POINT PLEASANT — As it has many times before, the albatross of the Franklin building reared its head at the most recent meeting of Point Pleasant City Council, namely the lawsuit that’s been filed associated with it.
City Attorney RF Stein gave council a status update of the civil suit filed against the city by Ferrell Properties, Inc., Chillicothe, Ohio, which owns the Wallpaper Outlet store that adjoins the old Franklin building in the 400 block of Main Street. The Franklin building and Wallpaper Outlet have an adjourning roof and common wall.
Stein said he, along with the attorney representing Ferrell Properties, recently did an on-site inspection of the property. Stein said the Franklin building was in such disrepair they could not enter by the front door due to a ceiling which had caved in. Instead, entry was made through the back entrance to inspect the building and if the dilapidated condition is affecting the neighboring building.
Stein said the city’s insurance company is providing an attorney to help with the suit which basically alleges neglect and nuisance. Members of council once again spoke about their frustration for having to deal with the building, saying the council from a previous administration never voted to accept the property. It was also noted the front door of the property had been unlocked for some time until the oversight was discovered in December and no one knew how long it had sat this way. For the record, the building is now secured, according to Mayor Brian Billings.
Another property which seems to never go off the council’s meeting agendas was also discussed - the Yeager property on Main Street. Stein said he had no real update on this property, reiterating the owner of this property claims the lot was donated to the city under the condition it become a park.
City Clerk Amber Tatterson said she’d looked into why expenses in the garbage fund had increased, as per Councilman Sam Juniper’s request made a previous meeting. Tatterson said some of the items contributing to the increased expenses are increases in garbage dumping fees, property and liability insurance premiums, fuel costs (the garbage is hauled to a processing plant in Gallipolis, Ohio), overtime and retirement payments.
Tatterson added it had been almost five years since garbage fees were increased. She said a 13 percent increase would help the garbage fund break even while 15 percent would help it break even and keep up with increases. She said the 15 percent increase would amount to around $2.25 per month per customer. Tatterson also reported the garbage truck was paid off in November, freeing up $2,400 a month which normally went towards a truck payment. No further discussion was made on garbage fees.
The city received one bid for a lease-purchase agreement on a new truck. Farmers Bank submitted a bid under its Capital Lease Program at three percent interest for three years. The cost of the truck is $23,000. Council accepted the bid.
The Police Pension Fund, how to fund it for existing employees and what type of pension program to offer new employees was discussed. The discussion was tabled until city officials could meet with a representative from the Police Pension Fund.
Council set fireworks for the Point Pleasant Regatta for Saturday, June 30.
Billings announced the city is attempting to find grant funding to purchase digital water meters.
Billings also said the city is in need of a part-time employee in the water department.
Juniper also asked about enforcing the “30 minute parking only” signs along Sixth St. in front of the Mason County Courthouse. Juniper said the signs should denote all the parking along this side of the street is only 30 minutes, not just a couple of spaces. Juniper asked the mayor to send County Administrator John Gerlach a letter saying this policy would be enforced with parking tickets starting Jan. 16. Juniper had previously said at least one courthouse employee was parking in these spots all day long. This discussion then led into a discussion about parking limits in downtown. Juniper asked this topic be placed on the agenda for February.
Billings brought council up to speed on the Flood Wall Committee which has to comply with new rules and regulations regarding the flood wall after Hurricane Katrina. Billings said, for example, in July, crews will have to demonstrate closing the gates near Krodel Park - this will mean the temporary closure of the road until the exercise is completed. Billings said the committee seemed ahead of the game.
Council also approved extending the contract bid / construction administration phase for the North Point Pleasant Drainage Project to Burgess and Niple, Columbus, Ohio. The firm, which already handles several aspects of this project, has a total contract price with the city for $300,000.
The NPPDP cannot move forward without property easements from nearby landowners and the city has had difficulty hiring someone to aquire these easements. Those interested should call Tatterson at 1-304-430-3426. Finding someone to fill this position is crucial to the project.
Councilwoman Linda Smith reported in 2011 Krodel Park had receipts totaling $53,400.
Attending the meeting were Council members Juniper, Smith, Elaine Hunt, Gary Cotton, William Park, Bob Doeffinger.