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Vienna City Council talks lease agreement, waterline issues

Mayor Randall Rapp showed one of the sewer pipes that has broken on 45th Place at Thursday’s meeting of Vienna City Council meeting. (Photo by James Dobbs)

VIENNA — Vienna City Council heard about utility line issues in one of the city’s neighborhoods and voted on a land lease agreement at Thursday’s council meeting.

Council discussed a resolution which authorizes Mayor Randall Rapp and City Attorney Russell Skogstad to take action to resolve the status of a lease agreement involving property on 12th Street.

Council moved to discuss its legal options of the lease agreement in an executive session.

Following the executive session, council voted to amend the resolution to read: “to authorize the mayor and city attorney to utilize whatever avenues including litigation for any grounds, including breach of contract available to the city of Vienna to return sole ownership of the 12th Street property as per the terms of the original lease sale agreement and subsequently executed forbearance agreement.”

“So the language is being inserted to allow us to retain the property and under the terms of the original agreement and the forbearance agreement,” said Rapp.

Jerry Thorne approached Vienna City Council at its Thursday meeting about water breaks on 45th Place in Vienna. (Photo by James Dobbs)

The amended resolution on the 12th street Land Sale Lease Agreement passed unanimously.

Jerry Thorne was one of few public speakers at Thursday’s meeting. He spoke to the board about waterline breaks in the cul-de-sac on 45th Place in Vienna. About 24 years ago council approved plans for the project, but it was built using sewer pipes instead of regulation water pipes. This has caused many breaks over the years since it has been built.

“For me, I think we need to get this problem fixed for our residents,” said councilwoman Kim Williams.

Rapp said Vienna has the least expensive water rates of any municipality in the state of West Virginia. It has only had two rate increases in over 23 years. Low rates equal low water bills, but it also equals low funds for the Vienna Utility Board to have to work on water/sewer projects.

Rapp said that an increase in water rates would help the city get more money out of the water system.

Councilman Mike Elam said that over 75 percent of the citizens that come to city council meetings are there for water issues. Although he isn’t in favor of an increase in water rates, he believes that an increase would improve service and put more money in the water/sewer budget with the utility board.

Councilman Tom Azinger said the city should tie any price increase to the Cost Price Index (CPI) and raise it a small amount each year, this would ultimately help with the budget and keep water rate raises low in the meantime.

“If somebody’s water bill is going up a dollar they might not bring their guns to town,” said Azinger.

Starting at the next Vienna Utility Board meeting, which will take place Sept. 17, the meetings will be held at the Vienna City Building on 29th Street, the same building where the city council meetings are held. The Vienna Utility Board meets at 1 p.m. on the third Friday of every month.

James Dobbs can be reached at jdobbs@newsandsentinel.com

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