Cumberland Times-News

December 10, 2013

Ridgeley council closes community center until March

Elaine Blaisdell
Associated Press

— RIDGELEY, W.Va. — The

Ridgeley Town Council voted

on Tuesday to close down the

town’s community center until

March, while a yet-to-beformed

committee figures out a

way to make the center financially

solvent.

“I don’t think it should be up

to us to do it all,” said Butch

Hawse, finance commissioner.

“If the community wants it

open let them help a little bit.

During a public hearing earlier

this month, council members

said that any community

members interested in serving

on the committee should

express their interest duringthe Tuesday meeting.

Nobody in attendance at the

council meeting on Tuesday

expressed such an interest.

“How many people from

the community do you see

here?” said Councilman Don

McFarland. “They simply

don’t care.”

The town is struggling to

pay bills and its employees,

said Mayor Lynn Carr.

“They have to be placed

above keeping the community

center open, as far as I’m

concerned,” said Carr.

The community center lost

$24,369, according to financial

figures from January 2011 to

November 2013. During that

two-year period, the total bill

for the community center

was $47,362 and it brought in

$22,993 in rental fees.

The church in Cumberland

that was interested in renting

out the community building

wouldn’t be able to do so

until spring, according to

Councilman Dr. Richard

Lechliter. The church would

rent out the building a couple

of days a week.

Councilman Bill Shepherd

requested that the town’s

newsletter include the activities

that the community center

could be used for.

In other news, council

members heard the first

reading of a water rate ordinance

that would increase

the rate by 20 percent, which

at a base rate is $5.

“This is a very reasonable

increase,” said Lechliter.

Lechliter said that all

municipalities in the state

are encouraged to look at

their water rates and to

increase them every two

years. The water rate hasn’t

been adjusted since 2009,

according to Carr.

The ordinance is needed

because the town has been

operating in the hole, according

to Mark Jones, water

commissioner. For fiscal year

2013, the net loss for water

was $25,555 and this year the

town is operating with a net

profit of $9,166, according to

Carr. Carr said that $9,000

wouldn’t go very far, especially

if the town experiences

another water line break.

A public hearing on the

ordinance will be held in January

and there will be a second

and third reading before

the council votes on it. After

council members vote on the

ordinance, it will have to go

before the West Virgina Public

Service Commission for

final approval.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@

times-news.com
.