City Hall News: Week of Dec. 5, 2022

Meeting next week are council’s Finance Committee and the Elkins Sanitary Board. Applications are being accepted from Third Ward residents interested in filling a vacant council seat. There are vacancies on several area boards and commissions.

Meeting on Tuesday at 1 p.m., the Finance Committee will learn about a proposed online payments platform, consider a request to use money from the city’s coal severance budget to repair the elevator in city hall, and discuss the salary for the operations manager position.

The Elkins Sanitary Board, which oversees the city sewer system and wastewater treatment plant, meets Thursday at 10 a.m. The agenda will be posted Monday.

City Councilor Clint Higgins (Third Ward) has resigned. Applications will be accepted until December 23 from Third Ward residents interested in being appointed to fill his seat until the 2023 election. Learn more: www.cityofelkinswv.com/council-to-fill-third-ward-vacancy.

There are vacancies on several boards and commissions, and applications are being accepted through December 7. Many important city policies and projects are designed and managed not by the mayor and council but by the city’s boards and commissions. Citizen volunteers who serve on these bodies play a vital role in city governance.

The vacancies now being filled are on the Randolph County Board of Health, the Elkins Historic Landmarks Commission, and the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals and Board of International Property Maintenance Code Appeals. Some of these vacancies are restricted to city residents; others require only residency inside Randolph County. Some meet monthly, some only as needed. Learn more: www.cityofelkinswv.com/board-and-commission-openings

All meetings are open to the public and, unless otherwise stated, held at Elkins City Call (401 Davis Avenue). Find agendas and other meeting information here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/council-and-committee-meetings.

Council to Fill Third Ward Vacancy

City Councilor Clint Higgins (Third Ward) has resigned. Applications will be accepted until December 23 from Third Ward residents interested in being appointed to fill his seat until the 2023 election.

How Council Fills Vacant Seats

The city charter stipulates that, when a council seat becomes vacant,  it “shall be filled by appointment of a qualified person by council.” The charter further states that, in addition to being qualified to vote in Elkins, “councilors shall reside in the ward to be represented at the time of nomination and throughout the term of office.” Only voting-age persons who are qualified to vote in Third Ward are, therefore, eligible to apply for this position.

A protocol adopted by council in 2016 spells out the process of filling a vacancy in more detail. As required by this protocol, council has adopted a resolution officially announcing the vacancy, establishing an application period and deadline, and directing how applications may be submitted.

The resolution directs interested candidates to submit resumes in person/by mail to the Elkins City Clerk, 401 Davis Avenue, or electronically to jsutton@cityofelkinswv.com, no later than 12:30 p.m. on December 23. Qualified applications will be reviewed by the mayor and council, and interviews will be scheduled.

Interviews are performed by council and the mayor and consist of a standardized set of questions. Answers are scored by all elected officials present, and an average score is calculated.

The interview step is followed by a meeting at which council deliberates toward its top candidate. Once this candidate’s continued interest has been verified, he or she will be scheduled for appointment at the next council meeting.

Persons interested in applying are encouraged to attend council meetings, on first and third Thursdays, and to learn as much as possible about the structure of the Elkins government, which is unusual.

What Council Members Do

Elkins is chartered as a weak-mayor/strong-council system. Under this arrangement, Elkins mayors have limited authority. Councilors have no individual authority, but, acting as a 10-person body, the Elkins council exercises virtually all executive and corporate authority over the City of Elkins.

Through majority votes by a quorum of its members, council passes laws, adopts rules, and sets policy and strategic goals. Council is responsible for adopting the annual budget and monitoring the fiscal condition of the city; councilors can be held individually liable if budgets are overspent.

Five administrative officers report to council (the city clerk, the city treasurer, the fire chief, the operations manager, and the police chief). These officers are responsible for day-to-day operating and administrative decisions for their departments.

Elkins councilors are paid $7,200 a year and can enroll in the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System. Alternatively, they may forego salary and participation in the retirement system and instead join the city’s PEIA health-insurance plan. No other benefits are available to council members.

Read more about what city councilors do: www.cityofelkinswv.com/government/city-clerk/elections/what-city-councilors-do.

Find what ward you’re in: www.bit.ly/elkins-ward-finder

Elkins Simplifies Agenda Access, Management with Online Platform

Members of the public have a new way to access Elkins council agendas online and can even sign up to be notified when a new agenda is posted, thanks to an online agenda management platform that council recently adopted. The new online tool, which is called CivicClerk, will also speed up preparation and distribution of meeting documents, saving staff time for more valuable work.

For each council meeting, councilors and staff need access not only to agendas but also to a large volume of supporting materials, including staff reports, the text of resolutions and ordinances, and other documents necessary for informed decisions. These meeting packets can run to 100 or more pages.

Previous Method was Manual, Time-Consuming

Previously, the Elkins council’s meeting packets were assembled  as single PDF documents through a time-consuming process that introduced the possibility of manual error. The resulting PDF files were also not user-friendly for councilors to refer to and annotate during meetings.

