Council updated on slip problem

LOCAL CHAMPS — Follansbee city officials on Monday recognized the Seminoles as winners of the Follansbee Youth Basketball League Championship. Taking part were, front, from left, Austin Clifton and Enzo DiMarzio; middle, coach Joe Campinelli, teammates Harley Morris, Caleb Stephen, Kaiden Shaffer, Jace Campinelli and Logan Fedak; Councilman John Casinelli; and City Manager John DeStefano: and back, council members George Robinson, Kathy Santoro and Angela Kidder; Mayor David Velegol Jr., Councilman Rudy Cipriani and City Clerk David Kurcina. Ryelee Taylor also is a member of the team. -- Warren Scott

FOLLANSBEE — City Council on Monday was updated on efforts to alleviate a slip problem on Upper Walnut Street.

City Manager John DeStefano said heavy runoff from the adjacent hillside led to the street buckling, a water line beneath it breaking and a yard below it shifting.

DeStefano said he doesn’t know in what order the three events occurred, but steps have been taken to address it.

He said city crews repaired the water line while the gas company has installed a temporary line to the residence of Dave Scheetz, which had been without heat following the slip.

The city manager added crews have installed a french drain and tied it in to a nearby culvert and created shelves in the yard of Leonard Woods to alleviate the shift.

DeStefano noted that with council’s support, crews with Keith Yost Excavating of Wellsburg were called in as an emergency measure. He said whether the city can do more, such as installing a retaining wall, will depend on whether a declaration of emergency issued by Gov. Jim Justice for the weekend of Feb. 17 is extended to include the following weekend, when the slip occurred.

DeStefano noted Bob Fowler, Brooke County director of emergency management, has been collecting information about damages and expenses spurred by the two weeks of heavy rain.

He said there’s been no sign of further shifting.

In other matters, as council prepares to adopt a budget for the 2018 fiscal year, members discussed whether funds are available to replace aging playground equipment.

Councilman at large John Casinelli proposed drawing from the city’s Urban Development Action Grant fund, which was established using in-lieu-of tax payments made by Wheeling-Nisshin Inc. years ago.

Second Ward Councilwoman Angela Kocher suggested seeking grants, and DeStefano said often grants are available through the playground equipment’s suppliers.

Council also mulled advertising for a new cleaning service or hiring a part-time person to clean the City Building, Follansbee Library and Community House.

He said the City Building and library are cleaned twice a week while the Community House, a rental hall near Follansbee Park, is cleaned according to its use.

The library is run as a branch of the Brooke County Public Library but the building is owned by the city.

City Attorney Michael Gaudio suggested city crews or summer help could be put to work cleaning the Community House.

No action was taken on the matter Monday.

In other business:

¯ Mayor David Velegol Jr. and council recognized the Seminoles as the winning team for the Follansbee Youth Basketball League championship. The team defeated the Mounties 32-29 and ended with a season record of 13-1.

Coached by Joe Campinelli, the team includes Austin Clifton, Enzo DiMarzio, Harley Morris, Caleb Stephen, Kaiden Shaffer, Jace Campinelli, Logan Fedak and Ryelee Taylor.

¯ Council observed a moment of silence for Bob Miller Sr., a longtime city employee who died Feb. 26 following a lengthy battle with cancer.