By Shawn Stinson
There were two items on the agenda for the latest Town of Franklin council meeting. The council members breezed through the agenda in less than 20 minutes before adjourning the meeting.
Three of the council members – Kristin Dingess, Genevieve Glover and Edwin Wimer – Bob Horan, mayor, and Bruce Minor, recorder, attended the April 12 meeting. Council member Laura Brown called into the meeting, and Clay Richardson was absent.
Council members unanimously approved Jonie E. Nelson as the town representative for phase 2 of the water project. Nelson, the town attorney, will receive $175 per hour for her services. The agreement states the services will “not exceed $25,000 in total hourly fees.”
They also approved the annual “Fair Housing” resolution without comment.
One item was briefly discussed that was not on the agenda. Wimer requested to be removed as a member of the town board of parks. Dingess was named as his replacement.
Frank Wehrle, town manager, submitted the March financial statement for approval. Prior to the council’s vote, Wehrle said there was “nothing out of the ordinary, things are sort of just trundling along.”
The financial statement was accepted without comment.
Wehrle also discussed funding for the upcoming water project. He said the funding for phase 1 of the water project is complete and “we are just working out the bureaucracy.” He added the funding for phase 2 of the project is not complete. He discussed the initial proposal to request nearly $1 million in a grant from the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council. The remaining funds would have been raised in a bond issuance, but this was rejected due to requiring another rate increase to the town’s water customers, Wehrle added.
A new possible funding source for phase 2 of the project was discussed by Wehrle. He said Sen. Joe Manchin’s office sent out an email last month regarding projects seeking funding from the federal government. Wehrle said he attended a webinar about the funding and contacted Terry Lively, executive director of the Region 8 Planning and Development Council, to include the funding request in the project proposal.
Wehrle added the funding request was for nearly $2.5 million and estimates the approval may be approximately 18 months out “if it comes.”
The minutes from the March 8 special meeting and the March 8 regular meeting were accepted without comment. The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 10 at the town office.