By Kelly Stadelman
For The Parsons Advocate
After receiving good news about the financial status of the garbage department, the Thomas City Council renewed a request for residents to become more involved via the upcoming city elections or by serving on a committee.
The City of Thomas will hold its municipal election on Tuesday, June 11. The open seats include the mayor, recorder, and three city council member seats.
“Two council seats are four-year terms, and one seat is a two-year term,” said Recorder Kimberly Trathen. “The candidate filing period runs through Saturday, January 27.”
Candidate applications are available at city hall. Additionally, city residents have until May 23 to register to vote at the county clerk’s office in Parsons.
“The city is also seeking poll workers for the election,” Trathen said. “If you are interested in being a poll worker, contact city hall. These are paid positions.”
The city continues to look for volunteers to serve on the Parks & Recreation, Cemetery, Mountaineer Days, Mon Forest, and New Historic Thomas committees. Serving on these committees allows residents to directly influence the development and maintenance of the city’s public spaces, cultural events, and historic preservation efforts.
“If you are interested, please contact city hall, 304-463-4360, or drop off a letter,” said Mayor Jody Flanagan.
During the January 9 regular council meeting, members reviewed a preliminary five-month profit loss report for the city’s garbage department. The city’s accountant, Mark Joseph, prepared a draft report for the time period July through November 2023.
“If you look at that total garbage revenue, we brought in $23,321.50,” Flanagan said. “This includes revenue generated from residential, commercial, and apartments during those five months.”
The total amount of the expenses for the same five-month time period is estimated at $16,403.93.
“So for the five months, we are $6,917.57 in the black,” Flanagan said. “We are making money on trash right now. I think we are doing pretty good charging residents $11.75 monthly for trash.”
The draft financial report indicates the city is making $16,600 in the garbage department annually.
Trathen said that she would like to hold off on any increases in the garbage rates due to residents incurring a higher fire protection fee starting July 1, 2024. Flanagan and other council members concurred that keeping the 2007 Garbage Ordinance rates the same might be a good idea.
“Maybe sometime in the future, we might revisit it,” Trathen said. “I would like to get the ordinance to Rob (the city’s attorney) just to get his opinion and see if we need to add anything.”
Josh Slone, business development manager of Sunrise Sanitation Services, could not attend the January city council meeting. He sent the Thomas City Council a letter reiterating his company’s interest in taking over the responsibility of trash pickup for city residents and businesses.
“We are happy to assist the city in any way we can,” Slone said in an interview after the meeting. “As mentioned at the December meeting, Sunrise Sanitation plans to keep the monthly rate the same. We guarantee the pricing will remain the same for a full year, and hopefully, we can continue the same price longer.”
Slone said he plans to attend the regular council meeting in February and answer any questions the mayor and council members may have.
In other business:
– Flanagan announced that the city still has additional funds available for homeowners who wish to improve their property by removing dilapidated structures. This grant, covering homes, garages, outbuildings, or sheds, not only takes care of the removal costs but also allows homeowners to retain ownership of the land, enhancing the value of their property.
“We are looking for property owners inside city limits who have a building on their property that they want to be removed,” Flanagan said. “If anyone has a structure or an
outbuilding they want to be removed, contact city hall.”
Flanagan has identified four additional dilapidated or abandoned structures for removal. Interested residents are urged to contact Thomas City Hall at 304-463-4360 or email email@example.com for further details.
The grant covers the cost of removal of the outbuildings and structures, with the property owner retaining ownership of the land. Before demolition, property owners must sign off on the project, allowing the city to tear down the structure(s).
– Flanagan said the city still needs to receive the list of officers for the Thomas Community Center Board. The city has already sent one letter to the Thomas Community Center Board asking for the slate of officers. It plans to send another letter.
– Trathen provided an update on the City of Thomas Planning Committee. She said that the West Virginia Law Clinic finished the final draft of this city’s comprehensive plan.
“We still need to choose a layout for the document,” she said. “At our next meeting, we’ll look at the potential designs and review the draft.”
The City of Thomas Planning meetings are open to the public, with the agenda posted at city hall three days prior.