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Kanawha Oath of Office

Ahead of the Kanawha City Council's official meeting business Tuesday, Dec. 12, Judy Vander Ploeg, Shirley Baker and Tammy Countryman were sworn in as council members. The three women were elected during the Nov. 7 election. Vander Ploeg and Baker are incumbents and Countryman is a newcomer.

KANAWHA | Property owners in Kanawha may be asked to pay more for utilities each month to assist the city in funding storm sewer projects.

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, Kanawha Mayor Nancy Litch suggested the city consider implementing a storm sewer fee to help fund projects with hefty price tags that have piled up over the years.

“What we want is to have a fund so that we can regularly do ... storm sewer projects,” she said. “There are whole areas of our storm sewer that don’t even work anymore just because we’re ignoring them.”

Councilman Ray Bassett said he didn’t think it was fair to say the city is ignoring them, but rather had limited resources to address the issues through the general fund and road use tax.

“It doesn’t take long to spend money on roads,” he said.

David Spangler, Kanawha Public Works superintendent, told the city council the storm sewer system should be treated like other utilities with fees, like sanitary sewer, for maintenance.

Litch said the city of Garner had a storm sewer rate for its residential and commercial properties.

“I’d like to keep it as simple as possible,” she said. “I would just have it a flat fee whether business or not ... We’ve never had something like that.”

A monthly fee of $3.50 for property owners was suggested, but discussion about whether residential and commercial properties should be fined differently led to the council delaying action on the item.

At that rate, the city would collect more than $1,100 a month and $13,600 a year to use for storm sewer project, which Bassett said “not much can be done” with that amount.

Councilwoman Shirley Baker said it would allow the city to do one small thing, and over time, those small things would add up.

“If we do project every year and keep after it, you know, then we can really start improving the city,” Litch said. “I like to think of the city growing and maybe bringing some new businesses in, and they’re not going to want to see that we just kind of go around putting out fires all the time.”

Bassett said the city, if it decides to impose a fee, would have to establish an ordinance and hold public hearings for residents to speak on the issue before it’s put in place.

The council plans on having the item on its January council agenda for additional discussion.

Also during the Dec. 12 meeting:

  • A resident raised concerns about the number of vehicles sitting in several yards throughout the city, and requested the city council consider establishing an ordinance for such things.
  • The city council approved the purchase of a snow blower for the city’s tractor for $3,750.
  • The city council approved the K & W Coating quote for the repainting of the city water tower for $24,400. The item is budgeted for 2018.
  • The city council set a special meeting for Thursday, Dec. 14, to approve the Visu-Sewer proposal to line 1,667 linear feet of eight-inch national liner in certain areas of Main Street for $39,591.25, which is about $20,000 less than the public works supervisor anticipated. The council unanimously approved the item at the special meeting. It’s a budget item for 2018.

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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