City Council hears from citizens concerning land purchase for landfill.
The Morgantown City Council heard from groups of citizens on both the old Bowling Green landfill property and speeding on Oak Hill Drive during Thursday night’s regular monthly meeting.
Residents neighboring the old landfill voiced their concern to the Council about a report in the Bowling Green Daily News that the Bowling Green City Commission had approved the sale of 67 acres of the property to Owl’s Head Alloys for $167,500. The Council stated that the August 7 story in the Daily News was not accurate; according to the contract, Butler County and the city of Morgantown have first option to purchase the property. The Daily News story included a claim by Bowling Green city manager Kevin DeFebbo that the city of Morgantown had been given first option to buy and was not interested; the Council said that was not the case.
Council member Gary Southerland asked if the city has a need for the property. Resident Eva Hawes answered yes because of concerns by her and other property owners of the effect on property values if Owl’s Head starts another landfill. Hawes also had concerns about leakage from the property that could run down Renfrow Creek. Council member Terrell House asked if the city could buy the property and then sell to the adjoining landowners. City attorney John King replied that once it bought a property the city could do what it wishes “for any legal purpose.” Discussion centered on whether the city and county should buy the 67 acres to protect the surrounding property. Resident Sara Cannon asked if the city had decided not to buy. Council members said no. Southerland said if other property owners were willing to buy the 67 acres from the city and county, that would constitute a reason for the city and county to buy the property. However, Southerland pointed out that the just-finished Comprehensive Plan states the principle to develop existing property. Magistrate Keith Daughtery, who spoke at the city council meeting on behalf of Owl's Head, told the Council that the Fiscal Court will take up the issue at next Monday’s meeting, and city attorney King said that the city and county have 180 days to decide whether to purchase the property. The Council postponed action to a later date and planned to contact the city of Bowling Green on the matter.
Residents of Oak Hill Drive, led by Todd Meredith, addressed the Council with a petition to post a 15 m.p.h. speed limit on Oak Hill Drive. Todd Meredith said “Oak Hill Drive has become a dangerous street” and said that last month’s Council action to post “Children At Play” signs on the street were being ignored by drivers. House suggested that speed bumps would work to slow motorists, but other Council members said speed bumps would raise a liability issue. The Council voted to post Oak Hill Drive with a 15 m.p.h. speed limit.
Roger Givens addressed the Council in his capacity as the county’s highway historical marker chairman. He stated that 2013 is the 200th anniversary of the city of Morgantown and requested funds for a historical marker for the bicentennial, adding that he would do all needed paperwork. The Council approved up to $2,500 for a marker.
The Council approved the 1st reading of changing the 2013 real estate and tangible tax rate to 10.5 cents per $100, an increase of one-tenth of a cent. City clerk and treasurer Anita Gossett said the increase was necessary to comply with state law that these revenues cannot decrease from one year to the next. The Council approved keeping the motor vehicle and watercraft tax rate at 27.9 cents per $100, which is the state minimum. The Council went along with Mayor Linda Keown’s recommendation and re-appointed Raleigh Blancett for another term on the Board of Adjustments.
MPD Chief Charles Swiney gave his July report to the Council, which included 327 calls for service. Swiney said the MPD “didn’t have a whole lot of trouble” during the Catfish Festival last month. He also reported that Officers Vincent and Embry are in their 6th week at the state police academy.
Story by Don Thomason, BtN/WLBQ