PRINCETON — During this week’s City Council meeting, Princeton Mayor Tim Ealy said it was with great happiness that he announced Elke Doom has withdrawn her resignation as city manager.
Doom originally gave her resignation to council members on Feb. 20, and planned to leave her position on April 30.
When asked about her decision to withdraw her resignation, Doom said, “After a long discussion with the mayor about the goals of the community he asked if I would consider withdrawing my resignation. We’re going to see what the city needs and go from there.”
Doom added some hopes for the near future are to move the city offices into the former Dean Company Building and also put out proposals to lay out space for the police and fire departments in the new space.
Ealy said, “I’m absolutely thrilled that she’s staying. There is a vision and excitement she has brought to the city and it has been contagious. We’re proud to have her stay and I’m proud to be part of it.”
During Monday night’s meeting, city council members approved a change in start time of future meetings beginning in April. Meetings of the Princeton City Council will now begin at 6:30 p.m.
Ealy and several council members showed appreciation for the Public Works Department and their hard work removing snow from the city. The department responded to 46 service calls in February, most relating to snow storms. Ealy also pointed out that even with heavy rain and melted snow, Stafford Drive did not flood.
Ealy also presented Public Works Head Mechanic Jackie Phillips with a certificate of appreciation for his hard work.
City Attorney Paul Cassell presented a second reading of an ordinance changing the zoning of four acres of municipal property including the Municipal Building, the Princeton Fire Department and the Princeton Police Department from office/institutional to commercial, pending the relocation of the city offices to the Dean Company property.
Council members approved a resolution in support of the Town of Sophia in its efforts to obtain grant funds for the establishment of an historical train excursion from Sophia to Bluefield. The resolution states, “The excursion train would be an economic boost for southern West Virginia and will showcase the industrial revolution of coal production in Raleigh, Wyoming, McDowell and Mercer Counties.”
Martha Barberio, community development director, shared with council that she has applied for several grants that will benefit Princeton and plans to apply for more this week. She applied for the S.A.F.E.R. Grant through FEMA that will enable the Princeton Fire Department to hire two firefighters without any cost to the city for two years.
Barberio is also applying for five grants to help the city to make repairs around town including replacing the sidewalks on Thorn Street, fixing the Thorn Street Bridge, installing lighting in the lower downtown area and through Mercer Street, replacing sidewalks in front of the Memorial Building and down West Main Street, and installing crosswalks on Stafford Drive in front of Princeton Senior High School and the Mercer County Technical Education Center.
In other city news, the Princeton Recreation Center is behind schedule by about a week due to inclement weather. Spring basketball leagues will begin by the end of March. The annual Snowflake Dance took place on Feb. 27 and $2,135 was raised to benefit the department.
A cheerleading competition at the Recreation Center will take place March 21 and the Friends Unlimited Dance will be held March 27. The center is also planning its annual Easter egg hunt on April 4 in City Park. The hunt is free to all participants and will begin at 1 p.m.
Fire Chief Chad Bailey reported the ISO (Insurance Services Office) will be in the city late April to early May to conduct a ratings assessment of the PFD. Bailey’s goal is to go from the current Class III rating to Class II, which would result in lower insurance premiums for city residents.
Princeton Public Library Director Brittany Rothausen said PPL will offer small computer classes, like beginning email, and see where it goes from there.
“We need help from the community to see where the demand is,” she said. “We want to be there to meet those needs. We view ourselves more of a community center than a library.”
During public comment, Marie Blackwell announced the 2nd Annual Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day Ceremony is set for Sunday, March 29 at the Memorial Building in Princeton starting at 3 p.m.
“Many of our troops arriving home from Vietnam did not receive the recognition they deserve,” said Blackwell.
She added that anyone who cannot attend is encouraged to take time to reflect on the sacrifice of the Vietnam veterans and all veterans.
John Dills, of Princeton, spoke about City Manager Doom, saying the council should give her recognition and a raise she deserves.
Arnold Palmer updated council members on the ongoing APalm project.
“Don’t let it leave your mind,” he said. “As long as we have the strength and ability we will make it happen.”
He also said he recently met with officials at Bluefield State College and has drawn up plans for the project.
Council members also approved the general fund budget for fiscal year 2016 as well as the Coal Severance budget, which includes $25,500 in Coal Severance Tax from the state and a projected beginning balance for fiscal year 2016 of $225,500.
The next meeting of the Princeton City Council will take place April 13 at 6:30 p.m.
— Contact Jackie Puglisi at firstname.lastname@example.org