By Kelly Stadelman
For The Parsons Advocate
As the city of Thomas begins work on next year’s budget, city council members are reviewing each department’s needs while trying to help the Blackwater Ministerial Association Food Pantry find a permanent location.
Recorder Kimberly Trathen said she met with the city’s accountant earlier in the day to begin the budgeting process.
“We can discuss it right now, or in the next meeting, or a special,” Trathen said, noting the budget has to be completed by the end of March. “We need to go over the budget requests for each department.”
Mayor Jody Flanagan said the employees turned in estimated budgets for the water, sewer, public works, and city hall departments before the meeting.
“They did a good job and tried to be thorough,” Flanagan said.
After reviewing the department budgets, members made notes on each proposed budget, asking the employees to research equipment costs and add a wish list.
The city council also discussed the cost of getting the city’s compactor (garbage truck) up and running again. Flanagan said he wasn’t sure the compactor would start as it has been sitting for four years, and no one has tried to start it.
“I think it’s going to cost us more to fix it,” Flanagan said. “We would need to put $600 worth of batteries just to get it started, and then once you start it, it might be popping hoses and lines.”
The compactor was rebuilt prior to the city purchasing the truck. In addition to replacing the batteries, the truck will need new tires and the brake lines checked, Flanagan said.
“I would like to see them use the truck,” he said. “They may be able to pick up every bag of garbage in one trip.”
No decision was made, but council members agreed to discuss it further at the next meeting.
Also, during the Feb. 14 regular meeting, council member Erika Smith said that Diane Beall, a Blackwater Ministerial Association Food Pantry volunteer, approached her.
“The food pantry is still looking for a permanent location,” Smith said. “Diane asked if the Thomas Community Center had space in the downstairs area, in some of the old classrooms. They could pay up to $500 a month in rent to cover the space and utilities.
“I told her I don’t know the state of those rooms but would pass along the message and request.”
Currently, the food pantry is in the basement of the Lutheran Church, but the organization needs to find a new location because the church will begin renovating the space this Summer.
Flanagan said he would contact Donna Davis, president of the Thomas Community Center, and talk with her about the possibility of the pantry using some of the classrooms.
While the city of Thomas owns the Thomas Community Center building and pays the insurance, the community center is a 501c3 with its board and governing bylaws.
In other business:
– The Thomas Volunteer Fire Department has scheduled the Mountaineer Days’ fireworks display for Saturday, July 1, allowing for a few rain dates if needed.
Smith said she would soon schedule a Mountaineer Days committee meeting and start planning the festivities.
– Thomas resident, Joan Emerson of Happy & Moore, located on Spruce Street, asked if she could serve on one or more of the city’s committees.
“We have the two perfect committees for you, Mountaineer Days and Parks & Recreation,” Flanagan said.
After reviewing other letters of requests sent in by residents, council members voted unanimously to appoint Brad Carroll, Vivian Geroski, and Vince Lombardi to the Parks & Recreation committee. They also appointed Geroski and Emerson to the Mountaineer Days committee.
Council member Janice Mullenax agreed to chair the Cemetery Committee and recruit additional members.
Additionally, the council unanimously approved the slate of officers and members on the Thomas Planning Commission: JohnRyan Brubaker as president, Lois Nelson as vice president, and Juli Kimbrell as secretary. Other planning committee members include Nathan Baker, Trathen, and Flanagan (non-voting member).
If anyone else is interested in helping on a committee, please contact city hall at 304-463-4360, or drop off a letter.
– Council members agreed to issue an RFP asking for bids for the mowing of the Rose Hill cemetery this Summer. Potential bidders will be required to be a registered business and have liability insurance and workers’ compensation. The RFP will be posted in the Parsons Advocate.
– Kevin White, director of the Tucker County Office of Emergency Management, provided an update on what his office can do for the city and presented a storm-ready sign for the city to display.
“Our office has the ability to leverage things at the state level, and we do have direct lines of communication to get resources needed for our county,” White said. “Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your needs and questions.”
Tucker County is the 18th county in the state to be storm ready by the National Weather Service. White said the county reapplies every four years to qualify for the program.
“What this designation means is we have the mechanisms in place if there is a major weather event in Tucker County,” White said. “We have the ability to help mitigate and recover from any type of weather event, whether it be a flood, hurricane, or derecho.”
White also distributed emergency radios to the city of Thomas and the town of Davis.
“Those are to let the mayors know there is a pending major weather event,” White said. “We only use the radios if there is an imminent and catastrophic threat.”
Flanagan thanked White for his recent assistance during the cold temperatures during the holidays and the emergency radio. He said the city would post the sign in a high-visibility traffic area.
“We appreciate everything you do for us,” Flanagan said. “You are a very valuable asset to the city of Thomas.”
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