Glenville, WV's award-winning news source

City Council: Spending freeze, exotic establishments

city hall signAt the Mon., Jan. 6 City Council meeting, Glenville Mayor Dennis Fitzpatrick noted that the city's financial picture looked cloudy. "I don't want people to get excited, but don't want it (the expenses) to get out of hand," he affirmed.

His admonition to the council came after he mandated that all expenditures of city departments to be approved by him.

The new mayoral policy resulted from the December 2013's Financial Report. In eyeing the figures, and walking the councilpersons through them, he lamented that some expenses were higher than usual, while, at the same time, the revenues were not coming in to compensate for the higher spending. As a result, the council put a "freeze" on the city's spending, except when the mayor approves the expenditure. Mr. Fitzpatrick explains, "I can approve of anything under $500.00, but anything above that, the council will have to sign off on." Moreover, if economic conditions worsen, he suggested that he and the council might revisit those approval levels at a future meeting, perhaps to lower the expenditure sign off amounts of the departments.

On the positive side, the city's initiative to bring in all of the delinquent Municipal Fees outstanding was a great success. "The citizens of Glenville have really stepped up to the plate, and I'm very pleased with them," the mayor affirmed, noting that $29,000 of the $33,500 in Municipal Fees has been collected, with other promises to pay.

While finances are still iffy, he did recommend and got the council's approval for the city to purchase two small safes, costing less than $75.00. "The Clerk's Office needs one, and the Police Dept. needs one to store evidence," he explained.

As to the Police Dept.'s monthly report for December, he pointed out that more traffic warnings were issued than vehicular citations. "This proves that Glenville is not a speed trap and our officers act responsibily for the public's safety," he remarked.

Police Chief Benton Huffman outlined that in Dec. 2013, 34 traffic warnings were issued, with only 12 citations being written. Over the year of 2013, 437 warning were issued, in contrast to 425 total citations, with the latter figure also containing the criminal complaints, not just traffic stops.

He did take the mayor and council aback a little, when he proposed the passage of two new ordinances, one dealing with the elimination of jail time for shooting off a firearm in the city and the other handling any potential exotic dancing bars or establishments in the city. As to the exotic bars, the Chief asserted, "I don't know of any in the planning stages now, but there's always that rumor floating around. I'm just bringing this up to see how the councilpersons feel about this issue and if they will either restrict or ban them in town."

valentineadIn the first order of business, the council held a Public Hearing on the Special $3.2 million bond ordinance in order to upgrade the city's waterlines. No one showed up for the hearing, so upon its third reading, it passed unanimously. Later, Mr. Tom Amman, an attorney for Steptoe & Johnson, of Clarksburg, came to the meeting to present to the mayor the legal paper work for this project.

According to the documents, the project had a Pre-Bid Conference on Jan. 8, 2014 and will have a bid opening on Wed., Jan. 22 at City Hall. "We'll collect all of the bids, review them and, then, get approval for them (that they meet the specification's requirements)," the mayor said.

The council retired into an executive session from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. to discuss personnel matters. After calling the meeting back to order, the council voted to adopt for city employees the state of West Virginia and county's holiday schedule.

The meeting then adjourned at about 8:03.

The next regular City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Mon., Feb. 3, 2014. The public comment period comes at the very beginning.