Citizens fighting address changes

PHILIPPI – Mayor Jerry Mouser reported Thursday he has been presented with a petition opposing Philippi City Council’s decision in March to opt in to the state E911 addressing and mapping system.

For months, a group of residents attended City Council meetings to oppose taking part in the E911 system, which began in 1997 and was put into effect in 2004, according to past statements made by Councilman Ed Larry.

“There was a petition presented to Council opposing the address change and it contained 241 signatures asking for a referendum of the vote on the issue of the address change,” Mouser said, adding that he did not recall with 100 percent clarity exactly who presented it to him, and that it was no longer in his hands.

Mouser said he has presented the petition to Council. He said, according to state code, if 10 percent of registered voters in the city sign a petition, it could possibly result in an election.

The Council is awaiting an opinion from the city attorney on the matter, the mayor said.

Mouser said City Clerk Tammy Stemple will have to verify that enough of the signatures are from registered voters in the city. Mouser estimated Philippi has about 1,500 registered voters.

“Ten percent would be 150 people,” Mouser said. “It was sent to the city attorney to determine if we have to hold an election.”

City Council members Jeff Allen and Barbara Bryan have stated previously that not enough information was given to a prior Council about their options regarding the matter.

After hearing from the public and debating the matter since last fall, Council decided in a split 3-2 vote on March 4 it will allow the E911 addressing and mapping system – that was already partially completed – to continue in lieu of being responsible for creating its own mapping and addressing system, and potentially becoming liable for any failures of that system.

Allen and Brian both voted against the motion, while Larry and Councilmen John Green and Terrence Boyd voted in favor of it.