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Parking, Internet access before Follansbee Council

PARKING, INTERNET DISCUSSED — Follansbee Council approved the first reading of an ordinance prohibiting certain vehicles from being parked in city streets and alleys on Monday and discussed whether to make its meetings accessible through the Internet. -- Warren Scott

FOLLANSBEE — Follansbee Council approved the first reading of an ordinance prohibiting the parking of large and recreational vehicles in city streets and alleys and discussed further whether to post videos of its meetings on the Internet.

At Monday’s meeting, council unanimously approved the ordinance prohibiting the parking on city streets of any trailer, boat, mobile home, back hoe, front loader and similar equipment; and any lawn tractor or other grass cutting or landscaping equipment.

Also prohibited are four-wheelers or golf carts, unless fully inspected and licensed.

The new law actually is an amended ordinance that already prohibited the parking of any vehicle with six wheels on city streets.

It was drafted by City Attorney Michael Gaudio at council’s request.

Fifth Ward Councilwoman Wendy DeAngelis, who represents Highland Hills, was among city officials who reported complaints of such vehicles hindering access through streets and into driveways.

Council also unanimously approved an ordinance establishing a stop sign at the intersection of Marquette and Mark avenues in warmer months, with it to be replaced with a slow sign from December 1 to March 31.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Alexis Russell said residents of Parkview, which she represents, suggested the move because it can be difficult to stop at the intersection when the steep, brick street is icy.

Councilman at large John Casinelli was among those who suggested a stop sign there created a greater risk of vehicles sliding into nearby yards and homes.

Also on Monday, 3rd Ward Councilman Nick Cekinovich said if council is to make its meetings accessible through the Internet, he recommends conducting them through a videoconferencing platform, then posting a video recording so it may be viewed at residents’ convenience.

DeAngelis said she supports government transparency but is concerned it would deter residents from coming to meetings with requests or complaints.

Cekinovich said some residents could be encouraged to come forward if they saw a fellow citizen raise a common issue.

Casinelli said a plan for streaming or recording the meetings should be in place before proceeding. He said that includes who will operate the equipment and who would perform that task in that person’s place if needed.

“The last thing I want to do is record today but not next time. They people will say, ‘That’s weird. Why didn’t they record that time,” he said.

There was no further discussion of the proposal on Monday.

In other business:

– Ashley Williams, Hancock-Brooke advocate for the Upper Ohio Valley Sexual Assault Center, asked the panel to consider donating $20,000 to the nonprofit program, which has been challenged by a cut in funding through the federal Victims of Crime Act.

Ashley Carpenter, the center’s director, recently approached the Brooke County Commission for $60,000, saying she and others will be seeking contributions from other area government entities based on the number of people they have served in their areas.

Mayor David Velegol Jr. told Williams he believes the center’s services are outstanding but Follansbee officials have been advised it’s improper to give city funds for non-city entities.

He encouraged her to share other municipalities who have committed funds so they could be consulted first.

– There was a heated disagreement between Russell and City Fire Chief Larry Rea over a reporting deadline required for the release of county fire levy funds for the volunteer fire department.

Russell noted the issue has led to the city losing a significant portion of the funds in the past, while Rea maintained he’s clear on when the reports are due.

– A moment of silence was observed for Domenic Micucci, who died Sunday at the age of 77. An Army veteran and retired steelworker, Micucci served on Follansbee Council and on the city’s water board.

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