Braxton Citizens' News, Community, Town Meeting

Gassaway Council meets

The meeting of the Gassaway Town Council was called to order at 6:00 PM on December 15 by Mayor Richie Roach.

Those present in addition to Mayor Roach, were Chief Of Police Aaron James, Recorder Lane Jack, Clerk Sherry Rader, Engineer Tom Brown and council members-Alan Boggs, Lynn Jeffries, Jim Criner, Cathy Shuman.

Previous minutes and updated financials were not available due to a recent turnover in the recorder’s office and the clerk’s position.

Under the topic of Citizens remarks: Kyre-Anna Minney thanked the council, the town, the fire department, and the police for their support. Additional safety measures have been implemented to help ensure security at the school. Recent Davis Elementary activities include a partnership with Gassaway library. ReadWV will allow volunteers to read to the children. Anyone interested should contact Clarice Burns at the library, 304-364-8292. Also, the Dairy Queen owner visited the school with coupons for students. Reva Lee at Hart’s donated a sled for the student winning the best coloring contest. Cathy Shuman is on the local School Improvement Council. The school would like to find a place to display some of the kids’ pictures. Piccadilly provided bookmarks to students. Walking field trips to the library continue.

Mayor Roach reported a great turnout for the Christmas parade.

Tom Brown, engineer, reported that several entities will be addressing the watershed/sewer problems. Rodney Pritt with Flatwoods Canoe Run is working on the sinkholes. The Department of Highways will address five or six areas to clean and repair. The depot sink hole will be repaired between Christmas and new year. Also, Region VII will be researching funding for these problems. The watershed/sewer overflow has been an issue for a long time and will be an expensive long-term project.

Flatwoods Canoe Run helped unblock drainpipes below Leona’s Diner. FCR and their engineers, E L Robinson, will be conducting smoke tests on water/sewer drains at a cost to the city not to exceed $40,000. Another $35,000 of American Rescue Funds will be dedicated to FRC to assist with flooding problems.

Engineer Brown has contacted the Department of Highways’, Gary Freedman, who is to prepare a plan of action. No response as yet. Questions followed about the smoke test and it’s affect and safety on homes. Per Brown homes should have traps on sewer lines per a rule from the 70s. Any town which has received federal funds has signed an agreement that all roof drains are not part of the sewer system. Much discussion followed concerning the many problems with the local storm drains and sewer connections. The fire department asked that they be notified when repairs are made.

The motion to begin repairs and testing up to a cost up to $75,000 was made by Alan Boggs with a second by Lynn Jeffries. Unanimously approved. Jim Criner asked about responsibilities and who will pay cost of changes if necessary. Mary Dobbins reported flooding on her property. 

Proper repair of watershed/sewer drainage will require cooperation between many parties, proper engineering, planning, securing grants and matching funds.

Mayor Roach states Braxton and Lee Street are too crowded for the snowplow or the fire engine to pass. Parking is a problem to be resolved.

Clerk Sherry Rader reported that due to personnel issues financials are not available and that deposits have not been made nor bills paid for the last three months.

The clerk read a letter from Brent Boggs stating that he had requested $10,000 in funds for Gassaway planning and development of the Kanawha Street, Catholic Hill Park. A response is expected in 2023.

Sherri Jack asked about the feral cats in town. The mayor asked that be added to next month’s agenda. He will ask Sally Stewart to attend.

Police chief Aaron James stated that Rodney Jacobson, court judge and his clerk are in position to serve the town.

Lynn Jeffries thanked all who contacted Kroger and Senator Manchin to save the local store.

Because of the emergency need for a Recorder, Lane Jack had been sworn in by Judge Facemire. Richie asked that Lane be approved as recorder. Alan Boggs made the motion and Jim Criner second. All approved. Richie has also hired Sherry Rader to serve as Clerk.

The new Town Clerk has been working to bring the town office up to date. She was asked to research computer equipment and costs and report at the next meeting.

The fire department reported several training classes-Firefighter 1, Road Rescue and Swift Water Dive classes. The department is getting more training and has also secured a German shepherd puppy to train for search and rescue. The fire department Christmas party is set for Monday, December 19 at 6:30. There will be toys and food.

The meeting adjourned at 7:25 and administration then went into an executive session.