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Elkins City Council virtual meeting set

ELKINS — The City of Elkins is set to host another virtual City Council meeting via Zoom this evening after reopening City Hall to the public on Monday.

Upon reopening City Hall, residents were asked to observe the capacity limit of two customers in the lobby and are encouraged to wear face coverings when entering areas of the building that are not separated by plexiglass shields.

“We did reopen City Hall on Monday under modified procedures to keep the public and city staff as safe as possible from coronavirus infection risk,” said Sutton Stokes, the city’s external affairs specialist. “Those precautions include things like requesting that people minimize how many customers are in the lobby.

“As I understand it, not everyone is necessarily waiting until there can just be two people in the lobby, so we would ask for more attention to that guidance. Other than that, it looks like the new procedures are working reasonably well and we’re really glad as many people are helping comply with those as possible.”

“We haven’t had any major issues,” said Treasurer Tracy Judy. “The majority of customers are wearing face masks and have been understanding. We continue to encourage the public to use the dropbox (behind City Hall), pay online or by mail.”

Despite the reopening of the building and the lightened restrictions from Gov. Jim Justice, the City of Elkins has decided to keep Council meetings on a virtual platform for the time being.

“They’re definitely looking at the possibility of returning to physical meetings from every angle possible,” said Stokes. “The issue with council meetings is that, just simply because of the size of council and the number of staff members that also have to be present for each meeting, it’s still a challenge to come up with seating where there would be six feet of distance between people. It’s still a little up in the air about what the best approach would be for that.”

Tonight’s virtual City Council meeting will address the full-time appointment of Stokes, as well as executive secretary Chelsey Boggs, in addition to budget adjustments and a transfer of property to the Randolph County Development Authority.

The 11th Street property, formerly the location of the Elkins Street Department, is being transferred to the RCDA “to make it simpler for the Development Authority to then sell,” said Stokes.

Robbie Morris, executive director for the RCDA, told The Inter-Mountain there are no current plans for the property once it has been acquired.

“We’re not doing anything with it at the moment. It will just make it easier and better for the Development Authority to market that for commercial purposes,” Morris said. “(We) are not only the Development Authority for the county but for the city as well. We’ve been in discussions with the city about different uses for that property and trying to get a commercial entity in there, so they’re transferring that to us so we can market and sell it.”

“It’s a prime piece of property and the city has wanted to sell it but they don’t really have the staff or the expertise to market it and sell it the way that I think they would like, so that’s why we’re here,” Morris said.

Log-in information for tonight’s 7 p.m. City Council virtual meeting can be found on cityofelkinswv.com/login.

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