Belington Council fills vacant seat

The new mayor of Belington, Bobby King, had the opportunity to exercise his power to break a tie vote Thursday as members of Belington City Council voted on filling a vacant 3rd Ward position.

The open seat belonged to former councilman King, who accepted the position of mayor during the May 16 meeting.

Two residents were nominated for the 3rd Ward seat – former Belington mayor Larry Carpenter and Debbie Harris Hutchison.

Hutchison addressed members of council during the public comment section of Thursday’s meeting, saying she has lived in Belington nearly all of her life. She said she had owned a business in Belington, and wanted to see the town grow and return to its former state, when folks did not have to be afraid to walk at night.

Hutchison was nominated by Councilwoman Suzanna Skidmore.

Carpenter, who was not present at Thursday’s meeting, was nominated by Councilman Marshall Reed.

Three members of council – Max Grove, Skidmore and Richard Cox – voted for Hutchison. Councilmen Richard Lawrence, Reed and Sonny Moore voted for Carpenter.

King broke the 3-3 tie with a vote for Hutchison.

“I’ve lived here all my life,” Hutchison said. “I would like to see Belington grow and succeed. I think Belington is one of the most beautiful small communities in West Virginia and want to help any way I can.”

In other business:

  • Council members voted to promote Sgt. D.J. Harris to the position of Belington Chief of Police. Harris declined the offer at this time, stating he wanted to work with council members on some issues before he accepted the offer.

“Thank you for the consideration of that,” Harris said. “I don’t have near the worries and thoughts with the present mayor, but it’s a future thing of who may be the next mayor.”

Council members decided to give Harris a few more weeks to think about the position and talk with them about his concerns. After tabling the appointment, council members said they will address the issue at the next council meeting.

  • Later in the meeting, King nominated former Belington Chief of Police Keith Rowan for the open position of a patrolman with the police department. The town placed dvertisements for certified police officers were in the local newspapers in recent weeks.

Rowan, who was a member of the audience at the meeting, stood up at that point and exited the meeting area with Harris. When Harris returned, he said Rowan indicated he wished to “withdraw his application.” Rowan did not return to the meeting.

  • At the close of the meeting, King said he is looking forward to continuing his duties as mayor.

“In six months you can come back to me and ask me if you think there are any real big problems,” said King. “I don’t foresee any problems, but if you don’t think I’m treating people right or anything, then you can just come back and tell me. I have a couple businesses in town that I own. I am invested in this town and I expect it to be here in the next few years, and I expect this town to flourish or I would not be investing my money in it.”

He said the key to success is spending.

“The one thing about me is money,” King said. “I don’t want to waste money that the city has, because there is not a lot of it. Cities have spending problems, they don’t have money problems. And if we can’t get our spending under control, then we can’t go out here and expect to raise fees for people that are on a fixed income.”

The next Belington City Council meeting is slated for 7:30 p.m. June 20 at Council Chambers.