I have been debating whether or not to write this letter. However, after reading a letter to the editor addressing the city of Elkins' council members, I felt the time was right.
I have been a council member for four years and to say the least, it has been a wonderful learning experience. At the time of my appointment, Rob Beckwith, Bob Woolwine, Hazel Burford, Tom Hensil, Bob Malcolm, Carmen Metheney, Nancy Bross-Fregonara, Jim Bibey and Danny Satterfield were the council members and Duke Talbott was mayor. I was scared, thrilled and amazed to be among people with such knowledge of the city of Elkins. All the members of this council were helpful and supportive in getting me started as a new council member in 2009.
The responsibility placed on a council member or a mayor can be daunting. As members of council, we are required to attend two council meetings a month, or more if a special session is called. In addition, each council member serves on three committees. These committees meet monthly or more often if there are budgets to finish or time sensitive projects to complete. Of course, we must educate ourselves about each of these issues and their effects.
Two years ago, changes came to council through retirement and new elections. Hazel Burford was replaced by Van Broughton, Bob Malcolm by Mark Scott, Rob Beckwith by Charles Kinnison and Danny Satterfield by Joe Sabatino. This new council has proven to be a dedicated group of people. While these positions are paid - very little relative to the amount of time invested - I have heard it said many times among my colleagues that their principal desire is to give back to their community.
Over time, council members get to know one another quite well. Each member brings to council a unique perspective. It is this unique quality that keeps our city government fair and balanced. As time has shown, funds that trickle down from the state or federal government have become limited. It is up to each municipality to be creative and frugal with revenue provided.
For example, the water plant project here in Elkins has taken years to plan and is a huge endeavor. Funding takes time to procure from sources that will be both stable and cost effective. Many meetings between the mayor, appropriate committees, city employees and project contractors have taken place to assure the completion of the water treatment plant. The provision of clean water to our citizens is of course fundamental.
To be part of a dynamic, working city government has been an amazing experience. I am glad I have had the opportunity to serve my community along with my fellow council members. I encourage you to attend any of our committee or council meetings which are always open to the public.