LOGAN, W.Va. — A new initiative to raise awareness about what the West Virginia Municipal League (WVML) can do for your town will kick off this month in the City of Logan. For decades municipal officials have received assistance from the West Virginia Municipal league in dealing with local government affairs.
The project, called “Love the League” will raise awareness about the long time organization.
As part of the “Love the League” effort, towns will be introduced to the many resources offered by the WVML and their lobbying efforts in the state legislature. Towns will also receive materials to benefit elected officials provided by the League. The goal is to have 20 new towns and cities participate in the 2017 Winter Municipal League Conference.
Mayor Serafino Nolletti serves as Treasurer on the West Virginia Municipal League Board of Directors and City Clerk Amber Miller Viars serves on the Bi Laws Committee which actively lobbies for towns across the state on behalf of the League.
The West Virginia Municipal League is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of cities, towns and villages established in 1968 to assist local governments and advance the interests of the citizens who reside within. The League offers members training for clerks and municipal court judges, legislative advocacy, research, education programs and many other services for municipal elected officials. By cooperating through the League, cities benefit from research programs and a united legislative voice that would be impossible to maintain individually. It also allows Mayors, Clerks and Judges along with council members the opportunity to network with and learn from each other in how different towns may approach some of the same problems and challenges.
Nolletti is a longtime board member of the League and he and council members discussed the new project at Tuesday evening’s city council meeting. Viars said that she will be visiting five different towns — Delbarton, Matewan, Gilbert, Kermit and Williamson — in Mingo County in the next few weeks to help them learn what the league offers.
“We are trying to reach out to these other towns and let them know what the League can do for them,” Mayor Nolletti said.
If any mayors, clerks or council members would like to become part of the “Love the League” campaign, contact Viars at amberviarsgmail.com
Viars had some good news for the council. She noted that 16 local businesses which had been in arrears on Business and Occupation Taxes and city fees had come forward and paid what they owed.
“One of these businesses was ten years behind,” she said, noting it had been a long, drawn out process at times dealing with local management and the business owners. In return for paying up the outstanding debts some of them had fines and penalties for being behind dismissed. Dealing with delinquent debts has been a long term problem for Logan and many other cities across the state.
Longtime former mayor Tom Esposito, who has been working with the city on several major repair projects which came about in the wake of several disastrous storms, discussed recent projects with the council. This part of the monthly meeting has become known as the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Update. Discussing the project that came after a 2015 disaster, Esposito said a new power pole which is five feet higher than the old one will be installed by AEP on Lorraine Street. Phase II of that project will include the removal pf power meters. Projects that came out of a 2012 disaster were also addressed.
For some time the city has been at loggerheads with an official in Charleston regarding a paving project. Esposito said the state had extended the usual 18 month deadline to 48 months and that the new deadline was rapidly running out with no progress (due to funds reportedly being stalled).
“We do not want to have to rebid that project,” Esposito said. “We have worked too hard to let that go.”
Mayor Nolletti said that so far the town had not heard back from its’ representatives in Washington about the matter of the disputed $200,000 plus in funding.
J.D. Charles is a freelance writer and a former reporter for The Logan Banner.