The sign-in sheet for the August 7 Hurricane City Council meeting featured close to ten signatures of individuals who wished to address the proceeding. Approximately 80% of the signers were there to speak on an agenda item listed under new business — “First Reading of update to ordinance 517.09 – Barring minors from attending adult live performances.” 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. It is alleged that young girls were alarmed when they encountered men dressed as women in a public restroom.
Mayor Scott Edwards read the proposed ordinance in its entirety prior to hearing from concerned parties. The ordinance mirrors an ordinance enacted by the Putnam County Commission on June 27, 2023. County ordinances do not apply to municipalities. The county ordinance can be found by turning to Page 8.
Two of the speakers urged Council to make the ordinance more restrictive by specifying that such performances not be allowed in areas open to unsuspecting viewers.
Councilman Marshall Ginn asked if there were any municipalities within West Virginia which had a similar ordinance and was advised that there were not. Jefferson County was the first county with such an ordinance. Putnam is the second.
One individual who attended the Putnam Pride event at Valley Park stated that none of the things which the ordinance would forbid occurred.
Council approved the first reading after specifying that the proposed ordinance will be reviewed by the city’s attorney before a second reading. Mayor Edwards said that a second reading would likely be held at the September or October city council meeting.
In other business Council held second reading of and approved a code change which would require the Building Code Official to submit daily reports to the City Manager. The previous ordinance required daily reports to the Mayor.
Fire Chief Mike Hoffman reported that his department had responded to 1,037 calls since January 1. Hoffman said that Hurricane Fire & Rescue’s new firetruck was placed in service on July 31st and made its first run at 3:50 a.m., August 1st.
The utilities to the Main Street Fire Station are in the process of being shutoff in preparation to the building being demolished. Edwards stated that the building would be torn down before 2023’s end and the steel would be sold.
City Manager Andy Skidmore reported that the four baseball fields under construction at Bridge Park will be seeded by the end of the year and that the fields would be ready for play when the 2024 season begins. Skidmore added that the disc golf course at Bridge Park is slated to be ready for a September 10th tournament. The tournament will be postponed if the project completion is delayed.
Skidmore stated that city employees will begin preparation work at the bowl area of Meeks Mountain Trails for construction of the pump track before the end of the month.
Capt. T.J. Dillon presented the July police report to the council. The HPD made 10 State arrests and 10 City arrests during the month. Seven of the ten City arrests involved shoplifting. Dillon said that the department issued 225 warnings in July. Mayor Edwards said high number was related to new officer training.
Hurricane’s annual City Wide Yard Sale will be Saturday, August 12.
City offices will be closed in observance of Labor Day on September 4th. The next Council meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 5.