Vehicles and Cats Dominate Moorefield Council Discussions

The Moorefield Police Department responded to 200 calls for service in October, made 24 felony and 73 misdemeanor arrests, and 137 combined traffic citations and warnings. They also charged two suspects and recovered all stolen items from two burglaries. “The guys did a real good job on those,” said Police Chief Stephen Riggleman.

The department conducted traffic control for the Moorefield High School homecoming parade along Elm Street from Washington Street to the high school. Officers also educated 400 students, pre-Kindergarten through 2nd grade, on the dangers of hypodermic needles.

Riggleman said the MPD took in almost 21 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medications, which were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Agency for destruction.

During community trick-or-treating, they handed out reflective treat bags containing candy donated by Food Lion and Hawse Shop-N-Save, small toys donated by M.R. HVAC, and drug prevention material. 

Riggleman also talked to the Council about trading in the department’s Jeep Cherokee for a 2020 Dodge Durango, for $11,000.

City Clerk Rick Freeman said, “We could do it, with a budget adjustment,” which must be done first. 

“Another option is to keep (the Jeep Cherokee) for someone else,” said Public Works Director Lucas Gagnon.

The Town has a number of vehicles in its fleet, used for different purposes. The Town uses an Impala, a former police cruiser, to go to meetings, courses, or for new police officers carpooling to the State Police Academy. “We’re not always going someplace,” said council member Carol Zuber.

Freeman agreed, but said it’s still good to have a vehicle for that purpose when necessary, and that the Impala is rapidly approaching requiring more money for maintenance than it’s worth.

The Public Works department has a pick-up truck, a Ford Ranger, that’s also well-used. Gagnon said if the Town kept the Jeep and his crews used it, he would get rid of the Ranger.

“The Jeep still has really good mileage, and this is an awesome trade-in opportunity,” Riggleman said.

“It just gives me heartburn to give up that $11,000 and still have cars on the lot,” Zuber said.

The Council decided to put the budget adjustment on the agenda for the next meeting, and will  discuss further whether to keep the Jeep, trade it in for the Dodge, and what to do about another vehicle.

Gagnon provided a Public Works report.

Water crews cleaned sediment basins at both plants, removed a tree off the dam at the water plant, replaced water meters, handled a 6-inch water line hit by construction crews at Pilgrims Prepared Plant, and repaired another 6-inch main on Poplar Street.

Sewer crews finished installing flow meters and control panel roofs at all eight pump stations, unclogged a line at the Dollar Store, and worked on check valves — which need replacing, and have been ordered — at the Beans Lane pump station.

Town Park personnel cleaned the ashes from the barbecue pit, continued installing new exercise equipment, winterized the Park, and met with the Conservation Agency on the progress of the porous pavers grant.

Streets and Levee crews cleaned the concrete ditch from Maple Avenue to Capon Valley Bank, started replacing old street and Stop signs, and performed fall clean-up from October 21-25. Fall clean-up collected around 11 tons of waste, which cost nearly $900 in disposal fees.

Gagnon briefed the Council on a possible work order, inventory, and asset-tracking system.

“We’re not ready to ask, yet, but we need something to manage assets and inventory, and track work orders,” he said.

Gagnon told the Council crews were going to pave streets on Pascal Hill; Chipley Lane from Central Avenue to Winchester Avenue; parts of South Elm Street; Ashby Street; part of 5th Street; and patches on Lee Street.

He said they’ll use the new asphalt zipper, which will create a better base layer. Total paving costs should be around $110,000.

The Council approved the 2018-2019 financial statement: “We’re in very good financial shape,” Freeman said.

The Council continued their feral cat discussion. Freeman is looking for programs, grants, “anything,” he said. He said animal control officer Jim Shupe had recently had to get an injured cat euthanized, and that it “wasn’t too expensive.”

The Council talked about costs involved in trap-neuter-release, versus euthanizing, versus catching cats, keeping them for five days, and then euthanizing, which how Romney handles the problem.

“The problem is irresponsible cat owners,” said council member Mary Jo Johnston.

“We could do a tax,” Freeman said, “But the only people who’ll claim their cats are the honest people who aren’t the problem anyway.”

The Town approved three personnel actions. Patrolmen Benjamin Parker and Jeremy Fultz both received promotions to Patrolman First Class (PFC), and the Town hired Brian Wolf for maintenance.

The next meeting is November 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall. The public is invited to attend.