WEIRTON - Weirton City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to establish the official position of part-time employee working on the sanitation truck along with an increase in pay.
Public Works Director John Brown asked for council's support of the ordinance. He said he was in need of an employee pool to avoid having to put street department employees on the sanitation trucks, which he said delayed street repairs and projects throughout the city.
During a city council pre-meeting discussion, Finance Director Tom Maher Jr. said the impact to the budget would be approximately $3,750 per person each year for about eight employees.
Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh said there was a long discussion regarding the proposition during the Finance Committee meeting on Thursday. At that time, he said he was unaware the employees in those positions were city employees half of the year and then re-employed to those positions through temporary services.
"I think doing this will give Public Works a reliable workforce to pull from," said Marsh.
Ward 7 Councilman Terry Weigel said there have been some issues recently at Public Works with trucks and a shortage of employees forcing those in the street department over to the sanitation department to ensure garbage can be picked up in a timely manner. He said there have been talks of a study to look over the department and see what can and needs to be done so operations are safe, smooth and affordable.
"We've talked about a number of ways to address these issues whether it be going to an outside agency to do trash pick up or whether we need to eliminate spring and fall clean up and allow the items to be set out during the regular days," he said.
Weigel motioned for an amendment to direct the city manager to move forward with establishing a committee to go through a study of the department and bring the information back to council which passed 7-0.
In other business, city council approved the contract with Kelly Paving for the milling and paving of city streets set to begin soon.
Brown informed council members that Community Development Block Grant funds, which are used to pave the streets in Ward 4, would be in late this year. He said the delay could push back paving downtown to September but he assured council there were safeguards in the contract, including a completion date and penalties for exceeding the completion date to ensure work is done in a timely manner.
With that in mind, council also passed the reading of an ordinance to establish parking space lines on the 3100 block of Orchard Street in an emergency reading.
Ward 4 Councilman George Ash said the Traffic Commission recommended a three-month trial basis. He said if the paving is pushed back until September, he would like to give the trial a chance before the street gets resurfaced.
The ordinance passed on an emergency basis unanimously.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)