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Looking Back at Wetzel County’s ‘Year In Review’

January 8, 2020
Wetzel Chronicle

As we continue this journey of life into a new year, we often think of things we need to do better in the coming year. Whether one's goals and resolutions reflect a change of diet, exercise regime, or to accomplish more on the to-do list, we shouldn't completely disregard our past in pursuit of the new. Our experiences in life are the building blocks for our future. The memories and experiences - whether positive or negative - teach us and shape us into the people we are today.

So in celebration of the new year, the staff of the Wetzel Chronicle reflects on some memories and experiences of the local area that has impacted our community and individuals alike and is now history.

One big addition to Wetzel County was the implementation of the Home Rule Program. The City of New Martinsville became the 40th city to become a member of the West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Program. New Martinsville submitted ten authorities for review by the Home Rule Board, and the bulk of the home-rule authorities sought by the city were related to the problem of dilapidated properties. They were awarded permission to address seven of the ten, in addition to an addition of a 1 percent Sales and Use Tax Implementation in conjunction with a decrease in the Business and Occupational Tax. The following authorities were awarded: on the spot citations for violations of city ordinances concerning property maintenance, safety and health hazards; place public nuisance liens (for unpaid nuisance fines) against a property without a court order; the transfer or lease of city property to private and non-profit entities (at fair-market value) and must promote economic development and/or the public good; the authority to employ part-time, non-civil-service police officers; raise the upper age limit for initial entry-level civil service officers from 40 to 45; and eliminate party membership requirements for appointments as election officials and to civil service and building commissions. In addition to the mentioned authorities, a 1 percent Sales and Use Tax will be implemented July 1, 2020. The State Tax Office will govern and collect the tax, and the city will receive their portion in quarterly payments from the state.

Article Photos

The 2019 RegattaFest didn’t disappoint as it provided a unique experience for everyone who made their way to the riverbank for top notch Powerboat racing.

Another change to the community was seen in the demolition of the Thomas Drug Store. In 2009, New Martinsville City officials announced at their September meeting that the Thomas Drug store building located on North Street by the railroad tracks had been condemned. At that time it was unclear how long the process would take to remove the eyesore, however 10 years later on November 27, 2019 it became a reality.

Also in this past year, city officials of Paden City faced some heat, when news about the PCE contaminant was released to residents. The news of the contamination, by a chemical called Tetrachloroethylene (TCE) - also known as perchloroethylene (PCE) - was first brought to the public's attention through the March 4, Paden City Council meeting. In a letter from the city regarding a contamination it said, "Our monitoring has shown an average PCE concentration in the drinking water supply for 2018 of 5.5 parts per billion (ppb), which is in excess of the USEPA's Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL) of 5.0 ppb. The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health has issued us a formal Notice of Violation for exceeding the MCL for PCE." Throughout the year, the city and other officials have been tirelessly working to reduce the contamination with some positive results. While work is still ongoing, residents can rest assured that the situation is being handled correctly. Work on the project is expected to commence this month according to city officials who awarded the contract to Litman Contracting of New Martinsville.

More recently, it was announced that both Wetzel and Tyler Counties would receive funding for expanding broadband service within the two areas. The Red (Regional Economical Development) Partnership, Wetzel Counties Grant Recipient was awarded a 50/50 percent loan/grant total project cost of $4,189.00 to cover 1,909 households and businesses over an area of 47.76 square miles with a service population of 4,622. The re-connect program will allow RED and CityNet to provide 87 miles of new service of broadband internet fiber access area along Route 20 and Route 7 up to Hundred.

Other highlights of Wetzel County during 2019 include the following:



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