By Wendy Holdren
Over $900,000 in revisions to the City of Beckley general fund budget were approved by Common Council at Tuesday’s meeting.
Treasurer Gary Sutphin reviewed several points, including a $45,000 increase in the budget for community development. He noted that the coal severance budget is tighter now, and adjustments had to be made accordingly.
Increases were also made to the Police Department, Recycling Center, and General Government accounts in the amounts of $897,001, $30,000, and $95,000, respectively.
Decreases were made to the Contingencies, Streets and Highways, and Public Safety accounts.
Council approved a memorandum of understanding between the City, Poggemeyer Design Group, and the Land Use and Sustainable Development (LUSD) Law Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law.
The LUSD Law Clinic provides legal services to local governments, landowners, and non-profit organizations to develop land conservation strategies and practices while providing WVU law students an opportunity to gain practical experience in the field of land use law and policy.
The LUSD Law Clinic will review and give legal advice for the City’s zoning ordinance for consistency with the update of the comprehensive plan. They will also make recommendations for ordinance amendments.
Mayor Emmett Pugh said City Attorney Bill File reviewed the memorandum, as well as a retainer agreement, and found them suitable.
Pugh said the retainer is at no cost to the City and the LUSD Law Clinic will help with code enforcement in the updated comprehensive plan.
Council unanimously approved both the memorandum and the retainer agreement.
Second readings and public hearings were held for two zoning ordinances; one petition to rezone three parcels on Crescent Road including 513 Crescent Road and two abutting parcels to the north and south from one-family district to general commercial district, and a second petition to rezone the irregularly-shaped triangle abutting City Avenue, Virginia Street, and Raleigh Avenue and being 127 Raleigh Avenue and 308 City Avenue, both adjacent parcels, from one-family district to neighborhood-highway business district.
Both rezoning ordinances were unanimously approved by Council.
The first reading was held for an ordinance to amend the city code to allow for V-type construction of billboards. A second reading and public hearing will be held during the next meeting of Common Council, Tuesday, May 28 at 7:30 p.m.
As for new business, Councilman-at-large Tim Berry asked that Council approach traffic engineers to take a look at pedestrian crossings near Neville Street, Prince Street, and W.Va. 16. He noted that multiple pedestrians have been crossing the four-lane highway across from Walgreens and he is concerned for their safety.
Pugh said the state had been approached with a similar issue a few years ago, but they would attempt to address the matter again.
During public comments, two Boy Scouts who were working on earning merit badges spoke to Council. Cody Jones and Luke Jones, both of Troop 3, were working toward their communications badge and citizenship in the community badge, respectively.
Pugh thanked them for coming to the Council meeting.
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