POINT PLEASANT — In its ongoing effort to comply with new federal regulations born out of Hurricane Katrina, the City of Point Pleasant has until November to correct some problems with drain lines going under the floodwall.
Willie Call, street commissioner, spoke about the recent outcome of a floodwall pipeline inspection at this week’s meeting of Point Pleasant City Council. The inspection was done by Pipeline and Drainage Consultants from Burlington, Ky., for $16,080. Part of this inspection included a video inspection of the main storm drain lines, sanitary sewer lines, pump lines and Toe Drains. Call said the video revealed repairs were needed on the line running under the floodwall on First St. Also revealed was sludge in the lines near Pump House One near Southern States, though the lines near Pump House One are otherwise in satisfactory condition.
Call stressed to council it needed to move on this problem which was recently found in order to comply with federal regulations. If the city doesn’t get these problems fixed, anyone in Point Pleasant with a loan insured by the FDIC would be forced to have flood insurance.
The city has already sunk around $50,000 in meeting these new federal, unfunded mandates which grew out of the failure of levees in New Orleans, La. after Hurricane Katrina. Mayor Brian Billings said the recent problem with the drains aside, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has praised the city for moving on the mandates which will now include assembling and disassembling the floodwall gates every three years and every five years conducting an inspection of the floodwall and its drainage system. So far, Call said he had two bids for the job which is considered minimal by many large engineering firms. Council would have to approve and award any bids for the job.
In other council business:
David Stricklen of the Jackson County Development Center (JCDC) asked council to consider making the immediate area outside the JCDC on Sixth St. a loading and unloading zone. Stricklen asked if the area could be a loading and unloading zone during the hours of 7 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Council indicated it would take it under consideration and it would have to be done via two readings of an ordinance.
Craig Hesson of Ft. Randolph, said 2012 was one of the fort’s “most successful years” with more visitors than ever before, including around 200 for its most recent event, Christmas on the Frontier. The fort recently received a $10,000 Our Community Foundation Grant and he said it will be used to erect a 10-feet-by-14-feet cabin focused on women’s history and their role in early America. He also passed out an information packet to members about the “Friends of Fort Randolph” foundation which helps bring in money to expand fort programs. The fort reopens again in May with its popular Siege of Fort Randolph.
City Attorney R.F. Stein said it appears the city’s insurance company has arrived at a settlement in the lawsuit filed by the owner of the former Wallpaper Outlet which sat next to the Franklin building on Main St. - the Franklin building is owned by the city. Stein didn’t give a figure on the settlement as it wasn’t final at the meeting but did say some of the settlement funds were to be used for demolition of both buildings though the owner of the former Wallpaper Outlet will retain the deed to his former property. Council authorized the mayor to seek bids on demolition of the buildings.
On the subject of dilapidated structures, Councilman Bob Doeffinger spoke about his frustration that the Yauger property on Main Street was still standing after 10 years of discussion. Council asked Stein to start proceedings again to allow the city to tear it down with Billings saying the city would find a way to finally get it done.
Stein also updated council on the North Point Pleasant Drainage Project, saying it appears with a revision in plans with the engineers, it’s possible not as many homes will be affected and therefore not as many signatures needed for right-of-ways as previously thought. This could make it easier, and quicker, for the city to obtain the 80 percent of signatures needed for the project to proceed.
When updated on the recent charter amendments, it appears the only option the city has to update them are to take it to the voters and place it on a ballot. Three citizens who lodged formal, written objections against the amendments did not rescind their objections which means the ballot is the only option to update the document which operates as the city’s constitution. No official motion was made to do this though Councilman Bob Rulen said he felt it should go to the voters during a regular, municipal election. Billings said even if it is done during a regularly scheduled election, as opposed to a special election, it will still be an extra financial cost to the city.
Council agreed to go along with the zoning committee’s recommendation to rezone 224 North Park Drive from residential to business for a new quilt store. The zoning committee stipulated the entrance to the store must face Jackson Ave.
Council approved a $1,500 donation to the Sleighbell Ball, a fundraiser for Main Street Point Pleasant.
Council approved putting up a street light in the area of Howard Ave. and Franklin Ave. in Bellemead.
Council members attending this week’s meeting were: Janet Hartley, Rulen, Linda Smith, Rick Simpkins, Keith Sargent, Allen Moran, Doeffinger, Charles Towner.