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April 10th, 2023's Town Council Meeting

Good evening folks,

I wanted to drop by with a quick update on April 10th’s town hall meeting. I lament the fact that I have been remiss in keeping you all updated, but I have been working with the candidates for Bramwell’s municipal town elections on a series of exposés to get you acquainted with their political platforms. It is important for me to keep everyone apprised on who is running and for what position. Bramwell, West Virginia is currently in need of a new town mayor, town recorder and five town council members in the upcoming June 13th municipal elections. To keep everything fair, I have reached out via email and/or snail mail to each and everyone of our esteemed candidates. Our 2023 ballot includes the incumbent Lou Stoker and Grant Bennett running for Mayor, Jessica Rush and Elizabeth Brown contending for Bramwell Town Recorder, and Susan Troutner, Kelly Eller, Rufus Morgan, Kelly Goins, Mandy Fink, John Petrulis, Jackie Shahan, and Dennis Marcello all vying for the five available seats on the Bramwell Town Council. Look out for past and upcoming posts delving into each of the candidates and their opinions on local concerns.

In light of the most recent town council meeting held on Monday May 8th, I will attempt to keep this post short and sweet without all the “bizarre unnecessary” words all whilst keeping the snarkiness (wink, wink) at a minimum.


  1. Welcome

  2. Reports

  3. Minutes

  4. Financials

  5. Police Department

  6. Fire Department

  7. Cemetery Trek

  8. Drawing for positions on ballot for June 13, 2023 election

  9. “Set the levy” special meeting Tuesday, April 18 at 7PM

  10. Memorial Day Concert - Date changed to May 26th

  11. Graduation / Police Academy: Aaron Simpkins April 28

  12. Adjourn

Note: I have corrected the agenda items from eight on the original agenda to seven total items and corrected agenda item number five that states the concert has been changed to the 27th, but it has been changed to the 26th.

The Bramwell Town Council Meeting was called to order on Tuesday, April 10th, 2023 shortly after 7PM recalling that we just celebrated the “most holiest of weekends” referring to the Easter holiday with particular mention of the “Father of peace”.

Mayor Lou Stoker opened the meeting with a financial review stating the general fund totals $6,613.06 with $2,066.77 in pending deposits and $750.00 in filing fees (to be deposited), bringing the total general fund to $9,429.83. Another town fund (The Harry Growth Fund?) shows a total of approximately $71,613.17 with $16,524 to be paid to Scott Spangler for the electrical rewiring of Town Hall, $40,000 to be paid to Frank Unger of Past Respects, LLC for the painting of Town Hall, leaving a projected balance of $15,089.17. The ARP Fund (American Rescue Fund) showed a balance of $110,739, with a bill to be paid to the civil and environmental engineering firm Thrasher $9,710.00 out of that fund, leaving a projected balance of $101,029. The Mayor expressed her hopes that the remainder of the ARP Fund can be used towards the repair/replacement of Bramwell’s town sidewalk.

Following the police department report, a concerned citizen brought it to the Town Council’s attention that there is an incident of another town resident allegedly living on property without a legal residence (essentially this alleged resident is camping on property where his home was burnt down), harassing neighbors, and using the restroom facilities without proper sewage and waste management. The Mayor assured those present that she is positive something can be done about these concerns.

In addition to the traditional fire department report, four department members James, Mackenzie, Justin and Aaron attended a weeklong road rescue training and are currently certified. One Town Council member praised the Bramwell Fire Department and Police Department on their response time during a recent roadway accident and the Mayor proceeded to express thanks to the Fire Department on the usage of their building to hold the Town Council meetings. The Mayor also added during the Fire and Police Department reports that the signage for the kayak dock (which has been paid for by the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau) has been ordered and river clean up has been scheduled for May 20th, 2023. Furthermore, the Mayor reported that some town members inspected the Bryant Cemetery located between Pocahontas, Virginia and Bramwell, West Virginia to ascertain whether or not the cemetery would be a good acquisition for the town, but again this action item has been tabled pending further inspection, consideration and review by more Town Council members. The representative from the Bramwell Fire Department expressed again wishes to organize a youth camping event at the Bramwell Reservoir for sometime in July.

Next on the agenda was the drawing for positions on the ballot for the June 13, 2023 Bramwell Town Elections. Having one of Bramwell’s youth draw from a box, the results of the drawing are as follows:


  1. Louise Stoker

  2. Grant Bennett

Town Recorder

  1. Jessica Rush

  2. Elizabeth Brown

Town Council Member

  1. Susan Troutner

  2. Many Fink

  3. Jackie Shahan

  4. John Petrulis

  5. Rufus Morgan

  6. Dennis Marcello

  7. Kelly Goins

  8. Kelly Eller

Agenda item five includes a meeting to “set the levy” April 18th at 4PM at the Bramwell Town Hall. According to sections §11-8-9 and §11-8-12 of the WV Code, it is mandatory for every municipality board to conduct one or more meetings between March 7th and March 28th. The purpose of these meetings is to assess the financial status of the board and establish the tax levy amount. After the board approves the rates, they will be forwarded to the State Auditors' Office. Upon obtaining approval from the State Auditor, the board is legally obligated to reconvene on the third Tuesday in April. This reconvened meeting serves the purpose of formally recording all the levies or “setting the levy” for ad valorem taxes. To set the levy for ad valorem taxes means to determine the rate at which taxes will be assessed on property based on its assessed value. Ad valorem taxes are typically calculated as a percentage of the assessed value of the property, and the levy represents the specific rate or amount that will be applied to determine the tax liability. The levy for ad valorem taxes is set by the governing authority, such as a county board or municipality, and it helps generate revenue to fund public services and infrastructure based on the value of the taxable property.

As a special note, the Memorial Day Concert will be rescheduled for Friday May 26th from 6PM to 9PM at the Depot featuring Dave Watkins with the Best of Times Band. As an update on a previous meeting’s topic, Mayor Lou has confirmed that the town does not in fact own the awnings on the Main Street storefronts so the topic of the awnings’ replacement will be at the discretion and expense of the buildings’ owners.

This writer would like to humbly congratulate Bramwell’s most recent addition to the Bramwell Police Department Aaron Simpkins on his recent graduation from the police academy. This of course is in reference to agenda item six, but as I am constantly late in getting this correspondence out to your fine folks, I am as always, “a day late and a dollar short”. Nevertheless, we recognize Aaron’s hard work and dedication to his craft and congratulate him on his efforts and achievement.

Be on the lookout friends for more from yours truly over the next few weeks. I think there are some great things on the horizon for Bramwell and I hope each and everyone of you are as excited in anticipation of change for us as a town as I am. I highly encourage you to get out amongst each other and discern what your fellow residents, friends and neighbors are saying and really hear their concerns. You are the force behind what will spur change and progress for the better in Bramwell. Bramwell, West Virginia is its people, a community worth preserving and a town whose best days are yet to come.

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