Vienna City Council approves police officer

VIENNA – Vienna City Council Thursday approved the addition of Michael Blaine Ritchie as a police officer.

Council will hold a public hearing and two votes for the approval of a new floodplain ordinance. Mayor Randy Rapp said the ordinance will go before a public hearing and council members to ask questions before having to pass it.

Pond Run is Vienna’s main concern when it comes to floodplain levels, city officials said. There are, however, several properties on the Ohio River. The new flood elevation is two feet and the city will have to accommodate changes.

Rob Rush, the city’s building inspector, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is becoming stricter on the city’s flood ordinances. Insurance rates are rising and he said keeping those down by following the model ordinance will help.

“I don’t think we want to be the odd man out,” Rush said before council Thursday. “Unfortunately, this will change the way we do building permits.”

Rush said the city tries to give building permits as quickly as possible, but with the new ordinance it may take a few days for city officials to grant building permits.

The city entered into an agreement with the state auditor’s office.

Cam Wilson, a local government purchasing card specialist with the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office, discussed the city entering into the agreement to go paperless by not paying bills using the check writing process.

The purchasing card, or lockbox, program was started by the West Virginia auditor 20 years ago because he foresaw checks and the check-writing business ending, Wilson said.

“We don’t want to change how you pay,” Wilson said. “We want to provide you with another way to pay your bills.”

Moving to a paperless, electronic trail saves the state and its taxpayers money, he said. Wilson said last year the program saved state taxpayers $140 million.

The city approved a bid with Grae-Con Construction for $578,800 to begin building the police department annex. Rush said the annex building will have a new layout connecting it to the fire department.

The building will allow for the fire department to clean fire hoses inside rather than using the alley. Hose testing will still be done outside, said fire Chief Steve Scholl.

The city is looking for nominations to appoint five people to the board of zoning appeals. Qualifications are listed on the city’s website, www.vienna-wv.com.

Interested applicants cannot be working for the city or be a member of the city’s planning commission. Rapp said two residents have expressed an interest, but three more are needed.

The time commitment is meeting two to three times a year.

The next meeting will be Aug. 15.