For The Register-Herald
Rainelle Councilman Michael Neal has resigned his seat, effective Dec. 12. Council unanimously accepted Neal’s one-sentence resignation letter, which did not include a reason for his action, at its Dec. 26 meeting.
Rainelle Fire Department Chief Shawn Wolford told council that the department’s Board of Directors had surveyed fees charged in other Greenbrier County municipalities. He requested that the town bring fire fees in line by raising residential dues from $30 to $48 annually and business dues from $60 to $96 annually. Fire fees are added to Rainelle’s water bills. Wolford said that the bills would go out to those in rural areas by Feb. 1.
Council agreed to put the issue on the agenda for the next meeting.
Recorder Danny Milam presented Greenbrier Motors’ quotes for a new and a used truck. Council directed Milam to negotiate the best price for the used truck.
Mayor Andrea J. “Andy” Pendleton reported that the State Tax Department has billed the town $85,189.42 for wine and liquor tax that the department distributed to Rainelle between April 2007 and May 2012 when it appears the Tax Department sent checks for a different town to Rainelle due to a coding error.
Councilman Ron Fleshman read the department’s proposed agreement which would require Rainelle to repay the debt plus interest by waiving the quarterly share of wine and liquor tax until the debt is repaid.
Pendleton reported that she had spoken with Delegates Ray Canterbury and Tom Campbell, Sens. Bill Laird and Ron Miller and town attorney Mike Anderson about the issue and all of them agreed that Rainelle should not sign this agreement.
The agreement calls for Rainelle to reimburse the Tax Department the full overage and interest through all future taxes due to Rainelle. The overage without interest is more than 10 percent of the Town of Rainelle’s annual operating budget.
A telephone conference call with the state tax commissioner is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday to negotiate a new agreement.
Pendleton thanked everyone who helped make the Create-A-Dream party successful. She said that almost 150 area children received gifts that were donated by The Greenbrier, Toys for Tots, Hominy Creek Mining Co. and Dollar General.
The mayor corrected information in a recent newspaper article that gave her and the Town of Rainelle the credit for the gift giveaway. The mayor said that she helped work on the project and went to The Greenbrier to wrap gifts several times, along with others, but she gave major credit to Rainelle Medical Center.
“This was truly a community project,” Pendleton said, as she mentioned help from the Meadow River Garden Club, Rainelle Police Chief J.P. Stevens, several individuals, and First Baptist Church.
The public is invited to attend a meeting about a windmill project by Beech Ridge at 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at Rainelle Town Hall.
The next regular Rainelle Town Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 14.