June 30, 2022
Bramwell Town Council held a Special Meeting this week, on Thursday June 30, 2022. Mayor Stoker presented the audience with her new gavel, a much more appropriate and effective way to call a meeting to order. She did still scold the attendees about speaking prior to and during the “business” meeting, but eventually called the meeting to order. There were only three council members in attendance, John Petrulis, Kelly Eller, and Kelley Goins. Susan Troutner, the Town Recorder and Treasurer, was also in attendance. Council members, Mandy Fink and Rufus Morgan, were absent. There were 18 people in the audience.
Since the monthly meeting in June, the Mayor and some council members met with one contractor, that has worked for the town on other projects, to quote the demolition of the fallen Episcopal Church. Green Valley Excavating, out of Bluefield, has provided a contract for the project as follows: (1) Remove damaged materials and salvage anything that can be saved. They will also haul away all debris, level the ground, and plant grass seed. The estimated cost for this work to be completed is $15,000. (2) An additional quote to remove the large tree next to the church is estimated at $2,000. The Town Council made a motion to approve the contract with Green Valley Excavating. Work is scheduled to begin Tuesday, July 5th with a 3-week timeline for completion. This project was not required to be open to public bids since the quoted work estimate was valued at under $25,000.
Town member, Dennis Marcello, had a question regarding the Episcopal Church project. Initially the Mayor advised him that questions were not allowed at this meeting, but she did accommodate him. He was interested in what items were noted to be salvaged from the rubble. The Mayor advised that almost all the wood in the church was infested with either termites or post beetles and that only the stained glass windows would be saved. Susan Troutner mentioned that she is also hopeful that the main church doors can be saved as well. Everything is yet to be determined.
The Mayor advised that the next monthly town meeting will be open to the town constituents to come and discuss ideas and concerns related to the grounds where the church once stood. She noted that an architect will be providing the drawings and plans, for the renovated church grounds, pro bono.
The Council Members made a motion to go into Executive Session to discuss Police Department Personnel and all audience attendees waited for their return. The private session ended at 7:32 p.m. and the meeting was called back to order. The Mayor advised everyone that the town council had agreed to increase the wages of each police officer by $1.00/hour. This will go into effect immediately. The raise in wages is the second increase for the Police Department since the budget meeting in April when they also received an increase of $1.00/hour in their wages. The Town Council also agreed to hire a third police officer. We are unsure if this position was openly posted to the public for application, but the Mayor announced that the council agreed to hire the current Fire Chief, Aaron Simpkins, for the third police officer position. He will be part-time until he can attend the academy for formal training, which will most likely not be until January 2023. Aaron was immediately sworn in at the meeting and his wife, Casey, was present to pin on his police badge.
Mayor Stoker also advised the town members in attendance that all calls to the police department should be routed through the 911 emergency center. Emphasizing that the county/state will dispatch calls for service to the police department or other law enforcement agencies. As a side note, the non-emergency numbers for 911 are 304-487-8364 (or 8379).
Motion to adjourn was called and meeting ended promptly.