In memoriam: Doris Williams, long-serving city revenue clerk

The City of Elkins is mourning the passing of Doris Williams, a long-serving city employee who died this week.

Ms. Williams was a revenue clerk in the City Treasurer’s Department for more than 20 years. She was hired in 1993 and retired in 2013.

“I had the great pleasure of working with her for almost two years,” says Tracy Judy, the city treasurer. “She was an extremely kind person to anyone she met and would do anything for anyone. Those who knew her will miss the caring person she was.”

The City of Elkins is grateful for Ms. Williams’s long and faithful service.

Her funeral, for which arrangements are not yet complete, will be handled by the Tomblyn Funeral Home. View Ms. Williams’s tribute page and other information on the Tomblyn website.

City Hall News: Week of Feb. 22, 2021

Elkins, W. Va., February 20, 2021: Next week sees a special meeting of council’s Rules & Ordinances Committee and a public tree-pruning workshop. Early voting continues at city hall through Saturday.

On Tuesday, at 12 p.m., the Elkins Tree Board and W. Va. Division of Forestry urban foresters will offer a free, public tree-pruning workshop in Glendale Park. This workshop is for anyone who would like to learn how to safely prune their trees. Bring gloves and tools if you have them and meet at the park office; no registration required.

The Rules & Ordinances Committee meets virtually on Tuesday at 12 p.m. to consider a proposed ordinance that would establish a board to oversee the city’s water system, just as the Elkins Sanitary Board oversees the city’s wastewater collection and treatment. Login and agenda are here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/council-and-committee-meetings

Early voting continues at city hall all week, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday. February 27 is the final day of early voting. Wednesday is the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot. Election day is Tuesday, March 2. For more election information: www.bit.ly/Elkins2021Election

Glendale Park will be closed Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., for a Davis & Elkins College cross-country meet.  This week’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Boards and Commissions has been canceled.

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Governor Eases Pandemic Restrictions

From the governor’s website: “During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that, after numerous discussions with members of the West Virginia pandemic response leadership team and other state leaders regarding the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases and the increasing number of vaccinated West Virginians, he has decided to issue a series of executive orders, lessening restrictions on several types of businesses, as well as schools, social gatherings, and more.”

Follow this link to learn more and access guidance documents.

Elkins Receives Clean Bill of Financial Health on 2020 Audit

City Has Received “Unmodified” Audit Opinions Every Year Since 2012

Elkins W. Va., February 19, 2021: At last night’s council meeting, Elkins Treasurer Tracy Judy reported that the city received a clean bill of financial health on its annual audit. State law requires West Virginia cities to undergo yearly audits. This audit, which examined financial records from the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2020, was performed by accountants working for BHM CPA Group, an Ohio-based public accounting firm with offices in Huntington, West Virginia.

The purpose of a municipal audit is to verify the city’s financial position as described on its annual financial statements. Auditors determine the accuracy of these statements by reviewing the city’s accounting procedures and examining financial records related to revenues and expenditures, grant administration, bank accounts, and more. Auditors also evaluate the city’s fraud-prevention safeguards and compliance with state law and government accounting standards.

Judy reported that auditors gave the city high marks.

“We received our ninth unmodified opinion in a row,” she said. “That means the auditors didn’t find any discrepancies or areas of concern.”

Sometimes also referred to as an “unqualified” or “clean” opinion, an unmodified opinion is the best result an audit can return because it indicates that auditors have found no misrepresentations of fact or failures to follow appropriate accounting standards. As Judy mentioned, Elkins has received unmodified opinions in each of its annual audits since the fiscal year ending in 2012.

The audit process begins each summer with a letter from the state auditor authorizing the procurement of an audit and providing a list of approved accounting firms. The city’s Audit Committee then solicits and evaluates proposals from at least three firms on this list. The evaluation process uses a score sheet published by the state auditor to assign points to the firms that submit proposals. Per the state auditor, the firm with the highest score must then be selected to perform the city’s audit.

