BETHANY - When town officials passed through Bethany Town Hall to the Bethany Council meeting room, they got a look at the start of renovations to the building to serve as a social hall.
Mayor Jay Eisenhauer noted crews with Pryor Contracting of Weirton have begun installing insulation at the former fire hall.
The Bethany Fire Department built a new station on state Route 88 several years ago and the town's police department and sanitation and street crews have used most of the building since, with council meeting in a small room at the rear.
Eisenhauer said the company submitted the lowest of five bids, in the amount of $29,900, for the project, which also will involve lowering the garage's ceiling so it may be used as a rental hall for parties and other social events.
The town received a $31,637 grant through the West Virginia Division of Energy and funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to make the building more energy-efficient.
Eisenhauer said state Del. Tim Ennis, D-Brooke, is working to obtain a grant for the town to renovate the hall's kitchen.
There also are plans to build a new garage nearby for the sanitation and street crews' vehicles and equipment.
In other business, council agreed to submit a $253,847 budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year for review by the state auditor's office. It's expected to formally adopt the budget at a special April 19 meeting at 6 p.m. at the town hall.
Eisenhauer said the budget reflects a $2,000 increase for the fire department for continued payments for its newest fire truck and to aid it with increasing costs for worker compensation insurance premiums; a 3-percent pay raise for the town's part-time police department; and a $500 increase in pay for the town recorder.
Council may raise the position's salary because it's among those up for election this year.
In related business, council received a resignation from Shirley Kemp, who has served as treasurer for the town and its sanitation department for nearly 10 years. Kemp said the move was prompted by "a need to cut back on some things" and offered to assist in the training of a new treasurer.
Eisenhauer said, "Shirley's shoes will not be easy to fill."
He said Kemp has worked with Town Recorder Cindy Hoffman to prepare the budgets for the town and sanitation department and handle the payment of expenses for the two and presented monthly financial reports to council and the sanitation board.
The mayor said the town soon will advertise the vacancy, and he hopes to have a list of applicants available for council's review at its April 6 regular meeting.
The salary for the position is $3,200 per year.
Council also learned Bethany College students will be conducting a survey to gage residents' interest in local government and opinions about the town.
The students are members of a class on public opinion taught by Bethany Councilman Pat Sutherland, a communications professor at the school.
Sutherland said the survey will be conducted by mail or door-to-door in late March or early April.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)