Fire department roof is focus of council meeting

Published 12:27 pm Thursday, November 9, 2017

CACC donates to village parks fund, fire department

CHESAPEAKE — The need to repair the roof of the Chesapeake-Union Volunteer Fire Department building dominated the meeting of Chesapeake’s village council on Monday.

The village had originally been given an $11,000 bid from a contractor in the summer, Mayor Tommy Templeton said.

Fire Chief Frank Meehling said the department had purchased new doors and windows, with the renovations expected to begin, as well as had made changes of to the electrical system to accommodate the new roof.

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But Templeton said plans had hit a snag.

“We’ve been wanting to do this this and got the ball rolling this summer,” he said. “But (the contractor) came and measured things and it changed.”

He said the bid had now been doubled to $22,000.

The meeting had a lengthy discussion, as those present discussed ways to fund the repairs, with some proposing seeking a loan or collecting donations.

Templeton said the Union Township Trustees had agreed to pay half of the initial repair costs and that he would attempt to set up a meeting between the trustees and council to discuss options.

Templeton said they would need to move soon, with approaching winter making work more difficult.

At the beginning of the meeting, Dick Gilpin, president of the Chesapeake Area Citizens Coalition, presented the council with a donation of $500 to the village’s park fund.

Gilpin said the donation from the group came from money raised by CACC’s annual Octoberfest and that the parks fund helps to pay for some costs at the group’s annual Christmas tree lighting. This year’s holiday event is set for 6 p.m. Nov. 30 in Triangle Park.

Gilpin said CACC had also presented the village with an additional check two weeks ago, in the amount of $500, to go toward the fire department.

Council member Paul Hart, who has been independently advocating donations to the department, followed CACC’s lead and gave the department a check for $501.

“I don’t want to be outdone by Dick Gilpin,” Hart joked of the additional dollar in his donation.

The fire department was another topic of discussion. Meehling and firefighter Joey McMaster recently completed training from the state fire marshal’s office, which would allow them to serve as enforcement officers, citing violations of “fire and safety.”

The council initially was going to vote to put them on duty as officers and swear them in, however Templeton said he wanted to get a legal opinion from the village solicitor first. As he pointed out, due to the training being through the state fire marshal, it may not be necessary to swear them in.

Instead, the council voted 5-0 to accept the training.

In other business, the council:

• Voted 5-0 to pass the village’s budget for the coming year.

• Voted 5-0 to retroactively hire Michael Vaden as a part-time police officer. Templeton said Vaden has previously worked in Chesapeake and now works in Proctorville.

Gilpin, the former mayor, offered his testimony on Vaden’s time in the village.

“He’s a good officer,” Gilpin said.

• Voted 4-1 to rescind the property maintenance ordinance passed earlier this year by council. Templeton said changes would have to be made for “housekeeping” and auditing purposes and it would have to be passed again.

“I fully intend to do it before the end of December or beginning of January,” he said.

Hart voted in opposition.

• Heard from Gilpin, who said he had recently spoken with Stephen Dale Burcham of the county’s land bank, who informed him that several properties in the village were due to be torn down in the coming week, including the Curry property, located on Rockwood, which has long been sought for demolition by the mayor and council.

• Heard from Templeton, who said the village had spent $250 for a new cooling fan and wheel for a police cruiser.

• The issue of the need for lights on the Robert C. Byrd Memorial Bridge, connecting Chesapeake to Huntington, has been resolved. Hart said new lights have been installed, thanks to the work of Raymond Eplin of the West Virginia Department of Highways, which oversees the bridge.

Council member Bill Duncan and clerk-treasurer Peggy Houston were absent from Monday’s meeting.