Next, the selected firm receives the city’s financial statements, which are published each fall. The firm examines these statements carefully and uses them to devise an audit plan, including questions to be answered and tests to be performed.

Some of these questions are answered through correspondence and phone calls. Then, usually in January, the firm sends a team of accountants to visit city hall. Over the course of about a week, these accountants request records and interview staff members. One of this team’s tasks is the random sampling of transactions from the year under review, to ensure that the proper authorization, execution, and accounting records can be produced on demand.

Several weeks after this on-site visit concludes, the firm transmits the results of the audit to council.

“Receiving an unmodified opinion confirms that our daily procedures are correct, which is important for both councilors and the public to know,” says Judy. “I’m proud of the hard, careful work my team puts into safeguarding public funds.”

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(Photo credit: www.401kcalculator.org)

Storm Warning: Plan for power outages/loss of heat

There is a Winter Storm Warning in effect through 10 a.m. Friday, with significant accumulations of snow and ice predicted.

These conditions may result in power outages and loss of heat.

If you are without heat and need assistance, please call 911. Randolph County OEM will open warming stations as needed.

Remember, do not heat your home with your oven. Never leave candles unattended. Use caution with generators to ensure exhaust cannot enter your home.

(For information about preventing carbon monoxide poisoning, click here.)

Downloadable city election calendar

Election day is March 2. Polls will be open 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

Early in-person voting will be offered February 17- 27.

Early voting location: Elkins City Hall, 401 Davis Avenue

Early voting hours:

  • Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Click the image to download a PDF calendar showing these and other dates, suitable for hanging on your fridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

City Hall News for week of Feb. 15, 2021

Elkins, W. Va., February 13, 2021: Next week, both the Elkins Sanitary Board and council’s Finance Committee hold special meetings. Council, its Municipal Properties Committee, and the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission meet as regularly scheduled. Early in-person voting for the 2021 city election begins Wednesday at 9 a.m., at city hall.

In observance of Presidents’ Day, city hall is closed Monday. Monday trash pickup will proceed as usual.

The agenda for the Finance Committee’s 2 p.m. meeting on Tuesday includes the following items: city hall parking lot project update, consideration of social-media archiving software, FY 2021 budget revisions, and FY 2022 budget planning.

Also on Tuesday, at 3:15 p.m., the Elkins Sanitary Board, which oversees the city’s sewer system, meets to discuss equipment replacement at the wastewater treatment plant, the possibility of establishing a city water board, and a proposed RFP for a sewer line extension along North Randolph Avenue. Other agenda items include review of invoices and financial statements and an update on the sewer/stormwater separation project that commenced February 1.

At the Municipal Properties Committee’s 9 a.m. Wednesday meeting, agenda items include discussion of the Elkins Main Street Streetscape plan, an update on the city hall parking lot project, a proposed crosswalk safety project, and the next phase of ongoing downtown tree replacements.

The Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission meets Wednesday at 5 p.m., at the Phil Gainer Community Center.

Council meets in regular session Thursday at 7 p.m. The agenda may be adjusted through Tuesday. Currently entered are the following items: the first of two readings of an updated ordinance that would allow the operation of street-legal special purpose vehicles on city streets; the assignment of new Operations Department positions to the city’s Compensation and Classification Plan; a change order to the city’s contract with Pickering Associates to fund a riverfront study; the reappointment of the city attorney; and revisions to the FY 2021 General, Sanitation, and Water Funds.

Unless otherwise stated, all of the above meetings are virtual. Agendas and login information are here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/login.

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EFD: Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms, Test Monthly

Colorless, Odorless Gas is an Invisible Killer

Elkins, W. Va., February 12, 2021: The Elkins Fire Department is reminding area residents of the importance of installing carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in the home and testing them once a month. CO alarms provide an early warning of the presence of deadly CO gas, and monthly tests are vital to ensure they are working properly.

