June 13, 2022
Monday, June 13, 2022, marked the third town hall meeting of the year. The meeting began promptly at 7 pm in the bays of the Bramwell Volunteer Fire Department. Mayor Louis Stoker called the meeting to order by scolding the 23 people in attendance for socializing. There was one Town Council Board Member, Rufus Morgan, that was not in attendance.
The meeting included two impromptu guests. First, Jamie Null from Mercer County Tourism came to discuss the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). The CVB was formed in the 1980s to provide nonprofit marketing for Mercer County. It is funded by the Hotel-Motel tax collected within the county. The tax is 6% and 3% of the collected tax is given to CVB. Jamie stated that tourism and travel are very important to Mercer County. The Annual Report and Marketing Plan for the CVB can be found on the Mercer County Tourism website, https://visitmercercounty.com.
An important note to touch on from her presentation is that every household in Mercer County saves approximately $350.00 in taxes each year, because of the volume of tourists spending in Mercer County. There are three personas that travel to Mercer County to visit: ATV riders, hikers, and local travelers. You can find statistics about each group in the 2022 Marketing Plan on the website noted above.
Second guest of the evening was Skip Crane. He gave a brief introduction on his philanthropical background within Mercer County. He has been involved in several groups over the years, to include Bluewell Neighborhood Watch, Bluewell Improvement Association, and 4 Pals Production. He is a Historian and Public Servant for the area and is now serving as President of the Mercer County Fire Board.
After the guest speakers, the mayor began the town meeting by reminiscing about the Bramwell Street Fair that took place in summers gone by. The Fair was previously held in the area where the Train Depot now stands.
Previous town meeting minutes were reviewed by council members and affirmed. The Budget report was reviewed. The town currently has +/- $19,485 in the general fund. Some items were purchased for the playground and the encumbered fund currently has +/- $2,046 in the account. All monies in the “Fairs & Festivals” fund need to be used or returned to the state by June 30th. Some funds were used to pay for events during the Francis Gary Powers, Jr visit. Remaining funds are being used for July 4th festivities.
There will be a concert at the Train Depot on Saturday, July 2nd, sponsored by the Shahans. For the July 4th celebration, the town plans to have fireworks, hot dogs, and music on Monday July 4th at the Fire Department.
The Police and Fire Department had several items to report including traffic tickets and warnings, ATV accidents, a structure fire and trees in the road. The town’s Court Clerk, Ricki Dunford, has been taking online courses to get updates on the changes to the DMV and motor vehicle ticket rules and regulations. The mayor made mention that the town has a very large drawer full of old unpaid tickets. There was no clear plan regarding collections.
In a prior meeting, The Mayor and Town Council selected Thrasher Engineering, from bids, to work on the dam at the town reservoir. Thrasher is still working on their report to provide to the town. Last week ~ Dedicated to communicating information within Bramwell ~ the Dam Safety team from the state came and looked over the dam and reported that things still look good.
The Train Depot has received a $150,000 grant to update the structure. Town Council member, John Petrulis, provided an update on the train car work being done. The dining car is almost done, and they are working on the caboose. Betty Goins initiated the project by submitting for a grant. The grant was awarded at $16,000. Any expenses over the grant will be covered by the Town.
The Bramwell Foundation has received a $50,000 grant. They plan to use the monies to put windows in the Pence building and are working on another $50,000 grant as well.
Tucker Workman stood up and read his letter, written to the Town of Bramwell, regarding the condition of the Town Hall building. He stated that the Town Hall should be one of the prominent buildings of the town and it is currently in disrepair, with chipped and peeling paint. He requested that the condition of the Town Hall be addressed. The mayor reported that the town has the funds to have the building painted and she is currently looking for licensed and bonded contractors. There is no timeline for the project.
The mayor also reminded the town members that anyone that plans to do work in town for any resident or company, is required to come to the town hall and purchase a town business license for $15.00.
One of the topics for discussion on the agenda was the Episcopal Church that collapsed last fall. An architect has offered to draw plans for a sanctuary park at the location of the fallen church. Before any plans can be drawn, the church debris needs to be cleared and any valuable artifacts need to be salvaged. Concerns regarding this project are as follows: - Who will be contracted to do the work? As of right now, this is no set plan for open bids on the project. - What will it cost? - What pieces will be salvaged? And where will they be stored? - When will this issue be discussed?
No resolution has been put in place. There will be a separate meeting with the mayor and town council to discuss. If you are interested in the plans for this historic church, please be on the lookout for notices regarding this meeting.
Betty Goins was part of the town members in attendance at the Town Meeting and she presented some feedback on the successful Tour of Homes this past Saturday, June 11th. The Tour of Homes started in 1983 and is currently presenting two tours each year, Spring and Christmas. There were 35 volunteers helping this year. This past Saturday they had more then 260 people in attendance. Of those attending the tour, 90 percent of them were first time guests. One gentleman was from Montana and his last name happened to be Bramwell. Another guest was an 80-year-old farmer from West Virginia that has been trying to get to the tours for years and finally made it this year. Kelly Eller also provided a story about one of the tourists. She was an artist from Kentucky. She designed the Kentucky state logo and does coal artwork.
(If you would like to participate in the Tour of Homes, either as a volunteer or as a possible home on the tour, please reach out to Betty Goins)
The meeting was adjourned by the Town Council shortly after 8pm.
Please join the other town members at the next town meeting. The meetings are currently held at 7:00 pm in the Bramwell Volunteer Fire Station on the second Monday of every month.