WHEELING - On Tuesday, Wheeling City Council will meet at noon instead of its regular 7 p.m. meeting time to avoid conflicting with Elton John's performance that evening at WesBanco Arena.
But one ordinance up for a vote during that meeting would make 7 p.m. meetings a thing of the past entirely. Tuesday's meeting will take place in the second-floor courtroom at the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St.
Council's Rules Committee last month voted to recommend the full council adopt new legislation that calls for meetings on a schedule alternating between noon and 5:30 p.m. Meetings still would take place on the first and third Tuesdays of each month as required by the city charter, with the noon meeting taking place on the first Tuesday and the 5:30 p.m. gathering on the third.
Mayor Andy McKenzie has said the move is intended to make it convenient for a greater number of residents to attend meetings. He believes people who work in the city would be more likely to attend meetings on their lunch break or right after the work day rather than at 7 p.m., when people may decide to stay home instead of driving back downtown for the council meeting.
One council member, Robert "Herk" Henry, spoke against the proposed change during the Rules Committee meeting, saying he believes residents are accustomed to the current schedule and could get confused by the alternating times.
But Councilman Eugene Fahey said that will allow people whose schedules never permit them to attend at 7 p.m. the opportunity to be there at least half the time.
Elm Grove resident Bill O'Leary, who is a regular attendee at council meetings, also said he doesn't like the idea of meetings being held earlier in the day.
He doesn't believe people will be willing to give up their lunch hour to attend a council meeting, and he also expressed concern about finding a place to park near the City-County building during the day.
If passed, the new times would go into effect beginning with the meeting scheduled for Oct. 2.
Another ordinance up for a vote Tuesday would tighten allowable limits for the discharge of certain wastes through the city's sewer system. The legislation states the amendment is intended to coincide with West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection requirements.
One new provision would decrease the permitted daily concentration of chloride from 1,806 mg/L to 1,650 mg/L.
Another would add ammonia to the list of regulated substances, providing for a surcharge of 21 cents per pound for customers discharging wastewater with an ammonia concentration 46 mg/L or higher.