Dudley takes a seat on council, ordinances get final approval

NEW COUNCILMAN — Mayor Sue Simonetti on Tuesday administered the oath of office to Daniel Dudley, the city’s new 1st Ward councilman. Dudley was appointed to fill the unexpired term of David Holden, who resigned last month. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — City Council on Tuesday welcomed Daniel Dudley as the newest representative of the city’s 1st Ward and approved several ordinances involving housing development and overgrown weeds.

Dudley will fill the seat held by David Holden, who resigned last month because he may not hold an elected position in his new job.

With one year remaining for its four-year term, the seat will be on ballots in next year’s election.

Following council’a approval of his appointment, Dudley was administered an oath of office by Mayor Sue Simonetti.

A Wellsburg native and retired employee of Eagle Manufacturing, where he worked for 43 years, Dudley served on the city’s planning commission, is president of the Eagle Can Employees Federal Credit Union and has co-chaired the last three 1st Ward reunions. He also has coached baseball, soccer, track and basketball for local sports leagues or Wellsburg Middle School.

Dudley said as councilman he will strive to work with other council members to bring about positive changes to the city.

In other business, council approved the first readings of several ordinances or amendments to existing ones. Among them was an ordinance setting criteria for the construction of any new single family dwellings in the city. Among other conditions, the homes must have a ceiling height no less than 7 feet, 6 inches for corridors, living and dining rooms and other habitable spaces and no less than 7 feet for kitchens, bathrooms and storage rooms.

Another was an amendment to an existing ordinance for single family dwellings. Council approved additional language calling for such structures to be no less than 24 feet wide and to have a permanent connection to utilities.

City Solicitor Ryan Weld said the conditions comply with international building codes and state code, which permits double-wide trailers 24 feet or more in width to exist in cities. He said the ordinances were prompted by concerns about the possibility of mobile or prefabricated homes coming to Wellsburg.

Council also amended an ordinance calling for anyone who violates the city’s health and sanitation code to be fined an additional $500 for each day a resident fails to correct the problem.

Also approved was the first reading of an ordinance allowing the city to impound vehicles deemed to be abandoned or junk, illegally parked and creating a hazard or obstruction or related to a crime.

Council also updated an ordinance calling for those who violate an ordinance against tall weeds and other noxious growth to be billed separately for their removal by city crews. Weld noted the ordinance called for the violators to be billed through their garbage bills, and garbage collection now is provided through a private hauler.

The ordinances will undergo a second reading at council’s Sept. 11 meeting.

Also on Tuesday:

• Second Ward Councilman Paul T. Billiard raised concerns about homes and garages being flooded by runoff. He reported areas where culverts or catch basins have been clogged. City Manager Steve Maguschak said property owners have some responsibility for ensuring grates near their homes are cleared, though city crews have cleaned them.

Maguschak said a more long-term solution is replacing asphalt roads with gravel berms and drainage ditches with ones that have curbs and drainage structures to divert water away from residences. He said limited funding is an issue, though the city could pursue problem areas one at a time.

• Simonetti and others thanked Irene Reitter of the Wellsburg Civic League for raising about $4,804 for seven drinking fountains for the city. Reitter said credit goes to several businesses and groups that made donations for the fountains, which will be placed outside City Hall and at the city’s four parks.

She said after the Civic League agreed to sponsor two, major donations were received from the Franklin Women’s Club, Wellsburg Kiwanis Club, Brooke County Outreach, Brooke County AARP Chapter, Main Street Bank and WesBanco.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)