“Carbon monoxide is the invisible killer,” says Elkins Fire Department Chief Tom Meader. “It’s an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. Inside the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles running in an attached garage or a generator running inside a home or attached garage can also produce dangerous levels. The only way to detect CO is with a working CO alarm.”

According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2016, fire departments responded to about 80,000 non-fire CO calls per year, almost all in the home. More than 400 people die each year, on average, from unintentional CO poisoning from consumer appliances, motor vehicles, and other sources, according to the CDC.

“CO monitors can cost as little as $5,” says Meader. “That’s well worth it when you consider you might be saving a life.”

The Elkins Fire Department, NFPA, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) advise residents to take certain steps to ensure that their household is safe from CO.

“First, never ignore an alarming CO alarm,” says Meader. “It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard.  If the alarm signal sounds, do not try to find the source of the CO. Immediately move outside to fresh air and then call 911.”

Next, ensure your CO alarm is working properly by following the steps below:

  • Test CO alarms once a month using the test button, and replace CO alarms if they fail to respond correctly when tested.
  • Make sure you have CO alarms in your home outside each separate sleeping area, on every level and in other locations as required by laws, codes or standards.
  • Replace the CO alarm according to manufacturer’s instructions or when the end-of-life signal sounds.
  • Know the difference between the sound of the CO alarm and the smoke alarm and their low-battery signals. If the audible low-battery signal sounds, replace the batteries, or replace the device.
  • Follow manufacturer’s installation instructions.
  • For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one CO alarm sounds, they all sound.

Area residents with questions or concerns about CO alarm testing and alarm requirements may contact the Elkins Fire Department at (304) 636-3433. Information is also available here: www.cdc.gov/co.

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City Election Update

On March 2, city voters will elect a council member from all five wards and a new mayor.

Voters will also decide whether the city should:

  • Shift from its current Mayor-Council form of government to the Mayor-Manager form
  • Amend the charter to affirm the city’s commitment to complying with state open government rules
  • Extend the mayor’s term from two to four years (effective starting with mayor elected in 2023)

Registration for the March 2 election is now closed.

Early in-person voting for all wards will be at Elkins City Hall, February 17-27. Early voting is available Monday-Friday and Saturdays during the following hours:

  • Weekdays: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

For more election-related information, please see this webpage.

To review the candidates and ballot questions, click here.

Please contact the city clerk’s office with any questions.

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City Hall News: Week of Feb. 8, 2021

Elkins, W. Va., February 7, 2021: This week will see meetings of council’s Personnel, Finance, and Rules & Ordinances Committees. This month’s meeting of the Public Safety Committee, which normally meets second Mondays at 10 a.m., is cancelled.

The Elkins city attorney, per city code, serves one-year terms commencing each April 1. At its Monday 1 p.m. meeting, the Personnel Committee will consider the proposed reappointment of the current city attorney as well as personnel matters in the Code Enforcement Department and the Police Department.

The agenda for the Finance Committee’s Wednesday 9 a.m. meeting includes consideration of an additional code enforcement position, review of the engineer’s estimate for the city hall parking lot project, and evaluation of funding requests for both a riverfront study and social-media archiving software needed to comply with state public records laws.

Last year, the Rules & Ordinances Committee recommended to council a change to city laws that would have allowed the operation of street-legal special purpose vehicles on city streets, but the ordinance (277) was sent back to the committee for further work. Thursday at noon, the Rules & Ordinances Committee will take this matter up again. The committee will also consider updates to the city’s fire-fee and flood-plain ordinances and hear a proposal for the establishment of a water board for Elkins.

Preparations continue for the March 2 city elections, when voters will elect a council member in each ward, choose a new mayor, and decide whether to adopt a manager-based government structure. Tuesday is the deadline to register or update your registration for this election at the county—not city—clerk’s office. The sample ballot is printed in today’s paper.

All of the above meetings are virtual. You can find agendas and login information here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/council-and-committee-meetings.

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