WILLIAMSON — The Williamson City Council met Wednesday evening in its only meeting for the month of November, discussing topics such as a one-time cost of living adjustment and issues with garbage in the city.
Each council member was in attendance, and after the approval of the previous meeting’s minutes, a carried motion to pay the city’s general fund bills and a 40-minute executive session regarding a personnel matter, the meeting quickly moved.
Upon return from the executive session, a motion was called for regarding a one-time cost of living adjustment for all city employees, with the mayor’s office recommending a two percent increase. The motion was made and seconded, with unanimous approval and an abstain from Councilwoman Connie Rockel.
“It’s not as much as last year’s, but we feel it’s a responsible number,” Mayor Darrin McCormick said. “We appreciate all of our city employees.”
The adjustment will be added to the Nov. 15 paycheck.
Later, McCormick invited the public to attend an open house tonight at the Williamson Municipal Pool from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. to learn about projects happening within the city, including a series of workshop event involving exercises, presentations and networking that will result in an implementation strategy for carrying out a sustainability plan.
The mayor said that on Friday, as a follow-up to today’s open house, a walking tour would be conducted beginning at 9 a.m. at the Williamson Fire Department.
McCormick teased that a “big announcement” would be made during the tour, one which would “significantly increase the quality of living” for Williamson residents. He didn’t go further into detail regarding the announcement, but said that the public was encouraged to attend both events.
Also during the meeting, the mayor said that the city’s trick or treat event went well, saying that nearly 1,600 people attended the annual Kiwanis Halloween party at the Williamson Field House.
“Everyone had a pretty good time, even with Hurricane Sandy pushing it back,” McCormick said. The mayor thanked 56 students, and their aides, from both Tug Valley High School and Mingo Central High School, who helped decorate the Field House for the event.
Rockel, who took pictures at the event, said that if anyone wanted photos from the event to check the “King Coal Festival Williamson, WV” Facebook page.
McCormick and the rest of the council congratulated the winners from Tuesday’s election as well, saying that while local races had been decided in the primaries, it was time to “start moving forward and go from there.”
Councilman Matthew Thornsbury said, regarding the election: “Let’s keep working together, let’s move froward on the city, county and state levels. Let’s not look behind.”
“I couldn’t have said it better myself,” McCormick said.
“Amen,” Councilwoman Sherri Brown said.
Futher into the meeting, Jason Allen said that he had spoken with the West Virginia Divison of Highways regarding the grates at the Harvey Street underpass. He said that the DOH was “working on it,” but also said that no timeframe was given.
Rockel said that, while streetlights hadn’t yet been repaired and were still out, an engineer from the DOH would be coming to look at lights at both the West End water tower and Fourth Avenue.
Lastly, the council discussed garbage in and around the city.
McCormick said that “it’s sad” at how much trash was thrown out in West End.
“I see it time and again,” the mayor said.
“You pick it up in the morning and it’s back by noon,” Rockel said.
The mayor praised the Tug Valley Roadrunners Club for picking up a large amount of it.
Also regarding trash around the city, the mayor said that if anyone had a complaint of a person who wasn’t paying their garbage bills or letting it pile up to make complaints through the proper channels.
“Contact city hall, and we’ll dispatch a sanitation officer. He’ll inspect and assess the situation. He’ll call CPS to have the kids removed if it’s that damn nasty!” McCormick said.
The pump station and its parking lot on First Avenue, adjacent to 7-Eleven, was also mentioned at the end of the meeting. McCormick said that he spoke with the Mingo County Commission as an aside during an emergency meeting held with the governor’s office regarding Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the county, which delayed trick or treat.
Despite having a trashcan present, the area attracts loiterers and is often riddled with trash, McCormick said.
The mayor said that the MCC, which owns the property, promised to look into securing it. McCormick also said, as an example, that could create additional parking spaces for people who had business at the courthouse.
The Williamson City Council will conduct its final meeting of the year on Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. at city hall. The public is invited to attend.