With CivicClerk agenda management software, it is now simpler for the city clerk to manage submission and approval of requested council action items and to attach supporting documentation to specific agenda items for ease of reference. Councilors now have access to notetaking and annotation features within the application interface and can more easily refer to materials from past meetings, all inside the same online interface.

New Solution Simplifies Public Access

The new solution will also make it even easier for members of the public to stay in the loop concerning when meetings are being held and to view meeting packets for upcoming and past meetings.

West Virginia governing bodies, such as the Elkins council, are required by law to post paper copies of their agendas in a public place. Like many cities and counties, Elkins has long made its agendas (and related meeting documents) available online, as a convenience for the public. The process of posting these items to the city website was also manual, creating additional risk of errors and oversights.

With the new platform, when an agenda or meeting packet is finished and ready, it can be published both for councilors and other internal users as well as for the public with one click, eliminating duplication of effort.

How to Take Advantage of the New Platform

The City of Elkins CivicClerk Agenda Center is available on this page of the city website: www.cityofelkinswv.com/agenda-center. There, visitors will see a list of current and upcoming events (i.e., meetings), as well as a list of the most recent events. Registration is not necessary to view published agendas, packets, and minutes. By registering, however, users can subscribe to receive notifications when council and committee agendas are published.

To enable staff and councilors to learn the new platform, it is only being used for council agendas and other documents pertinent to council meetings for the time being. Early next year, it will be rolled out for all council committees as well.

Board and Commission Openings

Last modified on December 2nd, 2022 at 04:07 pm

Applications are being accepted through Wednesday, December 7 from persons interested in filling vacancies on several area boards and commissions. Many important city policies and projects are designed and managed not by the mayor and council but by the city’s boards and commissions. Citizen volunteers who serve on these bodies play a vital role in city governance. Maybe you’d like to get involved!

The following boards and commissions have vacancies:

Randolph County Board of Health

This board oversees the Elkins-Randolph County Health Department. There is one vacancy; applicants must be city residents. This board meets bi-monthly.

Board of Zoning Appeals

This board hears appeals to zoning decisions, such as when the city’s zoning officer denies a certain use in a certain location. There are three vacancies; applicants must have resided in Elkins for at least three years. This board meets rarely, for periodic administrative work and as needed in response to an appeal.

Board of IPMC Appeals

This board hears appeals to citations issued for violations of the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). There is one vacancy; applicants must be residents of Randolph County but do not need to live in Elkins. Experience in property maintenance or a related field is required (please get in touch to discuss if you are not sure). This board meets rarely, for periodic administrative work and as needed in response to an appeal.

Elkins Historic Landmarks Commission

This commission provides education about, advocacy for, and preservation of Elkins historic properties and landmarks. There is one vacancy; applicants must be residents of Randolph County but do not need to live in Elkins. This commission meets monthly.

More Information

For more information about these openings, please contact the Office of the City Clerk.

Download an application by clicking here. Applications are due December 7.

For more information about City of Elkins board and commission openings, click here.

City Hall News: Week of Nov. 28, 2022

Last modified on November 28th, 2022 at 11:41 am

Meeting next week are council’s Finance Committee and ad hoc Special Hiring Committee. Also meeting are the Elkins Sanitary Board and the Elkins Tree Board. Council meets Thursday. The Downtown Christmas Parade is Friday at 6 p.m.

The Finance Committee meets Monday at 10 a.m. to continue work on the cable television franchise renewal agreement with Optimum (formerly Suddenlink), the determination of a salary level for a new human resources position, and discussion of asbestos remediation at 5 River Street.

Also meeting Monday at 10 a.m. is the Sanitary Board, which oversees the Elkins sewer system. The board’s agenda includes renewal of a uniform contract with Cintas, discussion of a contract with C-Com for IT services, consideration of the need for a wastewater rate increase, and discussion of next steps for the foam-filled sewer line under Randolph Avenue.

The Tree Board meets Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The board will continue work to identify a new board member and prepare for the submission of a grant application to the West Virginia Division of Forestry for a final round of replacement trees for downtown.

Council meets Thursday at 7 p.m. The agenda may be adjusted through Tuesday. Current items include reappointment of the city clerk, creation of a new human resources position, and approval of the cable television franchise renewal agreement with Optimum.

All meetings are open to the public and, unless otherwise stated, held at Elkins City Call (401 Davis Avenue). Find agendas and other meeting information here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/council-and-committee-meetings.

City Hall News: Week of Nov. 21, 2022

During Thanksgiving week, no meetings are scheduled. City hall will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Customers whose trash is usually picked up on Mondays or Thursdays will have a different schedule this week. Trash normally picked up Mondays will be picked up Sunday (11/20), starting at 6 a.m. Trash normally picked up Thursdays will be picked up Wednesday (11/23), starting at 6 a.m. There are no changes for customers whose trash is picked up Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Fridays.

Utility bills are due Monday.

Leaf Collection Ends 11/23

The final day of leaf collection will be Wednesday, November 23.

Please have all leaves to the curb by Monday morning to ensure your leaves will be picked up.

