MATEWAN — The Matewan Town Council met Tuesday evening and discussed a series of topics, including the town’s past water woes and upcoming events and projects.
A pair of women from State Treasurer John Perdue’s office led off the meeting and presented a supplement retirement program to the council.
Barbara Harmon and Frances Frye spoke about a supplemental retirement program offered through the state treasury. Harmon said that 70 cities in 51 West Virginia counties, including Williamson, Delbarton, and Chapmanville, have joined the program, which she said would be at no cost to the city.
The program, Harmon said, is open to anyone who receives a paycheck from the city. After a brief discussion of details between Harmon and the council, it was unanimously approved in a motion to join the program.
“It sounds like a win-win to me,” Mayor Sheila Kessler said.
Next, Tim Collins with Veolia Water gave the council an update on the water department.
He mentioned that, after February’s utility board meeting which saw roughly 60 outraged customers complain about abnormally high water bills and led to Councilman David Smith suggesting the town terminate its contract with the company, many problems had been fixed or were on their way to being so.
He said that he had been taking water meters and having them tested, taking around eight at a time. He also said that he had been looking at new water meters, which would be accurate to three-tenths of a gallon. Those new meters, it was said, would be used on the upcoming Thacker Water Project.
Collins also said that 12 leaks had been detected, with four of them fixed. He said those fixes lowered the town’s gallons pumped per month by 120,000.
“It seems like everything’s getting better,” Collins said.
Matewan Fire Chief Brian Casto had the floor afterwards, and spoke about the town’s upcoming Easter egg hunt. He said that 1,000 eggs would be hidden, and thanked the public for their assistance in helping fund it. He said that a recent boot drive raised $1,287 for the event. The event is set for Saturday, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Casto also requested $2,500 for uniforms, hats and lapel pins for his firefighters. Casto said that these items would be identifiable to the public, as well as boost morale and help with retention. The council approved his request unanimously.
Lastly, Casto requested the support of everyone for the county fire levy, which narrowly failed in its previous iteration, saying it would be good for both Matewan and the county.
“I am absolutely supporting the fire levy in every way I can,” she told the Daily News. “It will be good for the entire county, in specific, Matewan and everyone therein. We barely missed approval last time. Hopefully it will pass this time.”
The council has already gone on record in support of both the county’s fire and school board levies.
Next, Donna Paterino, Director of the Matewan Massacre, updated the council on future events and tourism. She presented the council with the newest brochures for the town. She said that 10,000 had been printed and could now be found in visitors centers. She also mentioned that the Mingo County Commission donated $2,500 to the show, which is around eight weeks away.
Matewan Heritage Day, which will feature two shows of the Massacre, is scheduled for May 18. The first show will be at 11 a.m., the second at 3 p.m.
The MCC, it was said, also donated $12,500 towards the construction of an amphitheater in Matewan.
Kessler said that the county was partnering with Matewan to have the amphitheater built.
“They’re doing everything they can do to help us,” she said.
As the finale, the council approved its proposed budget to be sent for state approval. Details were not immediately available.
The Matewan Town Council meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at town hall. Meetings are open to the public. The next meeting is scheduled for April 9.