Fee proposals remain tabled

WEIRTON – Several budgetary items previously proposed to Weirton City Council will remain tabled following Monday’s meeting.

Three ordinances and one resolution that were tabled at the June 9 regular meeting relating to budget scenarios were tabled again Monday. Those included two ordinances to amend the police and fire service fee, an ordinance to amend the municipal service fee and a resolution to authorize the city manager to begin the process of enacting a 5 percent cable franchise fee.

“My intention is to leave it sit, see how everything turns out and address it at a later date,” Ward 7 Councilman Terry Weigel said.

“The reason why my police and fire service fee decrease proposal stayed on the table was because of pending litigation. If we are sued and we are forced not to be able to spend the money generated by the expanded B and O tax, then that police and fire service fee reduction would cripple the budget,” explained Ward 6 Councilman David Dalrymple. “Once the B and O legal issues are over I plan to address it again and keep my word to the citizens, businesses and schools.”

Dalrymple was referring to an injunction request filed against the city to try to stop the July 1 special session vote on the business and occupation tax. The injunction, filed by Tri-State Medical, Startrans International and Ocean-Air International, was dismissed by Circuit Judge David Sims. In an interview after the dismissal without prejudice, J.J. Bernabei, owner of Tri-State Medical, stated that if the B and O expansion passed, he intended to take subsequent legal steps to battle the tax.

An ordinance adopting the recommendations of the Weirton Planning Commission regarding the zoning map classification of a certain parcel located on Greenbrier Road had been tabled at the May 12 and June 9 meetings, and it also remains tabled after failing to receive a motion. Another ordinance, proposed by Ward 4 Councilman George Ash, to amend the traffic control map to establish two-way traffic on the alley between the 3,000 block of West Street and Orchard Street also failed to receive a motion.

An ordinance to amend the traffic control map to paint a five foot yellow line on each side of the mailbox at 130 Eva St. passed unanimously.

Several items of new business were passed unanimously including two ordinances to amend the text of the Unified Development Ordinance based on recommendations from the city manager and the city’s Planning Commission. One of those ordinances will make automotive repair businesses legal in the C3 district. This would affect all of downtown, according to Rod Rosnick, chief code official, and it will still require a second reading and a 30-day advertising period. An ordinance that established a residential handicapped parking space at 3501 Elm St. was rescinded by unanimous vote.

Two resolutions to place liens against demolished properties were passed unanimously. Those properties were located on Edna Street and Elm Street.

Council members voted unanimously to approve a resolution to authorize the Governor’s Community Participation Grant Program to amend the original scope of work to be performed by the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center.

Council also voted unanimously to appoint Mary Lyons, who resides on Riverview Drive, to the Mary H. Weir Library Board.

Finance Director Tom Maher reported that the total cash and investments available to the city is $247,475.83, while the investment balance has hit rock bottom at $0.

“Cash is extremely tight,” Maher commented. “The stabilization fund is supporting the general fund right now.”

“After we’ve sat and gone through all this crap for all these months working with the budget, just looking here, just look at these numbers – you have to realize the cash balance is $247,000. The investments are $0. We’re down to $0. For all the people who said we should wait until next year: it’s here now. This is happening now,” Weigel noted.