CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. — The Chapmanville Town Council meeting held Monday, Oct. 10, addressed several issues presented by residents, the current state of garbage service in the town and the hiring of additional patrolmen.
Due to the length of the September 12 council meeting and the September 19 workshop meeting minutes, a vocal reading of the minutes was bypassed. Instead, copies of the minutes were distributed to council and attendees with a note from the mayor that the minutes would be corrected and approved during the November meeting. Also due to a legal point being overlooked, the public hearing on the town’s water rate increase was postponed until the November 14 meeting.
“Any of you who want to make corrections, you can read that over. It is rather lengthy,” Mayor Raamie Barker said. “It is very detailed.”
The first person to address the council was Lonnie Berry, who introduced himself as the owner of Tudor’s Biscuit World in Chapmanville and pastor of Mt. Carmel Freewill Baptist Church at Logan. Berry spoke to a council about a concern his female workers brought to him.
“The girls coming in very early in the morning its dark and they are concerned about it,” Berry said. “Its 4:30 in the morning and its pitch dark. I’ve put up all the lights up that I can put up. There needs to be a pole light there.”
Berry said that park of town had just been annexed recently and perhaps had been overlooked.
“I don’t know who many street lights the town has, but I think the most important lights should shine over Hardee’s and Tudors because that’s where the girls go in early in the morning,” Berry said. “I know the town is in a financial bind and I’m not asking for much, just a pole light so the girls can walk in safely.”
Barker told Berry that he certainly wasn’t against additional lighting in the town, but they would have to check into how to get the light installed and the cost for the light, then council would have to approve the installation.
Phillip Williamson, owner of Williamson’s Greenhouse, was the next to address the council. Williamson was asking about the closure of the street in front of his business by the construction of the hospice house.
During a previous administration, an alleged agreement was made between Dignity Hospice and the town to close the streets.
“All I’m asking is for information on getting those streets opened back up so business can flow to my greenhouses,” Williamson said.
“I’ve talked to several times about this and I still don’t know what the town of Chapmanville was supposed to have done,” Mayor Barker said. “I don’t have a copy… or has anyone else seen a copy from the former mayor involving this street? If you can get your hand on a copy, or I can get a copy, we’ll see why.”
Williamson said he was told that a copy was available at any time.
“I don’t mean to cast aspersions on anybody, but I need to see the paper,” Barker said. “Then I will know the nature or whatever the agreement was.”
Barker said the street became the property of the West Virginia Department of Highways in 2007.
“I’m of the opinion as mayor that this street is important to the town,” Barker said. “I don’t know what the position of the Department of Highways is, but I am fully willing to engage in the sport of reopening the street. I don’t know what that will entail but it certainly has my support… It’s obvious that three property owners are affected by this if the street isn’t reopened.”
Council member Robin Mutters said she recalled discussing the street agreement was under the impression that the street was going to be swapped, but would remain open. Williamson said that apparently the street was swapped for a piece of property that is unusable as a street.
“Their intention at this point is to not move the stop light pole so that the street can be used,” Williamson said. “So somewhere along the line, either someone didn’t plan very well — or someone planned very well — for the street swap so that the road would be open or not.”
“We can’t afford to lose a street like that just because of some bureaucrat in Huntington or Charleston to just come in here and close a street,” Barker said. “This week I’m very upset that we had a major paving job done out here and this office was not notified by the DOH. In the past, they notified municipalities when they were paving. They would pave in a time when school was out and today the paving machine was right in front of the high school when school was out. I can’t think of a bigger mess.”
Barker said any excavations done by any body on the streets of Chapmanville is under the ordinances of the town which says that the town is supposed to be notified when they excavate.
Dean “Doc” Williams was the last public speaker at the meeting.
Williams told the council that for the past several years the area from Chapmanville Towers to the Post Office he had been cleaning the parking lots and sidewalks with his four wheeler.
“The other day at Speedway a West Virginia Trooper informed me that since I crossed city streets and the city had an ordinance against four wheelers, that they could write me a ticket and impound my four-wheeler,” Williams said. “I thought he was joking at first, but he made it very plain to me that he wasn’t.”
Williams said he spoke with other Troopers who told him that without a permit his cleaning the sidewalks could get his four-wheeler impounded and him a ticket.
“So, if you want any help from me like I have been doing for the past three or four years, I would appreciate some type of permit that states that during the winter when there is some type of snow around, that I am allowed to go through there and clean the sidewalks,” Williams said. “Without that, I’m sorry, but I will not be assisting any sidewalk cleaning with my four wheeler. I won’t take a chance on having my four wheeler impounded while doing volunteer work.”
Barker asked for approval from the council, who all agreed to the request.
“I don’t know if we have such a permit, but I will construct one and sign it as soon as I can,” Barker said. “We appreciate your effort and we will comply with your request.”
Reports on the departments, including the hiring of two full time patrolmen, and old and new business will be in future editions of The Logan Banner.
Martha Sparks is a reporter and can be reached at 304-752-6950, ext. 1728, or via Twitter at @MarthaSparks.