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Dunbar police officers, fighters to get raises

By by Marta Ree Tankersley
Staff writer

Dunbar city police and firefighters will receive higher wages beginning July 1.

City Council on Monday unanimously approved a $.35 per hour raise for police officers and a $.50 per hour raise for firefighters. Police officers’ annual pay will range from $29,889.60 to $36,088. Information regarding fire fighter’s pay was unavailable.

In order to comply with the West Virginia Legislature’s Bill 319, commonly called the “gun bill” which Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed into law last month, council heard the first reading of an ordinance to repeal its municipal code restricting the presence of guns on city property.

The ordinance is likely to be adopted following a second reading and vote at the next council meeting.

“Guns will be allowed on city property as prescribed within the new state law,” Mayor Terry Greenlee said.

Sanitary Department Director Ron Byrnside said “contractors are out in full swing” and crews are dispersed throughout the city working on the $12.5 million storm drainage system project.

“They are very, very busy and a lot of stuff is going on,” he said. “We are trying to patch areas where we’ve laid new pipe in an effort to keep down the dust.

“We are working hard to try to accommodate everyone; trying to give it our best shot to keep customers and citizens satisfied,” he said.

Byrnside encouraged residents to call the Sanitary Department with questions or concerns so they can resolve any issues.

“We will try to get an answer or solution to the problem,” he said.

The city needs the project in order to comply with federal law, Councilman Doug Fletcher said.

“The city is not just doing this to be a nuisance,” he said. “This is something that just has to be done and we ask that residents please bear with the construction workers and the city officials.”

Greenlee assured Council that the inconveniences related to the project will be worth it in the long run.

Construction on the section encompassing Roxalana Road is scheduled to commence Monday, June 9.

Police Captain Scott Elliott announced a Neighborhood Watch meeting June 19 at the Bingo Building on Charles Avenue.

Assistant Fire Chief Chris Thornhill reported the International Standards Organization evaluation of the department has been completed but the report will not be issued for a few weeks. This report will be used to help insurance companies determine rates.

Public Works Director Mike Williams reported that recycle bags are available for pick up at City Hall for residents who present proof of sanitary fee payments.

Recreation Director Lee Painter announced the Shawnee Park Grand Opening is scheduled Wednesday, June 4. The city is offering free greens fees from 7 a.m. – noon and free pool admission from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. He also announced a carnival will set up at Dunbar Landing from June 10 – June 14.

In other business, Council:

· Announced they are accepting bids for a new air conditioning system for the recreation center.

· Received $1,566 rebate check from American Electric Power for “upgrading lights to the green standards,” Greenlee said.

· Reimbursed the Coal Severance fund $12,500 for monies borrowed at the initial start-up of Shawnee Park. “We paid that off in just four months,” Greenlee said. “Any money made at the park goes back to the park in new investments.”

· Announced that applications for the 2014 COPS Hiring Program are being accepted.

· Presented the new employee handbook for inspection, correction and recommendations prior to finalization.

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