Sanitation rates set for an increase

WEIRTON — By a 5-1 vote Monday, Weirton Council passed the final reading of an ordinance increasing residential sanitation rates in the city as part of an effort to provide full-time status and benefits for a group of “back-of-the-truck” employees.

Ordinance 2035 will amend portions of several ordinances focusing on garbage and refuse regulations in the city, increasing residential sanitation rates by $4 per month from its current $14.04 rate.

The lone dissenting vote Monday came from Ward 6 Councilman Enzo Fracasso. Ward 7 Councilman Terry Weigel was not in attendance.

Patricia Evano, who has been addressing council on the issue in recent months, thanked council for its work, saying past administrations have discussed taking this step, but nothing had been done until now.

“We cannot find the proper words to express the relief, joy, happiness and total satisfaction for what you are about to do tonight,” Evano said.

Evano said she understands the employees will have to reapply for their jobs, which includes background checks and drug tests.

Ward 4 Councilman George Ash asked if the affected employees would need to obtain a commercial drivers license as part of the ordinance’s passage.

City Manager Travis Blosser said there was no stipulation requiring the employees to obtain a CDL, but they would benefit if they choose to obtain one.

“If they have a CDL, they can be paid at a higher rate,” Blosser said.

Ward 5 Councilman Doug Jackson asked the employees in the room if they have vetted the healthcare proposal, with those employees and Evano responding it had not been presented to them.

The ordinance, sponsored by Ash, was first presented to council in April, but was tabled pending the results of a petition circulated by Evano. Evano submitted the petition in May, with 1,288 signatures. Council cast its first vote on the ordinance, 6-1 with Fracasso voting against, during its June regular meeting.

In other business, Weirton Council:

• Approved, 6-0, a resolution to place liens of $6,396 on 135 Elmer Ave. for demolition costs;

• Approved, 6-0, a resolution to place liens of $14,732.50 on 4129 Freedom Way for demolition costs;

• Approved, 6-0, a resolution for the cost-share program for the Harmon Creek Watershed structures, at a cost of $10,000;

• Approved, 6-0, the first reading of an ordinance to extend the no parking zone by 30 feet past the guardrail on Oak Street at Mercer Street;

• Approved, 5-1, the resolution on the Community Development Block Grant budget, with Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh voting against;

• Approved, 6-0, a resolution for a $190,600 contract with Kelly Paving for milling and paving of CDBG-eligible streets;

• Approved, 6-0, a resolution for a $1,138,331.25 contract with Kelly Paving for city-wide milling and paving of city streets using general fund dollars.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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