Councilman Barber pays delinquent city fees

Civil action against Barber dismissed

PARKERSBURG — A civil case against a Parkersburg city councilman has been dismissed after he paid nearly $470 in city fees he owed, court records show.

A complaint was filed against Councilman Eric Barber on Jan. 31 over $467.53 in delinquent fire, sanitation and police fees, according to documents in Wood County Magistrate Court. The case was dismissed Friday, with records saying the amount had been satisfied.

“There’s a lot of obstacles when you live well under the poverty line,” Barber said Monday. “I can well relate to others because I have endured it myself.”

Barber said finding employment has been difficult since he was elected to council in November 2016 and took office in 2017. His status on council has been a factor, he said, adding he’s been told as much in interviews.

“I’ve never had such a difficult time getting a job in my life,” Barber said.

Asked about his recent payment of the fees, Barber said, “I’ve had to make some sacrifices to live up to my responsibilities.”

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce said he was “pleased to learn Mr. Barber made the effort to get his fees taken care of.

“The Finance Department works diligently to collect the fees necessary to provide the essential services the city provides,” Joyce said.

Barber has been through the courts a couple of times in his first year-and-a-half on council, pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and having a charge of obstruction dismissed after an incident when police responded to an emergency involving another resident on his street. In November, he was assessed $209 in fines and court costs after pleading guilty in Belpre Mayor’s Court to a 2012 possession of marijuana charge.

“I think Eric is trying to get a positive direction this year, and I think so far he’s done that,” Council President John Reed said Monday.

Council voted late last year to double the monthly police fee and raise the fire fee by 95 percent to address increased pension costs. Barber was one of three council members to vote against the measures.