Concerned Citizens Address City Council
The Morgantown City Council heard complaints from citizens at their regular meeting Thursday about a man openly carrying a weapon in the city park.
Several people, including members of the newly formed community watch group for the city park, expressed concerns that an unnamed individual in the watch group openly carries a gun in the park to intimidate youth who have been hanging around the park. The community watch group members told the Council that they have advised him not to carry a gun in the park, but he has threatened to sue anyone trying to stop him for infringing his 2nd Amendment rights. Citizens expressed concerns that this man is “unstable” and “paranoid” and fancies himself as part of law enforcement. MPD Chief Charles Swiney said he has also talked to the individual, advising him that although it was his right to carry a weapon it was not appropriate to carry it in the city park. Swiney said his response was that his attorney and the Sheriff both said he has the right to carry. The concerned citizens asked the Council about a weapons ban in the park, but Mayor Linda Keown said the law above the city government level prevents such an ordinance. Keown said she would get advice from the city attorney, and the Council advised the community watch group to “be smart” in dealing with the individual.
The Council discussed the trailer they had planned to leave in the city park after the Catfish Festival for police to use. Mayor Keown pointed out that the trailer belongs to the Chamber of Commerce and keeping it at the park needs a formal request by the city. Keown asked the Council for approval to make the request on the city’s behalf for keeping the trailer at the park.
Chief Swiney reported a busy month of July for the MPD with 500 calls for service. Swiney said the Catfish Festival went smoothly with few problems, and the MPD also brought six cases to the grand jury.
In other business, the Council approved the 1st reading of an ordinance keeping the real estate/tangible tax rate at .105 percent per $100; the roll call vote was 6-0. The Council approved the 2015 motorcraft tax rate at 27.900 per $100. The 2nd reading of the 3rdamendment to the 2013-14 budget was approved 6-0 on a roll call vote.