Elkins Council reconsiders policy

Elkins City Council decided Thursday to take a long look at its policy for serving as a “pass-through” agency for grant applications for other local agencies.

Thursday’s meeting agenda included two resolutions for the city to “stand as fiscal agent” for grant applications – one for a Governor’s Community Participation Grant for the Elkins Depot Welcome Center and one for an Emergency Solutions Grant for the Randolph County Homeless Shelter.

However, City Attorney Gerry Roberts said that City Clerk Sutton Stokes discovered while looking through the paperwork this week that one of the applications included wording stating that the city would have a “continuing fiduciary responsibility” if it served as fiscal agent for the grant.

“You’re not just a ‘pass-through’ for this,” Roberts told council, advising that the applications be tabled while city officials investigate the situation.

“They’re not just looking for a blessing letter from us. They’re wanting for us to be administrators,” Roberts said.

“We are just looking at having organizations go through some sort of process whereby they make certifications to us, the same way we’ll be making certifications on their behalf to the state, to reduce the city’s liability for those funds,” Stokes said.

“The goal is definitely to make it work. We just want to take some steps to protect the city,” he said. “The Emergency Shelter grant, for example, says that the city is subject to (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) audits, so we just need to make sure we’re protected in case that happens.”

Council voted to table the grant applications until a later date.

Also during Thursday’s meeting:

Bob Pingley, the city’s operations manager, said the city’s street sweeper will soon make its first appearance of the year.

“It’s our intention to start running the street sweeper regularly,” Pingley said. “Ticketing will not start until the first week of May.”

Pingley said the city’s Spring Clean-Up service will begin Monday. Crews will cover First Ward on Monday and Tuesday, Second Ward on Wednesday and Thursday, Third Ward on Friday and April 12, Fourth Ward on April 16 and 17 and Fifth Ward on April 18 and 19.

Mayor Van Broughton, presiding over his first council meeting in his new position, said City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. April 16 to lay the 2014 Fiscal Year levy. Also during this meeting, council members will interview applicants to fill Broughton’s vacated Second Ward council seat.