Point looking at placing charter amendments on ballot

Beth Sergent - bsergent@civitasmedia.com

POINT PLEASANT — In addition to voting for candidates in the upcoming municipal election, residents living in the city of Point Pleasant may be voting on amending its city charter.

A few years ago, council members took on the task of amending the outdated charter, holding public readings of the amendments and a hearing, though an objection was lodged on the amendments which halted the process. The only other option was to place the changes on the ballot to let the voters decide on the changes.

At Monday’s regular city council meeting, Councilman Bob Rulen brought up the charter again, saying in some instances it does not reflect how the city does business now and is very antiquated in some sections. Rulen helped work on those changes as did City Attorney R.F. Stein, Jr. Rulen said if council ever wanted to get the charter updated, now would be the time to do it unless they wanted to wait another four years for another ballot.

Stein said he would research the amendments from the previous attempt to update the charter which would need specifically worded on the ballot. City Clerk Amber Tatterson said she would need to know at the next council meeting what, if any, of the amendments would or could go on the ballot and how they would be worded to present this to the Mason County Clerk’s Office which is handling the municipal election for the city. The city will be paying the clerk’s office a fee for handling the election but it is not yet known how much that will cost with, or without, the additional charter ballot amendments. Tatterson was also going to research if this could be done given the time frame of the May 10 election looming.

The city’s municipal election will decide the offices of mayor, city clerk, two council-at-large seats and eight council seats. Candidates for these offices will be chosen by their respective parties in March with the Democrats holding their convention on March 3 and Republicans on March 4. Independents also had the opportunity to gather signatures and petition to be placed on the ballot. More on the conventions and candidates in upcoming editions of the Point Pleasant Register.

In other council business:

Council was presented with a contract from Terradon Corporation in regards to moving ahead with a interior drainage calculation report which includes surveying and mapping, and will cost $19,197.50. The report is part of an ongoing flood wall certification process which includes a government-mandated checklist now required by the federal government and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as a result of the levees failing in New Orleans, La. during Hurricane Katrina. Point Pleasant was one of many cities affected by the new regulations. Failing to complete all the tasks as requested in this certification project would mean those living within the protection of the flood wall would have to get flood insurance – a significant expense city officials do not wish to pass on to residents.

Still, council had questions about the contract and did not approve it, asking Stein to examine it. The interior drainage calculation report measures the city’s ability to deal with water contained inside the flood wall, should flooding occur.

Council approved having fireworks on Saturday, July 2, which is the finale of the Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta, this year held June 30 – July 2. Though there had been some controversy about financing the fireworks for a day other than July 4, this year, July 4 falls on a Monday. As Rulen pointed out, there are other communities who will have events, and fireworks on July 4, but on that Saturday, July 2, Point Pleasant will be the only game in town, in terms of the regatta and fireworks. Rulen said with so many people already in town for the regatta, he felt it made sense to have fireworks during that Saturday, finale night. Councilwoman Elaine Hunt agreed, stating council needed to work with the regatta committee. Councilwoman Janet Hartley made the motion to host the fireworks on July 2 which will cost the city $8,000. The vote was unanimous. It was also reported Regatta Chairman Jacob Hill recommended the July 2 date as well.

Council adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel matters under West Virginia Code 6-9A-4b. No action was taken following the executive session.

Attending were Mayor Brian Billings, Tatterson, Stein, council members Hartley, Towner, Elizabeth Jones, Bob Doeffinger, Allen Moran, Keith Sargent, Hunt, Rulen, Rick Simpkins, City Accountant Shannon Pearson, Administrative Assistant Teka McCauley.

More on this week’s council meeting in an upcoming edition.

Beth Sergent


Reach Beth Sergent at bsergent@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.

Reach Beth Sergent at bsergent@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.