Town Council asked to vacate part of Liberty St.
St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church asked the Bath Town Council at their January 16 meeting to abandon a section of Liberty Street near the church.
Attorney Bill Harmison, representing the church, presented a draft ordinance to the council. If they agree, the town would abandon ownership of 3,781 sq. ft. of an unpaved portion of Liberty Street.
Liberty Street, east of Washington Street, runs between Citizens National Bank and St. Vincent de Paul. The street is only paved up to the church entrance. Beyond that point, Liberty Street is simply a steep, grassy slope up to Mercer Street. The access from Mercer Street is blocked by metal posts.
Liberty Street has not been extended beyond the paved portion because the slope is too steep for vehicle traffic.
"I bring my kids there to ride sleds when it snows," said Frank Subasic, who was also at the council meeting representing the church.
If the town abandons the property, ownership is ceded to the adjacent property owners, St. Vincent de Paul and Citizens National Bank. Harmison said the bank has no interest in the property.
Asked by council what the church planned to do with the property, Harmison said there are no specific plans at this point.
Before the ordinance can be enacted, council must schedule two readings of the ordinance and a public hearing. A public notice must be posted in the newspaper five days before the hearing. Harmison also presented council with a draft public notice.
Council decided to have the first reading at the February 5 meeting. The second reading and a public hearing will be held on February 20. Public notice of the hearing will be published in the February 14 edition of The Morgan Messenger.
Randy Watson, of Thrasher Engineering gave council an update on the water line replacement project. To date, 7,555 ft. of pipe has been installed of the planned 17,658 ft. Some 82 new water meters have been installed with 51 of them in service.
The main line is completed on Wilkes Street, Mill Street, Independence and Congress streets between Wilkes Street and U.S. 522, and Fairfax
Street from Wilkes to Mercer. The line has also been extended to War Memorial Hospital. Most work on U.S. 522 is complete.
Work will now proceed from Fairfax Street south on Mercer to Rt. 9.
Police Chief Jim Minton said that he has received all the signs necessary to make Mercer Street one way between Fairfax Street and Rt. 9, but will delay installing the signs until water project work on the street is complete.
Watson said the pace of work has picked up because of the addition of a second work crew. Contractor Cowgirl Up is working on paving repairs when the weather cooperates and batch plants have asphalt mix available.
He also warned citizens to be vigilant in watching their hot water heaters. As recently reported, pressure might build up because the new water system no longer allows backflow from hot water heaters into the main line.
Mayor Susan Webster expressed concern about pumps failing at the Water Works. Two pumps failed between Christmas Eve and January 2. The pumps are only several years old and should last 10 to 12 years.
Watson said he and Water Works Manager Kevin Hancock are speaking to the manufacturer about the failures.
Councilman David Crosby mentioned that the financial
situation at the Water Works is not good due to the extra expense of pump repairs. He said many people have skipped out of paying their last quarterly water bills, adding to the problem.
Two suggestions were to bill monthly instead of quarterly and require a larger security deposit for new customers.
Town Recorder Garnet Marsh attended the Farmers Market Planning Committee meeting. The market is considering several locations for the upcoming season. These include Fairfax Street, east of Washington Street; Fairfax Street, west of Washington Street; and Independence Street between Hunters Hardware and the Ice House.
The location that is chosen will be blocked off to vehicle traffic on Sundays while the market is open.
"The town is in reasonable financial shape and should finish the year in good shape," said Finance Committee Chairman David Crosby.
Department budgets are due January 31. The deadline for applications for hotel/motel tax funds is February 15.
Chairman Kenny Easton said the Christmas trees collected by the town are being placed in the field above the Health Department. Once all the trees are collected, they will be burned by the Fire Department.
Easton said the committee will look into other solutions for disposal of the trees before next year.
Garnet Marsh, who chairs the Grant Committee, said the Streetscape Committee wants to give council an update at the February 5 meeting.
Marsh also reported that the West Virginia University Design Group's report will be delayed four to six weeks.
Councilperson Nancy Harvey, who oversees the Historic Preservation grant, reported that 150 historical properties have been surveyed in town. A report will soon be submitted to the state.
Keith Dick of Berkeley Realty Group asked council to approve a building permit for a real estate display case to be constructed on the Kent Street side of their building, near the corner of Kent and North Washington streets.
Council approved the permit.