Philippi to consider non-resident appointments

PHILIPPI – At an upcoming meeting, Philippi City Council members will decide if the Philippi Landmark Commission should open membership up to people from outside the city limits of Philippi.

Mayor Jerry Mouser said Tuesday during a Philippi City Council work session the matter would be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.

However, during Tuesday’s work session, members seemed to have split opinions on the matter.

Mouser said other boards have requested in the past to open membership to those outside of city limits, and if the Landmark Commission is permitted to do so, but not the others, it would “open up Pandora’s Box.”

Mouser said City Attorney John Ashcom reviewed the matter and found there was nothing to prevent Council from allowing a non-resident to become a member.

“I’m still opposed to it on several grounds, but, if you all want to do it, you can do it,” Mouser said.

Councilman Ed Larry said he could see the matter from both sides. He said choosing members from a smaller pool of interested people could place a limitation on the creativity of the board.

“At one time, I thought it would be better, that if a business man or a person owns property in the city and lives in Barbour County, why shouldn’t that person be on a committee,” Larry said. “So I have two ideas. I have to think about that… if you have something within the city, but you live in the county… that’s just a feeling. I don’t know.”

Councilman Terrence Boyd said the ordinance could be written in a way that would exclude membership from counties other than Barbour.

“I don’t know, maybe it will open up a Pandora’s Box, but those different boards and commissions, they still have to come before Council,” Boyd said. “Maybe we use this one as an example, and you try to get it right the first time… I think it’s important that you keep new and you keep fresh ideas, and I think that’s a big benefit of it.”

Boyd said potential non-resident members could have a vested interest in the town. City Manager Karen Weaver said they should be stakeholders in Philippi. Larry said that a business owner is the person who is going to be paying B&O taxes.

“He’s the one who’s bringing you money into the city,” Larry said. “He’s paying that permit, but yet he doesn’t have a voice. That’s one idea.”

Mouser said there were two sides to the equation and suggested the matter come before Council for a vote at the next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m.

July 15.

Council will consider whether to move forward with amending the ordinance to allow non-resident members. Mouser said, because the issue would involve amending an ordinance, there should be two public hearings.

In other news, Council members voted 4-0, with Councilman John Green not present, to appoint Beth Longo, who is the family court judge of Barbour County, to the Philippi Public Library Board. Longo will serve through June

30, 2019.

Longo will fill a vacancy left with the expired term of Elma Bennett, whose term expired June 30 and who did not wish

to seek reappointment, Weaver said.

Additionally, members voted to approve a $425,056.86 draw down request for the Philippi Waste Water Treatment Plant Project for the engineers who are working on the new sewer plant.