Questions arose after the Weston City Council meeting Monday, July 6, when an executive session was called prior to a vote on placing a stop sign at the intersection of Center Avenue and Fifth Street.
Council went into the executive session at request of Councilman John Wyllie ahead of the scheduled vote on the topic. Council gave no reason for the executive session prior to going into the session as is required by the Open Meetings Act. Council did site personnel issues as the reason for the session upon coming out of executive session.
Councilman Justin Roy, who was running the meeting in the Mayor Julia Spelsberg’s absence, opened the floor for motions on the measure. No motion was made, and the measure failed due to lack of a motion to approve.
The West Virginia Ethics Commission website states that governing bodies my go into executive sessions for any reasons set forth in the Open Meeting Act and lists common allowable reasons for executive sessions including personnel matters, pending litigation, matter involving the purchase, sale, or lease of property.
City Finance manager Dodie Arbogast read the resolution which will allow the annexation application to be submitted to the Lewis County Commission for approval. The resolution states that Weston will seek to annex 64 parcels of land with direct totaling 156.27 acres along US Highway 33. The measure was unanimously approved.
Street Department Head Jacob Culver noted that paving work contracted to the J.F. Allen company was now set to begin on Wednesday, Aug. 8. Culver said the paving was originally set to begin last week, but was pushed back because weather issues had pushed back projects that the company was currently working on. Culver noted that the paving would begin on a portion of Mid Avenue in Shadybrook, and continue on to Brown Avenue, and South River Avenue in front of the Trans-Alleghney Lunatic Asylum.
“It should be a two day process. In and out in two days,” Culver said.
Culver also noted that he would be working with City Manager Kristen Droppleman, who was not present at the meeting, City Building Inspector Bryan Reed, and Parking Enforcement Officer Malissa Henline to inform residents on those streets effected about parking as they cannot park on the street for several hours after paving is complete.
Council heard from Weston resident Junior Kelly during the open forum portion of the meeting. Kelly gave population statistics for Weston from 1930, 1980, and 2016 noting the decline in Weston’s population. Kelly also predicted a fall to 3500 in coming years. Kelly recalled previously telling council that Weston was a dying city, and noted a need for more activities for residents. He went on to say that he had hopes that perhaps TALA could put in a movie theater, bowling alley, or skating rink.
Kelly went on to talk about what he said was a lack of work being done by the city citing pot holes around Weston as well as started but never finished curb painting. Kelly stated that he felt that the problem with the Street Department stemmed form a lack of equipment noting the Weston used to have blacktopping equipment and its own dump truck. Kelly continued saying that he felt that with equipment of this nature that Weston could do paving and street repair work for half the price being paid to outside firms such as J.F. Allen.
“I don’t know what your thoughts are on that, because I can’t read minds,” Kelly said.
Kelly was informed by Weston Police Chief Josh Thomas that his allotted time had expired and warned council that they could lose home rule for limiting the speaking time of citizens as he yielded the floor.