LEWISBURG (WVDN) – At the regular November meeting of the Lewisburg City Council, there were many ordinances to be considered including a first reading for a contract with Altice/Cebridge granting them a franchise to provide cable services to Lewisburg. This company has done business in the past in the Beckley area, while their home offices are in Long Island, N.Y.
This is a contract for five years with and option of renewal after the fifth year. Altice/Cebridge has agreed to provide Lewisburg with a local office and local, 24-hour service phone number for customers. The city has determined this company has the technical and financial ability to provide cable television to Lewisburg, rebroadcasting some network television and providing government and community television channels.
Altice/Cebridge also agrees to extend service when 15 new customers are within 1,320 feet of the last drop on their service lines and will bury cable up to 500 feet from last pole at a customer’s property. There are also provisions in the contract for repair timeliness and customer complaint satisfaction.
The second reading and public hearing will be held Dec. 20 at the regular city council meeting at 7 p.m. with a company representative. This gentleman is a new representative and was not at any previous hearings, so if there are any public comments, he needs to hear them from the public attending.
Another ordinance, Ordinance 314’s new Historic Landmarks Commission design guidelines, was also discussed. This new book of detailed descriptions and drawings will update the previous rules of color and construction on buildings in the historic district of downtown Lewisburg.
Much of it is actually dictated and has been approved by SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) in Charleston, so the local landmark commission can provide understanding and guidance to property owners. The book is available for viewing at city hall, and the second reading of the ordinance and public hearing will be held at the Dec. 20 meeting.
The second reading and public hearing on Ordinance 315, a sales and service tax and a use tax for the city of Lewisburg, was successful, meaning a 1% additional sales tax within city limits will begin on July 1, 2023.
The tax will be collected and transferred along with the 5% state sales tax to the state tax department, and then the 1% will be returned to Lewisburg and put in the general fund for the city.
This also is added on to the hotel and motel tax burden for visitors, so the city will benefit even greater from these businesses.
Exemptions from the tax are those sales or services that are already federally exempt and also motor vehicle sales, motor vehicle fuel and tangible personal property. The use tax, also 1%, is on personal property, custom software or service.
Along with Ordinance 315, Ordinance 313 was passed. It is a decrease of the B&O tax which was required by the state home rule board if a municipal sales tax was going to be enacted, so businesses with enough revenue to actually be paying a B&O tax right now will benefit from a decrease of this cost.
In other business, the state champion Greenbrier East Men’s Soccer team was in attendance and received a proclamation by Mayor Beverly White acknowledging their achievement. The team, coaches and city council gathered for photos at the end of the proclamation which named players, coaches and fellow students at Greenbrier East High School as all deserving this honor.
Afterward, the mayor was presented with a signed team photo.
Also, during the meeting, a list of upcoming holiday events in the city was noted. The calendar of events include Saturday, Nov. 19, with the Magic of Christmas event in stores in downtown Lewisburg with a tree lighting ceremony sponsored by Lewisburg in Bloom at 6 p.m. at the city green space. Beside Harmony Ridge Gallery will be a stand offering donuts, hot cider and hot chocolate. A new Letter to Santa box has been constructed by the department of public works and will be located patio at the green space once complete.
The Lewisburg Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3, with line-up time for parade participants at 11 a.m.
Other city business included the selection of a new liability insurance company to cover the city’s needs on Dec. 1. The WVcorp Insurance is a risk pool and it was announced that it provides better coverage for less cost. As the city participates in the pool, there is also shared liability if annual overall claims exceed the money collected from the total participants in annual premium payments. The company is local to West Virginia and has ability to respond to city needs in a timely manner.
City manager Misty Hill announced an improved contact program through One Call Plus app as the best way to contact water service customers if there is a boil-water alert. The council decided not to use Nixle which does a county wide alert system which goes beyond the service area of Lewisburg city water.
Besides the direct calls to customers, there is Facebook, radio and newspaper announcements, they said, and if you are not receiving these phone calls, you should contact Peggy Bostic at the water department at 304-645-2080, and make sure they have your updated phone number listed.
The council approved the hire of Travis Honaker as an operator in training and the application to two grant programs for reimbursement on his training and supplies.
Duane Hiller was approved as a water plant operator after working side by side with Randy Johnson who will retire in May 2024, giving Hiller plenty of time for certification and the new water system construction time to be completed.
Employee end-of-year incentive pay was approved as recommended by the finance committee. The amounts of these bonuses are private, but the total will be known when the budget is amended to accommodate them.
The parks commission report to the city council included the disappointing news that the long-awaited lights for Dorie Miller Park arrived, but they were incorrect and must be returned. Another order will be made. The lights at Hollowell Park were covered partially by a grant from the city of Lewisburg to the Arts and Rec program, but more money is being sought to cover the full expense from two other grants and, hopefully, they will succeed. City recorder Shannon Beatty has been helping in the grant writing and application process and is optimistic about the effort.
City Fire Chief Joey Thomas was congratulated on receiving a vote of confidence from his department employees as their fire chief for 2023.
The next Lewisburg City Council meeting is Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. in city council chambers on Washington Street.