MATEWAN — The Matewan Town Council discussed a variety of topics at its most recent meeting held Tuesday evening.
Representatives from the Logan County Child Advocacy Center were in attendance and spoke to the council about what it was all about.
David Bell, the Mingo County Outreach Coordinator for the Center said that they had gone to other councils and wanted to expand into Mingo County. He noted that he had nine grandchildren who attend Mingo County schools and cited the Penn State case with Jerry Sandusky, worrying that something like that could happen locally.
A volunteer, LaDonna Austin, and the Family Advocate, Medina Mahon, were the other representatives present.
“Our goal is to have it where a child who has suffered abuse never has to travel more than an hour for a forensic interview,” Mahon told the council. She mentioned that the Center handles children ranging from 4 to 18-years-old, but that the majority of the children are between 6 and 12-years-old.
She gave an example of a Kindergarten student who “knows the body parts better than I do.”
“It’s a hard job, but it makes it worth it when we put the bad guy away,” Mahon said. “We don’t just help out the child, but also the family. Like the parents who ask, ‘What do I do now?’ or ‘Why did I allow it to happen?’”
The Center, according to Mahon, is looking to establish chapters in Mingo County and would like to open one in Matewan. It already has an establishment within the Goodman Manor community room. Mahon said that people could call the center to set up appointments: (304) 792-6261.
The Council passed a motion formally supporting the Center having a presence within Matewan and the county.
“We appreciate you being here tonight,” Mayor Sheila Kessler said. “I’m glad you are here in Mingo County.”
The water and sewer department was on the agenda next, and the discussion shifted to security measures in the sewer department.
Tim Collins, with Veolia Water, spoke to the council and said that he had received three bids, deciding to go with a basic camera and internet system in response to the Town’s mower theft.
Kessler said that the town would not get an insurance claim on it since it did not technically belong to Matewan. It was decided that the town, the utility board and the water and sewer department would go in together to purchase a new mower under $20,000.
Afterwards, the council discussed the CPI rate increase for the town from Veolia Water, to 2.651 percent, which should have ran from July 2012 until June 2013. The increase would take the yearly payment to approximately $608,000, as well an increase on a rearage, from $5,000 to $8,000.
“When we increased rates, we got in the black,” Kessler said. “Now we’re dipping back into the red.”
Councilman Steven Fullen said that the council should wait to discuss finances before committing.
Kessler said that if the rates supported the increase, the town would have to pay it as the contract read, or default to a three percent increase. If rates didn’t support it, the town and Veolia would have to renegotiate.
“We can’t increase our water rates again,” Kessler said. “We can’t do it each year. Number 1: The public can’t pay it. And number 2: the PSC won’t let you.
“I don’t know what the answer is, but this is not a new issue.”
The council decided to table it based on Fullen’s motion to “let the town’s financial expert look at it first if we want to be fiscally responsible.”
Lastly, the council announced that House Finance Chairman Harry Keith White secured funding for the much-wanted amphitheatre. A total of $10,000 was granted, the first of the seed money for the building. The council also received $2,000 for the Hatfield-McCoy Festival and $2,250 for the Matewan Massacre reenactment.
Seeing her dream of an amphitheatre come closer to fruition, Donna Patterino, director of the reenactment, was emotional.
“We still have a long road to go, but it’s a good start,” she said. “We’re going to keep making noise until the amphitheatre is here.”
The Matewan Town Council meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at Matewan Town Hall. Meetings are open to the public.