City Council: Grants, MPD, and Clean-Up Dates
The Morgantown City Council discussed various topics at their regular monthly meeting Thursday night. Council member Terrell House was absent, and new MPD Chief Charles Swiney participated in his first Council meeting.
Mayor Linda Keown discussed a recent BRADD communication on grants to the area; Butler County received four of the grants listed, most notably the $6.54 million US 231 project. Council member Allen Meredith said those grants are good for the city because “those dollars work their way through the community.” Council member Russell Givens reported that the Stockmans Association livestock sale held at the Eva Hawes Ag Expo and Community Center brought in $56,000 in sales. Council member Gary Southerland commented on the Workforce Development meetings; he said he’s “thrilled” to see greater emphasis by the school system on training for local industry because “not everybody can go to college, wants to go to college, needs to go to college.”
Regarding the mural project, Keown said there will be a meeting on March 28 at City Hall. Givens said the tentative date for painting the mural is April 13, and supplies will be available for anyone in the community to participate along with the artists.
Police Chief Swiney told the Council that out of 29 applicants for the vacant officer position, nine were interviewed and three are under consideration with background checks pending. Swiney reported that he is recommending Officer Paul Burden for promotion to Sergeant. Chief Swiney gave the Council the February MPD activity report, which included 249 calls for service, 12 arrests, 13 cases opened and 6 cases closed, 23 traffic citations, 5 accidents, and 38 extra patrols.
The Council discussed City Cleanup Days, set for April 18-20. Givens said he worked with Magistrate Chad Tyree to form a joint city-county effort on the event. Dumpsters will be set up at the county barn so they can be closed off after hours behind the gate. Residents can bring trash to the dumpsters during the cleanup, except for tires and batteries.
The Council discussed the status of the White property cleanup, particularly the asbestos that is in the building’s floor tiles, shingles, and possibly the siding. Suggestions were made to contact either the state’s environmental agencies or a local private contractor licensed to handle asbestos. Givens said the city wants to handle the asbestos properly and avoid liability issues. Keown said no bids would be required for the job if the cost is under $20,000. Givens added that local people are interested in doing the cleanup, but cost estimates are needed.
Casey Turci gave an update on the disc golf course project at the city park. He showed a map of the proposed course, which he said would be just under one mile from start to finish. He said they are going to start getting sponsors, then get sponsor signs made; signs pointing toward the course are also planned, to be put on posts of existing park signs. Construction of the course will begin on the “first dry day.”
In other business, the Council approved the first reading of an ordinance reducing the speed limit on Thomas Street between Tyler and Main to 15 m.p.h. The Council approved the first reading of an ordinance establishing a four-way stop at the intersection of Tyler and Morrison Streets. Mayor Keown recommended Doug Weathers for the Morgantown Utilities Commission; the Council approved her recommendation. The Council approved a plan to create an ordinance to close alleyways behind and to the side of the Coleman building.