Parkersburg City Council to consider pay study, grants

Urban Renewal meets for updates

PARKERSBURG — City Council will consider multiple grants and the allocation of funding for an employee classification and wage study when it meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Council members will also gather an hour-and-a-half earlier as the Urban Renewal Authority to hear updates from staff members about the authority’s property database and a potential housing initiative.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce said the classification and compensation study was recommended by Personnel Director Sondra Wallace and is needed to help the city with recruiting and retaining employees.

“We have a lot of positions that we’re having a hard time filling,” Joyce said.

Workers are being lost to both private sector employees and other government entities, he said. To be competitive, the city not only needs to know what the going rate is for those salaries but how various positions are classified compared to other organizations, Joyce said.

The resolution on the agenda proposes allocating $10,000 from the surplus funds from the recently completed fiscal year 2018. In July, council allocated more than $600,000 of the carryover — whose final amount has not been determined — most of it to address a higher-than-anticipated price tag for the annual paving project, which starts Monday.

Another resolution would allow Joyce to apply for an $80,000 Lowe’s Community Partnership Grant to assist with planned improvements at the City Park Pool. In conjunction with the more than $1.4 million splash pad project, the city has allocated $250,000 for additional repairs and renovations to the existing pool facilities.

Also on the agenda is a resolution to apply for a $50,000 grant through the National Endowment for the Arts for cultural district planning in the downtown area. A required $25,000 local match would come through private donations, the resolution says.

“It’s a collaborative effort between the city, Downtown PKB and the (Parkersburg) Art Center,” city Development Director Rickie Yeager said.

If the grant is awarded, the funds would likely be used to hire a consultant to develop a downtown “cultural district” plan, Yeager said, looking at ways to brand the area and connect it to the waterfront area “all from a public art perspective.”

A fourth resolution would authorize Joyce to apply for a Justice Assistance Grant that would provide $21,454 for the city Police Department and $12,119 for the Wood County Sheriff’s Department.

Council will also consider nominations from Joyce to reappoint Shawn Andrews and Tim Utt to the Central Downtown Business District Design and Facade Committee, Betty Modie to the Washington Avenue Architectural Review Board and Caleb Tisdale to the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority.

The URA agenda includes a resolution to acquire and demolish a fire-damaged house at 1705 St. Marys Ave. and applications to purchase properties at 2610 Vaughan Ave. and 823 14th St.

Yeager said staff will present an updated database of URA properties that will include information like whether the lots are non-conforming, the square footage of the property, existing land use and more, along with a staff recommendation on the best use for the property. In addition, they will discuss potential approaches for an initiative to spur affordable housing development in the city, something council members have been hoping to set in motion.

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Meetings

Tuesday’s Parkersburg City Council meetings

* 6 p.m. — Council meets as the Urban Renewal Authority in council chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building.

* 7:30 — City Council meeting

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