Moundsville Set For Home Rule

One of this year’s goals of Moundsville City Council is writing and submitting a plan to the West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Program for membership consideration.

Members of the city’s Home Rule Committee have attended several seminars in Charleston dealing with the home rule program, and a week ago the committee was in Charleston at the Municipal League’s Winter Convention where home rule was one of the topics.

The state is expanding the home rule program to include 16 more cities, and at the convention Mayor Eugene Saunders Sr., said 14 cities, including Moundsville, indicated they plan to submit applications. Currently, four cities in West Virginia have home rule – Wheeling, Charleston, Huntington and Bridgeport.

“Home rule will give the city more power and we have more authority,” Saunders said.

Home rule is described as a system of delegating powers usually reserved for state government to municipalities. Cities becoming part of the program gain more power.

The city of Moundsville’s application will include five goals, one of which would be the reduction of the number of business and occupation tax categories, and adding a municipal sales tax. Saunders and Vice Mayor David Wood, both members of the city’s Home Rule Committee, said such a change would be more friendly to businesses in the city.

Another of the goals in the application would be to permit the city to place liens on vacant properties.

The Home Rule Committee, in addition to Saunders and Wood, includes Councilman Dave Haynes, City Manager Deanna Hess, City Attorney Tom White, City Clerk Sondra Hewitt and Finance Director Kay Goddard.

Saunders said Saturday that the committee is ready to present the plan to the public, and that will take place at the March 4 council meeting. A second public hearing will be held on March 18. Also, council must approve an ordinance prior to submission to the state Home Rule Board.

The Marshall County Commission is selecting bids for the demolition phase of the Public Safety Building, with the deadline for submitting quotations for the work being 9 a.m. on March 18. All complete bids will be publicly opened and read aloud at 10 a.m. on that date as part of the commission’s meeting.

This phase of the work will be to demolish and remove two houses which were purchased along with the former Jozabeth Building. In addition, the contractor will remove the interior walls and the ceiling of the building.

The architect for the project recommended the walls and ceiling be removed, which in turn would make it easier when it comes time to design the building’s interior. As a result there should be fewer change orders in preparing the structure for occupancy by the sheriff’s law enforcement agency, the 911 Dispatch, and the Office of Emergency Management.

For this phase of the project, there will be a pre-bid meeting at 11 a.m. on March 4 in the commissioners’ room in the courthouse. In conjunction with the pre-bid meeting there will be a mandatory meeting at the Public Safety Building, which is across the street from the courthouse.

The time allocated for the demolition phase will be determined once the successful bidder is chosen.

Actually, there will be a second demolition with the overall project, that being the removal of the former jail building, which now houses both the sheriff’s department and 911 Dispatch.

The Marshall County Board of Education will be holding two public hearings dealing with the 2014-15 school year calendar. The first meeting will be held from 7-9 p.m. on March 4 in the Center for Performing Arts at John Marshall High School, with the second to be held from 7-9 p.m. on March 13 in the auditorium of Cameron High School.

Emails have been sent to Marshall County Chamber of Commerce members asking that they consider sponsoring the second annual Calling All Ladies event. Chamber secretary Patty Morris said last year’s program was very successful and it is anticipated this year’s event will be even better.

This year a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Gabriel Project, which serves young mothers and their families. The Moundsville Gabriel location is at the First Christian Church, 1200 Third St.

The Pirate Parrot will spend an hour and a half, 6-7:30 p.m. Friday, at the ninth annual Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Home and Business Expo to be held from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday at the training center within the walls of the former West Virginia Penitentiary. Also, Spike, the Wheeling Nailers’ mascot will be at the Expo on Saturday.

The Expo will include 90 booths sponsored by businesses and organizations along with a craft show in the 3,600-square- foot Technology Room. Also, there will be a blood drive on Saturday, and glaucoma screening both days.

There will be a food court, and shuttle service will be provided both days.

The 37th annual Marshall County Ham, Bacon and Egg Show and Sale will be held beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Cameron High School Auditorium. FFA students will be showing and selling the items. This will be the first time this event has been held in the Cameron area.

Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. the Sanford Center will sponsor a Steak Fry at the Center. A disc jockey will provide music for the occasion. Tickets can be purchased by calling Chuck Gillingham at 304-650-3871 or any Sanford Center board members. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. All proceeds will go for operating expenses. Anyone who would like to donate an item for the 50/50 raffle can all Gillingham or any board member.

This year less than a dozen individuals appeared before the Marshall County Commission pertaining to their tax assessment for the 2014-15.

Some 30 persons called the office of Assessor Chris Kessler about their tax assessments, but assessor’s office personnel were able to give them satisfactory information.

Among those present for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first day of spring training was long-time Moundsville resident Jim Bickerton, who replied via e-mail that he was ready to “take the field” on that particular day.

On Tuesday the Pirates will host the New York Yankees at Bradenton and one of those in attendance will be Bickerton.

In the past year the Bickertons have made the Bradenton area their permanent home.