The unanticipated was the order of the day at the July 3 Hurricane City Council meeting. A local TV station was present to capture newsworthy video which it could later share with viewers.
TV reporters only show up at city council meetings if something of note, something out of the routine is expected. What was it? The meeting agenda listed the usual things — approve the minutes, pay the bills, hear reports from the police and fire departments, hear persons from sign in sheet, new business.
The items listed under new business were not particularly eye-catching. The council would hold a public hearing and second reading of an ordinance to fund improvements at Bridge Park. This was news but not new news. It had been reported upon previously. An inspection of the sign in sheet revealed seven names. That, most certainly, is not the norm for Hurricane council meetings. The TV reporter’s presence was related to what these individuals were about to say. Someone had alerted the TV station that concerned citizens were going to address the Hurricane City Council on a very important matter.
The first sign-in speaker was Rebecca Richmond. She asked the council to enact an ordinance which would forbid minors from attending what is termed “adult live performances.” Richmond explained that the Putnam County Commission had passed such an ordinance at its June 27 meeting which was applicable to the unincorporated areas of the county. The county ordinance does not apply to Valley Park because the park is within Hurricane city limits.
The ordinance which the county commission approved is identical to that of Jefferson County in the eastern panhandle. The intent of the ordinance is to prevent a repeat of an incident which transpired at Valley Park when Putnam Pride WV held an event featuring a public drag show. According to one speaker, young girls using a public restroom were alarmed when they encountered men dressed as women.
Each speaker requested that the city adopt the county’s ordinance. Every speaker expressed a belief that the ordinance would protect children from unwanted influences.
It is standard policy for Hurricane elected officials to listen to, but not to respond to, any presentation which is not on the agenda for the meeting. There were no public comments by members of the council to the request by the sign-in speakers.
In other business, the council approved a variance recommended by the Hurricane Planning Commission that Michael Richardson be allowed to construct a two-story garage at 2633 Virginia Avenue which exceeds the maximum allowed height.
Fire Chief Mike Hoffman informed council that the department expects delivery of its new $673,000 fire truck before July 13. The Putnam County Fire Service Board is financing the purchase through annual fire fee receipts.
Police Chief Mike Mullins reported that his department issued 20 citations and 257 warnings during the month of June. The HPD seized 9.49 grams of Meth, 530 grams of Fentanyl/Cocaine powder, 3 grams of Fentanyl and 29.61 grams of cocaine during June. There were 36 arrests (18 charged to the State and 18 charged to the City). The City arrests were for possession of controlled substances (8) and for shoplifting (10).
The next Hurricane Council Meeting will be Monday, August 7, at 6:30 p.m.