Properties, Public Safety, and Personnel. The table below shows the previous and new membership of each.

Committee Previous Membership New Membership
Finance Charles Friddle, III (chair)
Carman Metheny
Marilynn Cuonzo
Mike Hinchman (chair)
Rob Chenoweth
Christopher Lowther
Rules & Ordinances Linda Vest (chair)
Mike Hinchman
Rob Chenoweth
Nanci Bross-Fregonara (chair)
Clint Higgins
Marilynn Cuonzo
Municipal Properties Marilynn Cuonzo (chair)
Christopher Lowther
Karen Wilmoth
Marilynn Cuonzo (chair)
Charles Friddle, III
Judy Guye
Public Safety David Parker (chair)
Linda Vest
Mike Hinchman
David Parker (chair)
Judy Guye
Mike Hinchman
Personnel Carman Metheny (chair)
David Parker
Judy Guye
Rob Chenoweth (chair)
Linda Vest
Christopher Lowther

 

The Finance Committee has announced that it will continue to meet first Mondays at 10 a.m. Public Safety will continue to meet second Mondays at 10 a.m. The other committees have not yet announced the dates/times of their regular meetings.

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“Street Legal” ATVs on City Streets?

Elkins Council Committee Seeks Public Input on Possible Rule Change

Elkins, W. Va., October 12, 2020: Lawmakers amended state code this year to allow ATVs and UTVs meeting certain safety requirements to be operated on public roadways, and an Elkins Common Council committee is considering similar changes here. Council’s Rules & Ordinances Committee, which will decide at its November 12 meeting whether to recommend council approval of an ordinance making such changes, is seeking public input on this matter before that meeting. (more…)

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