Dunbar council asked to support safety levy

By By Marta Ree Tankersley
For the Gazette

Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy and Kanawha Valley Regional Transit Authority General Manager Dennis Dawson asked the Dunbar City Council Monday night for its support of a levy that’s up for renewal vote next week.

The Kanawha County Safety Levy, which requires 60 percent of the vote to pass, helps fund KRT, police, fire and ambulance services throughout the county, Dawson said.

Should the levy pass there will be “no increase in taxes at all,” Dawson said.

“We ask for your support,” Hardy said. “This issue is life or death, not republican or democrat.”

Council heard the first reading of an ordinance to approve the city’s Municipal Home Rule Phase II Pilot Program application with a unanimous roll call vote. A second reading, required by statute, must be approved before the application is submitted by the June 1 deadline.

“Home Rule will help Dunbar move forward,” Mayor Terry Greenlee said. “We’ve watched the four other cities progress tremendously because of their home rule program.”

The plan includes provisions for maintenance of property and structures up to and including making “repairs, alterations, mowing or demolish the property” and placing a lien on said property to cover the costs without obtaining a court order.

It also calls for building and zoning code enforcement provisions in which city officials are “given power to issue citations” for code violations like “trash/debris, overgrown weeds, overgrown grass, junked cars, unlawfully situated motor vehicles, care and maintenance of vacant structures, broken windows or glass, broken sidewalks and driveways.”

The plan also calls for the institution of a municipal sales and use tax and modification of the business and occupational tax structure.

“The main goal,” it reads, “is to generate the revenue the City needs to meet its growing financial needs, while creating an environment suitable for business growth.”

Fire Chief Butch Ellis said an International Organization for Standardization audit to rate the fire department and determine insurance rates is scheduled May 19.

“They will go through records, look at our training and equipment,” Ellis said.

In other action, Council:

n Approved the payment of $46,587.62 in invoiced which included payment for utilities and “garbage truck payments.”

n Approved the $6,700 purchase of a 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 from West Virginia Surplus Property for the Public Works Department.

n Approved the $16,815 purchase of over 400 cases of recycle bags for distribution within the city.

n Approved the $2,169 expense for repair of a fire department rescue truck.

n Approved a budget for National Kids to Park Day, not to exceed $2,000.

n Accepted a $3,366 Finley Fire Equipment Company bid for two sets of bunker gear for the fire department to be paid for with funds from a grant supplied by the Safety Levy.

n Voted to reimburse the Coal Severance Fund $12,500. This is one half of the loan used for the “Shawnee Park start money.”

n Set the next Neighborhood Watch meeting for May 15 at 6:30 at the Bingo Building on Charles Avenue.

n Announced the Early Bird Car Show May 10 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Shawnee Park.

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