By Rachel Dove
WILLLIAMSON - All members of the Williamson City Council were present for the March 27 meeting, which addressed a fairly short agenda.
Two names of possible candidates (Shawn Haubrich and Jonathan Endicott) for a position with the Williamson Police Department were passed over due to the fact they have gained employment with other agencies and were no longer interested in a job with the city. Police Chief Barry Blair said the city would be scheduling testing for the patrolman’s position in the near future and would announce the date as soon as it is set.
The city declared the month of April to be Fair Housing Month and read the proclamation by title only. General Fund bills in the amount of $21,360.82 were also approved.
A resolution that will request a change in the scope of a $25,000 grant project from completing repairs to a building that houses a nonprofit charitable organization to putting a new roof on the building that houses the Williamson City Hall was approved by the council.
Mayor Darrin McCormick explained that the money was originally earmarked for the Shepherd of the Hills Mission, but the repairs could not be completed because the charitable organization does not own the building it occupies. The grant is set to expire June 30, so time is of the essence to get the scope changed in order to take advantage of the $25,000.
Council members reviewed Williamson Fire Chief Jerry Mounts’ recommendation for a burn ordinance and decided to proceed with the first reading. If passed, this ordinance would set in place rules that would no longer allow such things as burning yard waste off of a garden area or burning papers, etc. in a barrel. The only type of fires that would be allowed would, for instance, be inside a fire-pit. A portion of the ordinace that outlines the new rules reads as follows:
“The purpose of this ordinance is to prevent and control air pollution and the spread of wildfire from combustion of any material. It is hereby declared to be a matter of public health and safety to regulate the disposal of refuse, vegetation, debris, etc., and any other combustible material by open burning in the City of Williamson. It is further declared that the danger of open fire, the air pollution from fires, and the management of waste and debris removal and disposal necessitate regulation to protect the peace, good order and welfare of Williamson and the health and safety of its residents.
“Open burning is defined as the burning of any matter wherein the products of combustion are emitted directly into the ambient air without passing through a ‘stack’ or ‘chimney’ from an enclosed chamber. Open fires may be set in the performance of official duties by the Fire Chief or his designee when necessary for the following reasons:
“(A) For the abatement of a fire hazard which cannot be abated by any other means;
“(B) For the training in firefighting or research in control of fire, under the supervision of the Fire Chief or his designee;
“(C) In an emergency, disaster, or other extraordinary circumstance when open burning is determined by the Fire Chief to be in the public interest.
‘Fires are permitted solely for the cooking of food as well as campfires for warmth, fellowship, food preparation, or ceremonial purposes such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. Such fires must be of a size and nature to be contained in an enclosed area such as a pit or ring and must be attended at all times. Open burning of land vegetation for the purposes of roadway construction or building construction will be allowed providing that the following conditions are met:
There can be no practical alternate method for the disposal of the material to be burned; the health, safety, comfort and property of persons must be protected from the effects of such burning; and the approval to conduct such burning must be given by the Fire Chief and/or the West Virginia Division of Forestry; and all exempted open burning must have authorization of the Chief.”
“Any person, firm, cooperation or public agency that violates this ordinance shall be fined not more than $500. Each day such violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.”
The proposed ordinance will have its second reading at the next council meeting scheduled for April 10 at 6 p.m. If a resident opposes this ordinance or has questions about it, they are encouraged to attend the next council meeting. If you would like to be placed on the agenda , you are asked to call 304-235-1510.