LOGAN, W.Va. — City of Logan Accountant Jeff Vallet discussed a proposal that would help fund the pension plan for retired Firefighters and Police officers at the July 12 Logan City Council meeting.
Logan Fire Chief Scott Beckett said that in 2008 there was a proposal to revise some of the commercial rates which were thirty years old, in order to fund the Firefighters and Police pension fund. However the proposal was not followed through at that time.
Vallet said funding the pension plan was a long standing problem for the city and that some way had to be found to deal with the pension funds, which were delinquent. Vallet said City Attorney Kendall Partlow would work with him on passing revised rates to address the problem. Partlow will draft a proposed ordinance and file it with the state. Later, a pubic hearing will be held on the matter along with public readings for the proposed revised ordinance.
“We still have some work to do,” Mayor Serafino Nolletti said. “We are not in this alone. Other towns are also struggling to adequately fund their Fire and Police pension funds.” Following explanations and discussions Partlow was authorized to begin work on the proposal which is hoped to raise $75,000.
Vallet also discussed the month’s check registry, noting there was around $20,000 in bills which came in late. The monthly total for bills was $55,000.
“Our collections were down in June… It is almost always our worst month for collections,” Vallet noted. (In point of fact other local municipalities have declared the same thing. The previous night City Clerk Mark Mareske noted that June was a bad month for West Logan’s collections).
In other City of Logan news:
• The council discussed the upcoming Woods and Water Festival scheduled for Labor Day Weekend. The long term purpose of the event is to raise funds to pay for the return of the Freedom Festival, which was an annual event in the city for several years. The event will feature trail rides and kayaking as well as a fishing tournament that Friday. The Logan Shrine Club will assist with a poker run, and the Hatfield McCoy Trails Regional Recreation Authority is also working with the city on the project. Fire Chief Beckett is working on obtaining a high powered projector to possibly play outdoor movies in the town.
“Our goal is to bring people into town and to get the outdoors to have some fun,” Mayor Nolletti said, noting there would also be entertainment in the evenings.
• The city has been working with Dave Stillwell of Appalachian Power on getting electrical service restored to Loraine Street.
• Beckett and former mayor Tom Esposito met with representatives from an engineering firm to inspect some affected streets that were damaged due to a massive storm. Esposito told the council that the original proposal may have to be changed. He said originally the plan was to blow out some drains which got clogged in the aftermath of one of the major storms that had had an amazing impact on the city. However, now the engineers wish to send cameras into the lines and inspect them for damage.
Esposito said that if the project is changed it will require more paperwork and approval from FEMA in order to keep the $16,000 in funding for the fix. “This may require us to go back and work with FEMA on a new proposal,” he explained.
• Council discussed a form for businesses and residents in the city to explain the process of having the sidewalks on their property repaired. One topic under discussion was that if the city has to provide the repairs the property owner would be billed for the service.
“This has become a liability issue,” Mayor Nolletti noted, “Everybody is sue-happy.”
• Street Commissioner Kevin Marcum said there had been a lot of repairs to drains and a lot of painting down in the town lately. He noted heavy constant storms had caused a major problem in vegetation and weed growth around town.
• Police Chief E.K. Harper said the town utilized funds from its Law Enforcement Levy money from the Logan County Commission to put a new motor into a surplus cruiser.
• Fire Chief Scotty Beckett said his agency handled 84 calls for assistance in June and dealt with five major structure fires in a three week period. The fire department has several major projects it is working on including the tearing down and removal of some structures in town.
J.D. Charles is a freelance writer and a former reporter for The Logan Banner.