LOGAN, W.Va. — Along with West Logan and Man, the City of Logan has declared the month of April to be Fair Housing Month in the city. However, unlike neighboring municipalities this declaration may have more meaning for the city. Logan Mayor Serafino Nolletti explained that the annual declaration had to be approved to help pave the way for major projects in Logan at the marathon session of the Logan City Council on March 14.
“We do this every year, but it will possibly pay off down the road,” the Mayor said, noting that the Fair Housing Act is part of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability.
“Our town has to do this in order to get projects approved like the large scale (36 units) housing structure that has been proposed to be built in the city. We have the possibility of another one being located here too. This sort of thing is one of the keys to getting approval for that sort of project. ..They have already started doing core drilling on the one recently,”the mayor said.
The motion was approved. Nolletti also discussed a long delayed paving project in the town, noting that at this point the city does not even know if the (long ago) promised federal funds are still there for it.
“Logan Bank and Trust has not heard anything from them since they sent them a letter on Sept. 23,” the mayor said, adding that even though his town does not know if the money is still available “we are not going to just give up.”
Former Mayor Tom Esposito, who has been working with the city on several large projects involving repairs to the town following dramatic storms in recent years said that 24 easements had been signed for one project and it has been delayed by waiting for 13 more. Esposito said it turned out to be taking more time than had been expected.
In other Logan news, City Accountant Jeff Valet said the city’s monthly check registry was unusually low this in March due to a late insurance bill. (Normally the city’s bills amount to around $70,000 per month but this month’s tab was only $29,000.) “Even when that comes in that will only bring us to about $45,000 for the month,” he said, adding that the city took in $130,000 this past month. He said that property tax payments should be coming in next month and discussed the city’s upcoming 2017-18 budget. Valet said he took a look at spending and income streams in the past 12 months and based the proposed budget on that. The budget will be in the neighborhood of $2.4 million in the coming year, he said. “We almost broke even for the year,” Valet said.
The new budget has to be ready to be submitted to the state by March 29 and he said the biggest change will be in the matter of using fire service fees to fund he city’s first responders pension fund.
“We are no longer going to be the worst town in West Virginia when it comes to that,” Valet said. He explained the town still had a fine it had to pay to the Department of Environmental Protection but said that should be paid off by the end of the fiscal year. Council members will have a budget workshop with Valet on March 23 at noon.
Logan Police Chief E.K. Harper said his department continues to work with several different federal law enforcement agencies on some long term investigations and that one recently paid off when a notorious local character had finally been arrested. He said the investigation took two years to take the individual off the streets and that more arrests may be in the wings. Harper said civil service testing for a vacancy on the Logan PD will be coming up again soon. “It has been pretty quiet in that area since that happened,” Harper said.
Street Commissioner Kevin Marcum said his department was busy with some major clean ups in the aftermath of a dramatic wind storm and that work continued on clearing drains as well as picking up debris on Mountain Lake Park. Marcum said thanks to a mild winter up till now the town still had plenty of salt left over.
“Careful Kevin, you jinxed us the last time you said that,” quipped Fire Chief Scot Beckett.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 or by email at [email protected]