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Council seat filled, collector-treasurer position open

COUNCIL SEAT FILLED — On Tuesday long-time resident Jerry Nichols was appointed to fill the 1st Ward Council seat held by Danny Dudley, who resigned to serve as interim mayor following the death of Sue Simonetti. It was the first council meeting presided by Dudley and the first in several months in which council members met in person. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — The last five months have been a time of change for city officials, and Tuesday was no different as Wellsburg Council gathered in person for the first time in several months.

The panel had been meeting virtually because of the pandemic, but a majority returned to council chambers for the first meeting led by Interim Mayor Danny Dudley.

Dudley resigned from his 1st Ward council seat to fill the office following the death of Sue Simonetti.

And on Tuesday, council voted 4-2 to appoint Jerry Nichols to fill the remaining two years of Dudley’s four-year term.

A lifelong resident of the 1st Ward, Nichols has organized many weekend reunions for current and former residents there.

Supporting his appointment were 2nd Ward Councilwoman Mary Margaret Rosso, 3rd Ward Councilmen Randy Fletcher and Tom Gaudio and 4th Ward Councilwoman Della Serevicz.

First Ward Councilman Jack Kins and 2nd Ward Councilman Paul T. Billiard had supported Brian Tennant, a former Wellsburg council member who also applied for the seat.

Technical difficulties prevented 4th Ward Councilman Charlie Harris, who was ill, from participating virtually from home.

Council also received a letter of resignation from Karen Aracich, who cited personal reasons for leaving the position of collector-treasurer.

Aracich was appointed to the position following the departure of Andrea Morris, for other work, in January.

Dudley said the city will accept applications for the position, which involves bookkeeping for the city’s revenue and payroll for city staff, submitting various financial data to the state auditor’s office and other duties.

City Clerk Amanda Dudley confirmed Aracich’s resignation came too late for her name to be removed from ballots in the city’s June 8 general election.

In other business:

• Kins advised city officials shouldn’t require homeowners to obtain a permit to paint or perform other minor work in their homes because a city ordinance defines such tasks as “ordinary repairs,” for which a permit isn’t required.

He and Tom A. Diserio, the city’s building inspector, agreed a permit shouldn’t be required in such cases because no fee is collected.

“That’s paperwork that doesn’t need to be done,” said Kins, who added he supports requiring permits from paid contractors.

Billiard agreed, saying that helps the building inspector to ensure contractors are properly licensed and insured.

• Resident Sarah DeLong complained of a dilapidated structure on Yankee Street, citing a collapsing roof, overgrown grass and other poor conditions.

Noting the structure has been a recurring concern, Weld said a complaint will be filed against the owner so it may be brought before the city’s building enforcement agency.

Later Weld said the ability for the building inspector to issue “on the spot” citations for things like high grass, exterior garbage accumulation and abandoned vehicles, is among changes he will seek through the city’s application for the state’s Home Rule program.

He said while a citation could be issued immediately after a violation is observed, the property owner still would be able to contest it in municipal court.

Council is expected to consider the application in July.

• Council members tabled a request to abandon an alley adjacent to 624 Charles St. because they haven’t heard from other adjacent property owners.

• Plans were made to meet at 7 p.m. June 9 because the election falls on council’s next regular meeting date.

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

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