By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Rob Burns, Cultural Coordinator for the Tucker County Cultural District Authority attended the most recent meeting of the Davis Town Council to showcase wayfinding signs that will help guide visitors of the area to the town’s attractions. Within one of the grants the TCCDA received, it was decided that branding was one of the projects they wanted to take on within the communities of the county. “We have about $5,000 that we can grant to you if you guys wanted to do some sort of wayfinding signs as well as a brochure for the town of Davis,” said Burns.
A mock up for the City of Parsons was displayed to give the council an idea of what the signs would look like. The branding and logo for the town has been complete, but these would serve as a directional resource. Discussion commenced on how to intertwine the initiatives between the town goals, Mon Forest Towns Initiative, as well as the wayfinding signs to spread throughout the town. Different options and styles are possible to choose from, which will be sent to Recorder Andy Snyder to share with the council. Coordination between the municipalities, Mon Forest Towns Initiatives, and the TCCDA will take place to determine where each sign will be placed.
In 2010, new garbage rates were set for the residents and commercial property owners within the town, requiring residents to pay $9.50 per month for one pickup per week with a limit of six, 30 gallon bags. As of July 1, the Tucker County Landfill raised their tonnage rates by $5.80, which took the former rate of $47.50 per ton up to $53.30. “The town cannot handle all of that,” stated Martin. “On the commercial side it’s fine what they are paying,” he added. After evaluating the costs and fees, it was determined that the fee for residents needs to be increased by $2 per month, making their total cost $11.50. A new ordinance will be developed and presented to the council where it will appear on the agenda for public comment for at least two meetings. Once it is passed, the new rate will go into effect.
Martin wanted to make the residents aware that this increase is solely due to the increase at the landfill and has nothing to do with the new garbage truck coming to the town.
“The loan is already taken care of on the garbage truck that’s coming, it has nothing to do with that,” he reiterated. Councilwoman Cindy Robeson suggested that a notice be placed on the next water bills that this increase is coming so to give residents warning.
In 1979, an ordinance was passed that required residents of Davis to keep their lawn and vegetation to a height under one foot. At the time it surpassed that limit, the property owner would be required to pay to have the town employees cut their grass. Mayor Doug Martin felt this ordinance needed to be revisited as 12 inches of grass is excessive, which can lead to issues with snakes and other nuisance species. His recommendation is to change the maximum height to eight inches and if a town employee cuts the grass, the property owner will be responsible to pay twice their hourly wage for the time it takes to do so. To enforce the ordinance, letters and emails are being sent to property owners who are in default of this ordinance and given 10 days to comply.
Minutes were approved from the meeting on June 24 with a motion from Councilman Al Tomson and a second by Councilman John Felton. Martin provided accounts payable, the revenue fund budget, and budget revisions to council for acknowledgement. Within the budget revision, it was estimated on the income side at $10,460 with a revision to $8,413. Expenditures were estimated at $12,460 and revised to $10,413, both yielding about a $2,000 decrease. Within the unassigned fund balance, it was previously approved at the amount of $146,339 and revised for $143,519, just under $3,000 less. Tomson made a motion to accept the revisions and accept the budget with a second by Robeson. Councilman Terry Helmick made the motion to revise both ordinances with a second by Robeson.
Helmick provided a list of streets, alleys, and water work completed from June 21 through July 4 for review. Martin announced that one employee that has been off due to surgery has another doctor appointment in August, resulting in being off until at least that date. New flags have been received for the cemetery, but hardware is still needed. The Davis Parks are still closed and are planned to remain so.
Old business consisted of Tomson stating that there were no fireworks set off through the town limits on Sunday, however Friday there were, which is against town ordinance. The way the Fourth of July fell on the calendar this year, the only day fireworks were permitted to be discharged within Davis was Saturday. In 2021, the fourth falls on a Sunday and per the ordinance, fireworks can be shot both Saturday and Sunday. “What some people have trouble realizing is for seniors, veterans, and animals, the unpredictability of fireworks is problematic,” stated Tomson. Enforceability seems to be an issue with this ordinance because of several visitors not being aware of the ordinance. It was attempted for the business selling the fireworks to post signage around his tent making consumers aware of the ordinance, which he originally agreed to do. Unfortunately, his boss denied the request. Tomson suggested that next year, in order for the business to obtain their license to sell in Davis, it ought to be a condition prior to approval.
Additional notice and signage was discussed to help make people aware of the ordinance and a request for law enforcement to frequent the area. Earlier preparation is planned for 2021 to aid in this issue. “It’s not like we’re trying to stop fireworks from being shot off, what we’re trying to do is confine them to certain periods of time so if people have a problem with them they can get out of town, they can do whatever they need to do,” said Tomson.
A previous council had requested that all new, incoming business licenses and building permits be presented at a council meeting so they could have a chance to meet the new business owner and ask questions if need be. This has not been done in recent years, which Tomson requested to return to doing. Martin and the council agreed.
Tomson also announced to the council that the sewage feasibility study is no longer under the lead of the Tucker County Commission, but rather the Tucker County Development Authority per a request by Region VII. He announced that he is the Vice President of the TCDA and will be very involved in the process. The commission will remain involved in the project, just will not be taking the lead. Helmick asked, “So Lowell Moore isn’t going to be in charge?” which he was told that was correct.
Snyder stated that he received a quote for the requested sound system for the chamber hall, which came in about $1,000 more than anticipated. Additional quotes are being sought as well as the ability to order the equipment to do a self install.
Councilwoman Lisa Cousin brought up the issue with the odor returning from the landfill.
Martin stated the odor never stopped but Cousin said it did for a brief time. Martin reached out to Solid Waste Authority Diane Hinkle to express concern, however did not receive a return call. He also stated that the town was informed to ensure their garbage was covered when hauling into the landfill, and his response was, “We will cover our dumps when they cover their landfill.” Martin claims he was informed that the daily cover will not happen until the escrow money is received. He continued, “I tell you what’s going to happen, you’re going to get about 80 or 90 of these citizens here in Davis out there and they’re going to shut that landfill down.” Tomson stated that it was a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulation that there was a cover of dirt of six inches placed over the trash daily. Martin responded, “Since they started the open air cell to build that dump up 80 more feet, it hasn’t been covered yet.” Tomson stated that would be a complaint for the DEP.
A motion was then made to pay the bills prior to adjournment. The next meeting for the Davis Town Council will be Wednesday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m.