Oglebay Resort Hosts Wheeling's City Council Amidst WV Municipal League Conference
Council moved their meeting location to the Wilson Lodge in conjunction with the WV Municipal League Annual Conference. Several ordinances were approved and proposed tonight.
Wheeling’s City Council had a change of scenery for their first meeting of August.
In honor of the West Virginia Municipal League’s 54th Annual Conference at Oglebay Resort Council met at the Wilson Lodge in the Ihlenfeld Dining Room. This is the first time the City Council has held its meeting away from their chambers since before 2020.
The WV Municipal League is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of cities, towns and villages. The group, which has members from all 230 municipalities in the state, seeks to assist and educate local governments on how to serve their citizens and advance their interests.
The annual conference gives elected officials, municipal employees, and other representatives from local governments a chance to collaborate on ordinances, learn about bills passed during the Legislative Session, and hear from experts in a range of fields.
While the location was more laid back, among the hills of Ohio County, the pace of the meeting was as efficient–some would say rushed–as ever, taking only 22 minutes to conduct their business.
The theme of this Council meeting was gratefulness. Mayor Glenn Elliott kicked off his Mayor’s Report by recognizing the busy week in Wheeling with the Undo’s Upper Ohio Valley Italian Festival, Grecian Festival, and The Basketball Tournament hosting concurring events in downtown and Center Wheeling.
“We’ve had a lot of tourist dollars coming into the city,” Mayor Elliott said. “It’s great to see. It’s a sign of good things to come.”
Councilors Ben Seidler, Ward 2, Rosemary Ketchum, Ward 3, Jerry Sklavounakis, Ward 4, and City Manager Robert Herron echoed Mayor Elliott’s gratitude for the event. Seidler added a special thanks to Wheeling Police, Fire, and city employees who he says helped put on a great event.
Councilor Seidler commended the work done to ensure traffic flowed amidst a sea of traffic cones during the Wheeling Streetscape project. “Surprisingly, traffic was okay. People made it through downtown, which was really exciting,” Seidler said.
An application for a private club at 1306 Market St was delivered by City Clerk Jessica Zalenski. The building, which has seen years of remodeling work done, held a friends and family event at the beginning of the month to show off the progress made to the historic building.
Five ordinances were passed unanimously by voice votes tonight, including,
$79,890 in electrical, heating, and cooling upgrades for the Wheeling Fire Department Station 4 in South Wheeling, charged to the city service fee,
$34,000 for emergency demolition of 116 14th St, charged to ARPA. Councilor Ketchum noted this property has been a problem for some time in East Wheeling. She thanked city employees for quickly responding to her request for remediation.
$185,693 for five Dodge Chargers for the Wheeling Police Department, charged to the General Fund, or $37,138 per vehicle,
$22,125 for “Cyber Insurance,” charged to the General Fund, Water, and WPCD.
As is customary for this body, none of the ordinances received debate before passing unanimously.
Councilor Ketchum announced her next Office Hours at the Centre Market on August 8 from 11 to 1. Citizens of Wheeling can ask her their government related questions, update her about their community, or just say hi.
Ketchum spoke about the Ritchietown Renaissance who is hosting a fundraiser at Undo’s in Benwood on August 8 from 5 to 9. 15% of the proceeds during this time will go to the nonprofit focused on preserving South Wheeling’s history.
City Manager Herron gave a brief report to Council speaking about a major pour at the Market St Parking Structure in downtown. Cement trucks will cause “brief closures” to the street during the work.
Herron noted two upcoming city events.
The Guns and Hoses basketball game, pitting the Fire Department against the Police Department, will take place August 3 at 7 PM to benefit a firefighter’s family who lost their four-year-old daughter in February.
The 20th Annual Wheeling Heritage Port car show will take place on August 5. The event was rescheduled after smoke and severe weather at the beginning of the month saw it postponed.
Council heard eight new resolutions with four receiving a vote tonight.
Those heard and to be voted on next meeting include,
$149,451 City employee workers’ compensation extra liability, charged to the Worker’s Compensation Fund
$820,806 for Bank St water main improvements, charged to 2021 A-Bonds
$88,676 for police vehicle equipment, charged to the General Fund
A Memorandum of Understanding with Regional Economic Development Partnership regarding proposed work on the WesBanco Arena.
Those ordinances heard and approved tonight include,
$25,000 to Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley Inc., related to their reviewing the use of ARPA funds by the city,
An agreement adjusting monthly police pension payments in accordance to an audit correcting apparent overages,
A revision to the General Fund budget,
The renaming of the ball field at Garden Park to the Chuck Howley Field at Garden Park. Howley is a Warwood native and member of the NFL Hall of Fame, as well as six other local, state, and national Hall’s of Fame.
During public comments one woman, Julia Chapman, rose to speak against the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the WesBanco improvements. The project would see the commercial kitchen remodeled and rebuilt, and the additional construction of a “loge suite” project.
Chapman said the project would only benefit the “elite of Wheeling and wealthy tourists,” urging the Council to hold off on the deal until after the May 2024 municipal election. She said the project would see voters reject their candidacies, and would saddle the new Council to the deal.
The next Council meeting, to be held on August 15, will return to the City Council Chambers at 5:30. Those wishing to speak should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early to sign-up.
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