The District 6 city council race will be the only one to not feature an incumbent next week.

Councilman D’Andrea Bussey’s second term will expire this year, and those vying to be the new representative are Dora Kay Grubb, Patrick F. Roche and Daniel K. Weber.

There are a total of four openings this year in Districts 2, 4, 6, and 7 with only District 6 not featuring an incumbent.

The election will be held on Nov. 4 in conjunction with the general election, and there are 12 total candidates who filed for the open seats. Everyone who lives within Fairmont city limits is eligible to vote for all districts in the election.

Earlier this month, all of the hopefuls were mailed a questionnaire with three questions to respond to. Their responses to these questions as well as a brief background about each candidate are being printed in daily stories for four days. This is the third story in that series. And in the 6th District, Roche and Weber did not return questionnaires to the Times West Virginian.

District 6 is on the city’s West Side and includes Virginia Avenue to Hillcrest Road and from Fairmont State University to Field Street. Other streets in this district include View Avenue, College Park, a portion of Locust Avenue, Oliver Avenue and the area from Fifth Street to Seventh Street.

The candidate who receives the highest number of votes next week will represent the 6th District for the next four years.



Name: Dora Kay Grubb

Address: 510 Mt. Vernon Ave.

Background information: A native West Virginian raised in Fairmont. Both sides of family date back to the 1700s. A direct descendent of Morgan Morgan, and forefathers were active in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the formation of the state, World War I, and World War II. Attended Butcher Junior High School and Fairmont Senior High School as an honor student. Graduated from Fairmont State College with a degree in psychology and attended West Virginia University’s master of social work program. For 33 years was employed by the Department of Human Services as a Child Protective Services worker. A regional adoption worker and a supervisor for Clay County and a homefinding supervisor for six counties. During employment worked with the court system, writing and monitoring of grants, on committees to introduce bills to the Legislature and helped write statewide training programs and statewide policy in Charleston. When retired four years ago, bought a home in Fairmont and returned to roots.

Clubs, groups, commissions or boards: President of the Marion County Historical Society Inc., member of the church council of the Central United Methodist Church, member of the Woman’s Club, Secretary of the Morning Garden Club and a gold lifemaster with the American Contract Bridge League and a certified duplicate bridge director.

Do you think the City of Fairmont should create a utilities board — which includes water, sewer and stormwater utilities — to eliminate the practice of robbing the general fund to support these utilities?

I discussed this issue with a prominent former employee of the West Virginia Public Service Commission. He confirmed my belief that a separate and independent utility board should be created. The board should consist of three to five members with one member from the business community, one member from the academic community and one member from the public at large.

It would be optional as to whether a member of the city council serve on the board. However, the chair should be decided by the utilities board. The board members should have specific terms which would initially be of different duration so that terms are staggered with a position ending every two years. The membership of the board should be subject to approval by city council, but once approved the board should have full autonomy in the management of the utilities operation. This autonomy would include making the recommendations to the city council with regards to rates.

However, consistent with West Virginia law, the ultimate decision for the initial establishment of rates is within the jurisdiction of city council.

How can the city start a regular, well-funded street paving program?

Street paving and maintenance of the streets of Fairmont should be the first priority of the city council. New projects should only be started when there is a surplus or conformation of outside funding.

The present condition of our streets is a deterrent to people and businesses that are considering moving to this area. The first step would be to identify the problems in each district and develop a long-term plan for paving based on priority needs of each street within the limits of the budget.

What kind of funding sources can the city tap to address the significant issue of dilapidated houses in Fairmont?

The current ordinances and laws do not adequately address dilapidated houses and neglect of vacant properties by absentee landlords.

The city council needs to take a good look at the present situation and explore the possibility of more effective ordinances and work with legislative representatives to initiate state laws to rectify this situation which is not a statewide problem.

The persons owning the building(s) should be held both responsible and financially accountable. This issue is not an easy one to solve. One would be to investigate the possibility of HUD money. Another would be to explore a low-interest rate loan if the money is not available in the city’s budget. Perhaps one future idea would be that the property where dilapidated, vacant building is sitting would be given to a person or developer if they would tear down the building within 30 days.

It would be interesting to see how other states successfully address this problem. I have read where box credits could be given to people who would buy a dilapidated building for a memorial pride and restore it within a certain time period. The original assessment would remain in effect for five to 10 years instead of punishing someone for restoration of a property. This, of course, would need to be entered into a partnership agreement with the Marion County Commission.

E-mail Mallory Panuska at mpanuska@timeswv.com.

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