More information: https://cityofelkinswv.com/2022-leaf-pickups-begin-oct-17/

Thanksgiving Week 2022: Schedule Changes

If your trash is usually picked up on MONDAYS or THURSDAYS, this schedule will change during Thanksgiving week.
 
Trash normally picked up MONDAYS will be picked up Sunday (11/20), starting at 6 a.m.
 
Trash normally picked up THURSDAYS will be picked up Wednesday (11/23), starting at 6 a.m.
 
There are no changes for customers whose trash is picked up Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
 
City hall will be closed Thursday and Friday (11/24-25).

City Hall News: Week of November 11, 2022

Meeting this week are council’s Public Safety Committee, ad hoc Organizational Audit Committee, and Municipal Properties Committee. Also meeting are the Elkins Historic Landmarks Commission and the Elkins Parks & Recreation Commission. Council meets Thursday.

The Public Safety Committee meets Monday at 10 a.m. to prioritize properties for demolition using the recently awarded $300,000 in West Virginia DEP RADPP funding and to discuss a housing study recently completed by Woodlands Development & Lending.

On Tuesday at 1 p.m., the Organizational Audit Committee continues its consideration of the building inspector, operations assistant, and operations administrative assistant positions.

Meeting later Tuesday, at 4 p.m., the Historic Landmarks Commission continues work on historic plaques, SHIPO grants for Davis & Elkins College and Maplewood Cemetery, and its lease with the city.

On Tuesday, at 5:30 p.m., there will be a public forum to provide input for the development of a master streetscape plan for downtown. The public is welcome to attend the event, which will be held at the Randolph County Community Arts Center.

On Wednesday at  9 a.m., the Municipal Properties Committee will continue work on next steps regarding leases for Darden House office-space tenants.

Meeting Wednesday at 4:15 p.m., the Elkins Water Board will work on fees for taps for new water service and review job descriptions for new water plant positions.

Also on Wednesday, at 5 p.m., the Parks & Recreation Commission meets at the Phil Gainer Community Center to discuss Canada-goose control and memorial benches.

Council meets Thursday at 7 p.m. The agenda, which may be adjusted through Tuesday, currently includes the contract for next year’s downtown flowers program, the contract for next year’s maintenance of landscaping in the city hall parking lot, promotions and changes to rank structure in the Elkins Fire Department, appointments to the Elkins Tree Board and Elkins Planning Commission, and approval to proceed with development of an application for tax increment financing in downtown Elkins.

All meetings are open to the public and, unless otherwise stated, held at Elkins City Call (401 Davis Avenue). Find agendas and other meeting information here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/council-and-committee-meetings.

Elkins tree board receives gold leaf award

ELKINS–The City of Elkins Tree Board (ETB) was recently awarded the prestigious Gold Leaf Award by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), which recognizes excellence in Arbor Day or Landscape Beautification projects in the Mid-Atlantic region. The award is for outstanding Arbor Day activities which will significantly impact the community.

This international distinction for the tree board resulted from a nomination by the WVU School of Natural Resources Chapter of the ISA.

In making the nomination, Dr. David McGill, Professor and Extension Service Specialist with the WVU Forest Resources Management department, said he immediately thought of Elkins. “It is in the heart of the Highlands, has the Forest Festival in its beautiful city park, and a Pollinator Alley in Glendale Park. When I asked someone who did all that work, I heard about the Elkins Tree Board. Having seen the nice landscaping downtown and other areas, which show how hard the Tree Board and community members have worked–the Elkins Tree Board was a natural choice.”

In 2022, the Elkins Tree Board planted over 30 trees for Arbor Day at Elkins City Park and Bluegrass Park. The combined tree planting events attracted over 50 volunteers associated with the Elkins Friends of Trees, Emma Scott Garden Club, Elkins Park and Recreation, the Children’s Home, and individual families. The ETB also co-sponsored the Earth Day celebration, participated in the downtown Sprout into Spring event, and hosted hands-on workshops.

The Gold Leaf award from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the ISA was presented to the ETB board by Sam Adams, an urban forester with the WV Division of Forestry, at the recent Adopt-A-Tree event held at the Elkins Tree Nursery on the Gov. Kump House grounds.

Since its creation, the ETB has successfully garnered grants for urban trees downtown, enhanced the Pollinator Alley at Glendale Park, and maintains a tree nursery and heirloom apple orchard at the Kump Education Center. The board meets at the Darden House on the first Tuesday of the month. Follow the Elkins Friends of Trees on Facebook for more information on upcoming events.

Contact: Nanci Bross-Fregonara, Elkins Tree Board, nbross-fregonara@cityofelkinswv.com  

CUTLINE:

Elkins Tree Board members were on hand to receive the prestigious ISA Gold Leaf award for excellence in Arbor Day activities from WV Division of Forestry urban forester Sam Adams. From left, Linda Silva, Nanci Bross-Fregonara, Adams, Katy McClane (Friends of Trees), Marilynn Cuonzo, Angela Davis, Linda Burke and Aira Burkhart. Not pictured is board member Sam Golston.

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