The Times West Virginian

April 29, 2014

Monongah council to demolish old jail

By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian

MONONGAH — The Town of Monongah plans to tear down the old jail on Lyndon Avenue.

During its meeting Monday night, town council passed a motion by a 4-to-1 vote to demolish this structure, which was formerly used for storage but has fallen into disrepair. Council members Bill McCombs, Bertha Wilson, Charlie Parker and Sanford Carr voted in favor of the recommendation, and Warren Sloan voted against it.

Sloan felt that the structure should be saved because it is one of the oldest buildings in town and has historical value. He suggested that maybe council could look into funding options for fixing up the old jail.

Carr commented that he thought repairing the building would cost too much money, and he’s afraid someone is going to get hurt there. He said the old jailhouse is dangerous and needs condemned because of the brick that is falling down and the unstable garage door, and the outside frame of the building is bad shape overall.

Plus, Monongah has been trying to address the issue of dilapidated properties in town, and needs to take action against its own blighted buildings, Carr said.

Also at the meeting, council discussed updating its flood plain ordinance to change a section related to the designation of a flood plain administrator.

Mayor Greg Vandetta said he found out that Monongah had a floodplain issue to handle that required an administrator, but the town didn’t have someone serving in that role. As the Marion County floodplain coordinator, Mike Kraley will be Monongah’s flood plain administrator and also deal with issues in towns across the county.

Council held the first reading of the amendment to the ordinance to reflect this change, and will do the second reading at its next meeting.

In addition, Monongah is trying to hire a full-time water plant operator and recently held interviews.

During Monday’s meeting, council discussed the rate of pay and the setup of the work hours. The members passed a motion to amend the employee rules accordingly.

The water plant currently has one full-time and three part-time workers. This new employee would help save the town a lot of overtime hours, Vandetta said.

In other news:

• Family Dollar will soon be coming to Monongah.

Vandetta said the store will be located on Route 19 at the site of the old Huntington Bank building. Within a month, residents should start to see demolition work and other site work to make way for the new Family Dollar.

• Council members gave the approval for the town to begin using a purchasing card, or P-Card, in its sewer department. Monongah will later look into adding the town’s two other departments.

Government entities across the state use P-Cards as credit cards to pay their bills and can earn rebate points based on their amount of spending. Any rebates go back into the user’s general fund.

• Council addressed the town’s attempts to collect delinquent payments on water service by sending letters or making phone calls to individuals. They talked about what dollar amount for unpaid bills should warrant taking people to magistrate court to further pursue the money owed to Monongah.

The members decided that a $100 delinquent payment should be the minimum for the town to proceed to magistrate court.

• Monongah is considering buying a scanning device so it can start accepting credit and debit card payments from residents who have fines. Customers who want to pay using this method would be charged a $3 fee per transaction by the company offering the service.

The town will also look into a second option for a company that provides scanners at its next meeting.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.