Philippi City Council considers new fee

PHILIPPI – Philippi City Council voted Tuesday to pass on its first reading an ordinance that will tack an extra $50 fee onto traffic violations to raise money for the police department.

Mayor Jerry Mouser said the new law would help offset the high costs of police equipment and training.

“This sets aside a cost on traffic offenses that is earmarked for police training and equipment,” he said at Tuesday’s meeting. “Police equipment is very expensive. There are very few suppliers and they can charge what they want.”

He said the ordinance is similar to ordinances already in place in the cities of Buckhannon and Elkins. City Manager Karen Weaver said the $50 fee will be listed as a court cost on all tickets handled by Philippi Municipal Court. She said anyone who is found guilty or pleads guilty to a traffic violation, excluding parking tickets, would have to pay the fee.

Councilwoman Barbara Bryan made a motion to pass the measure, which was seconded by Councilman Jeff Allen. The ordinance passed unanimously and will need to pass a second reading before it goes into effect.

Council also heard a brief presentation from Lara Foster, Alderson Broaddus University’s interim assistant professor of sport management. She told Council that students in the program will need to complete internships to be eligible for graduation.

“One of my ideas is to use my classes in the fall to get interns ready to work with the city of Philippi,” Foster said.

She said she recently learned the city parted ways with its youth activities director and the interns could be used to fill that void. She said the students could use the internship to plan events and assist with the city basketball leagues and other activities.

“Help the students get out of the classroom,” she said to Council. “The city of Philippi can help them and the students can help the city.”

Mouser told Foster to meet with Weaver to get the program started.

In other City Council action:

Council approved draw down No. 14 for the city’s waste water project. Weaver said the $463,904.53 will be used to pay bills to the Breckenridge Corporation, Burgess & Niple and Region 7, and to reimburse the city for legal fees associated with project.

Council passed a measure that will make changes to the Philippi Historic Landmarks Commission. Mouser said the changes were requested by the Commission. He said the city already declined the group’s recommendations of allowing non-Philippi residents to serve as voting members of the Commission and giving the group the ability to sign off on all building permits.

“We don’t have any other board who has non-residents except the sanitary board,” Mouser said. “It has to have one member that has to be an engineer and there may not be one living in the city.”

Council approved changing the stipulations that were used to select voting members of the board. The current bylaws say members have to be appointed from the Philippi Historical Society, the Preservation Committee and the Barbour County Chamber of Commerce. The committee wanted the change because they claimed the Preservation Committee and Historical Society were not active.

Councilman Ed Larry said the historical society is very active and recently hosted one of it’s bi-annual meetings. He said the group also runs the Philippi Museum and it is doing very well. He said the museum is preparing to award a $1,000 scholarship at Philip Barbour High School from revenue raised at the museum.

Allen made a motion to accept eliminating the requirements of board members being from the specific organizations. The measure was seconded by Councilman Terrence Boyd and passed unanimously.