Dunbar to hire new police officer

Dunbar city council on Monday voted to hire a new police officer.

Councilman Doug Fleshman voted no on the otherwise unanimous decision to hire the police officer, saying it would be a “financial burden on the city.”

Mayor Terry Greenlee disagreed.

“We begin the new fiscal year with a budget surplus of what looks to be like about $200,000,” Greenlee said.

Hiring the new police officer, Scott Hayes, who was previously employed by the city, will bring the department up to full staff, Police Chief Jesse Bailes said. He added that he “wholeheartedly supports the new hire” and is very pleased.

“This hire will allow us to expand our drug enforcement efforts and work as a team with other agencies,” Bailes said.

In other police department news, Bailes reported a $36,000 public safety grant has been awarded to the department. Funds will be used to purchase a new Ford Explorer, five mobile data terminals and three hand-held radios.

Fire Chief Butch Ellis also announced a public safety grant has been approved. The department will use the funds to purchase two digital radios, two self-contained breathing apparatuses and carbon bottles.

The City’s Public Works Director Mike Williams said crews are working to repair pot holes and encourages residents to contact the department to help them identify where work needs to be done.

Council passed the first reading of an ordinance to renew a Housing Consortium agreement that makes low interest home loan available throughout Kanawha County. The measure must be approved every three years.

Recreation Director Lee Painter announced the city pool at Shawnee Park has serviced more than 6,000 patrons already this summer and revenues are increased over last year.

He also said a fall festival September 19 – 21, with Sunday designated “Gospel Day.”

Painter also said a $8,000 amphitheater has been donated to Wine Cellar Park and is available for rental for weddings, plays, musical performances and more.

In other business, council:

· Approved new employee handbooks which will be distributed through department heads and effective retroactively on July 1.

· Approved $59,600 in general expenses.

· Set the Neighborhood Watch meeting for July 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bingo Building on Charles Avenue. A speaker for the event is to be announced on the Facebook page.

· Accepted $5,200 for auctioned items including a vehicle sold to someone in Turkey, Building Inspector Hugh Leishman said.

· Announced the Home Rule Application will be presented to the Board on August 8 at 8:30 a.m.

· Approved a $200 donation to Dunbar delegates to the National Young Writers Program July 7 – 11 for elementary school children.

· Approved $1,890 expenditure for carpet installation at the City Park House.

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