GILBERT — The Gilbert Town Council met Monday evening for nearly three hours to a packed audience with standing-room only and discussed a wide range of topics, from retirement plans for city employees and water projects to this year’s trick or treat and Christmas parade.
Barbara Harmon, with State Treasurer John Perdue’s office, spoke with the council about a retirement plan for city employees. After a brief discussion, which revealed that there was no minimum number of people that had to be interested to join, the council accepted it unanimously after calling for a motion.
Afterwards, the council met in an executive session for approximately 45 minutes to discuss personnel matters.
Eventually, the council came out of their executive session and continued with the meeting, which featured two different drawdowns, one for the Slabtown Water Project for approximately $5,700 and another for the Horspen, Gilbert Creek and Browning Fork Water Project for approximately $255,000. With the Slabtown drawdown, “the project is officially closed.”
Victoria Surber, with town hall, told the Daily News that construction and pipe laying had officially begun in the Gilbert Creek area and would soon begin at Browning Fork and Horsepen. She said that motorists should be cautious and expect delays. She couldn’t give a time frame, but instead said that construction had a full year to be completed.
Next, representatives from the Logan County Child Advocacy Center Inc., spoke with the council, which included Mingo County Outreach Coordinator David Bell, volunteer LaDonna Austin and Family Advocate Medina Mahon.
The non-profit organization helps children who have been victims of abuse, whether sexual or physical, and conducts forensic interviews. Its goal, Mahon said, is to make it where no child would ever have to travel more than an hour for such an interview and that a satellite office for Mingo County was also in progress.
Bell told the council that the center was currently in the progress of establishing support groups in each municipality and had already spoken to the councils in Williamson and Matewan. For Gilbert, Bell said that the center was looking to establish a Circle of Caregivers support group, a place where anyone in a parenting role could openly discuss the successes and challenges of raising children and where they could find and share support.
Mahon told the council that their goal at the meeting was to spread the word so that the council could be aware and could provide information to those who might need it. Mayor Vivian Livingood offered them a space within town hall, but the representatives said that they didn’t need one.
Currently, there is a circle of caregivers support group in Williamson at the Goodman Manor Community Room, meeting on the third Thursday of every month at 1 p.m. For more information on the group, call 304-792-6261 or 304-235-5607.
The Gilbert Police Department presented next, with Chief Mike Rasmussen saying that he and his officers had a rather busy, yet very productive, month. The chief said that they had given out 43 citations, and had more than 100 misdemeanor and 17 felony charges filed. He also said that he and Assistant Chief N.A. Glandon would be attending a class for supervisory aspects taught by an FBI agent in Beckley for no cost and a drug interdiction program for $50 per officer in the near future. The council agreed to the costs and to acquiring a webcam to assist the GPD in its video interviews.
Livingood praised the department, saying that she had “been getting a lot of good comments” about them.
Rasmussen also said that TrailFest went well, saying that there were only two DUI arrests made and just a few citations. He also told the Daily News that their was a lot of good teamwork between the other agencies present during the massive event which saw approximately 5,000 unique people in town.
Livingood estimated that numbers were definitely up for this year’s TrailFest which has been called a success. Glandon echoed her sentiment, but said that local numbers were down due to weather but that tourist numbers had greatly increased.
Gilbert Fire Chief Mike Tolley spoke next to the council, saying that he wanted to purchase a new transmission for his department’s pumper truck. He said that he wants to change from a manual transmission to an automatic one because drivers with knowledge of how to operate manual transmissions were getting harder and harder to find. He said that he was able to find one for $1,500. A motion was carried to purchase it after obtaining more information and making sure about compatibility, with Mayor Livingood voting against it.
The town decided to also follow suit with the rest of the county in it’s observance of trick or treat, going with Oct. 30 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Livingood said that anyone who wanted to treat door-to-door treaters should leave their lights on. If they didn’t want to, keep them turned off. The council also, in a carried motion, agreed to pledge $150 two separate times to the Larry Joe Harless Community Center’s Trunk or Treat event: once for candy to give out and another towards inflatables.
Livingood also accepted and signed Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s Heritage Christian Proclamation after asking the council if the town should. They unanimously agreed.
Lastly, the town decided on a date for its Christmas parade, scheduling for the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. with lineup beginning at 2 p.m. A marshall was not decided upon.
The Gilbert Town Council meets the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. within Gilbert Town Hall. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 12. Meetings are open to the public.