Council OKs contract changes for water plant

ELKINS — Elkins City Council unanimously approved two change orders regarding the municipality’s $37 million water plant project.

The first measure, resolution 1066, allows Triton Construction Inc., of St. Albans, 42 additional days for completion of the project because of weather delays and delays at the raw intake due to the existing sewer.

With the delay, the completion date is projected for Nov. 27, changing from Oct. 16.

No change in the $21,010,409.54 contract price is noted due to the extension.

Resolution 1067, the second water project issue voted on during the meeting last week, was for a decrease in fee of $104,739.86 from Pro Contracting Inc. of Lost Creek.

Melody Himes, city of Elkins operations assistant, explained to council members that the project is progressing well and could be pumping water by the end of the year.

“Things are really moving along. It’s amazing, if you haven’t seen it. It just seems like everything is really coming together nicely,” Price said during the meeting. “We anticipate producing water in December at the new plant.”

Water from the new hill-top plant, which will be capable of producing 4,000 gallons per minute, will be distributed via a gravity-fed system, running downhill.

The city also is placing a new generator at the raw water intake site, which means water service will continue even during a power outage.

City of Elkins water customers’ bills due Dec. 19 will feature significant rate increases as a result of the upgrades.

Under the new rates, the cost for customers’ first 2,000 gallons will rise from $10 to $15.25 per 1,000 gallons, a 52.5 percent increase, and the cost for customers’ next 3,000 gallons will rise from $5.49 to $8.50 per 1,000 gallons, a 54.83 percent increase.

The increase is to help the city make the almost $116,000 monthly payments through 2055 to pay for the new plant.

This rate increase is the second of two approved by Elkins City Council in 2015. The first increase, which went into effect in 2015, covering the increased cost of ongoing operations. This new increase was a loan condition imposed by the project’s funders, city officials said.

In other business:

∫ Council unanimously approved amending city code chapter eight, article II of the fire prevention code, which adds “burning within the city limits of grass from lawns, leaves and wood and papers will be permitted with an approved container on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of each week. Burning shall be permitted between the hours of 5:00 p.m. (sic) and 7:00 a.m. (sic). All burning shall be only with a written permit. Permits to be issued by the city of Elkins fire chief or his designated representatives.”

This was the second and final reading of the amendment.

∫ Council unanimously approved the return of and authorized reimbursement for two surplus police department vehicles to the town of Beverly.

∫ Council unanimously approved the authorization of a renewal of line of credit with Mountain Valley Bank to fund demolition projects on dilapidated and abandoned projects within the city.

The passage of the resolution will allow for a $25,000 line of credit with Mountain Valley Bank for the purpose of a demolition once the bid has been accepted and all criteria have been met procedurally to proceed on a demolition project.

∫ Council unanimously approved the promotion of Elkins Police Department officers M.J. Sigley and G.L. Brown from corporal to sergeant. Members of the council also approved a new compensation for Sigley and Brown of $16.60 per hour.

Council members also approved amending and implementing policy concerning supplemental longevity pay for police officers. Rates are $3,000 for one to five years of service completed, $3,500 for six to 10 years of service completed, $4,000 for 11 to 15 years of service completed, $4,500 for 16 to 20 years of service completed and $5,000 for 21 to 30 years of service completed.

“Officers with more than 30 years of service shall remain eligible to receive a supplemental payment; however, the amount of the payment shall be capped at the amount paid to officers 21-30 years of service,” according to the resolution.

Council unanimously approved a partial termination of deed covenant and partial surrender of reversionary interest for 911 center property.

∫ Elkins Police Chief Glenn Galloway announced EPD has received a $17,000 grant from West Virginia Homeland Security for equipment, has hired a new officer who will begin on Nov. 1 and has become involved with the Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

“Just recently we got the Elkins Police Department joined into the local drug task force,” Galloway said. “Myself and (Special Investigator) J.C. (Raffety) have been going to some of those meetings here recently and we’ve become a member of that outfit. Surprisingly we haven’t been a member of that outfit for some reason.”

Councilpersons in attendance for the meeting included First Ward Councilman Rob Chenoweth, Second Ward Councilman Charles Friddle, Fourth Ward Councilwoman Marly Hazen, Fourth Ward Councilwoman Marylinn Counzo, Fifth Ward Councilman David Parker, Fifth Ward Councilwoman Linda Vest, Second Ward Councilman Gene Ochsendorf and Third Ward Councilman Carmen Metheny.

First Ward Councilman Bob Woolwine and Third Ward Councilman Christopher Lowther were unable to attend.