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City manager search, food trucks before council

BACK TO THEIR CHAMBERS — Follansbee Council returned to meeting in their chambers at the Follansbee City Building on Monday while still wearing masks to deter spread of COVID-19. -- Warren Scott

FOLLANSBEE — Mayor David Velegol Jr. updated council on the search for a new city manager and appearances by various food trucks on Penn Street over the next several months.

The update came during Monday’s city council meeting.

Velegol said on May 17, two applicants for the city manager’s position will be interviewed by council members and members of an advisory committee he formed to help determine the most suitable candidate.

The committee includes local business owners and clergy, current and former council members, area city managers and others.

Following the meeting, Velegol said he expects to nominate one for council’s consideration at a special meeting to be held sometime soon afterward.

He said with help from City Attorney Michael Gaudio, he’s condensing questions from both groups into about 30 to be put before the two candidates during the private interviews.

The search began soon after the death in January of John DeStefano, who served as city manager for 16 years.

Jack McIntosh, the city’s water superintendent, has served as interim city manager since DeStefano was hospitalized with COVID-19 in December.

Velegol also announced plans to host various food trucks outside the City Building on Penn Street for the next several months.

The trucks are intended as a hint of the types of activities Velegol hopes to include in his plans to create a town square from the street between state Route 2 and Virginia Avenue.

Velegol said he hopes the square will draw interest in the city’s downtown business district.

Council has hired a grant writer to seek funds for it and other projects.

Tapped to appear from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. are Rusty Bull Tacos on May 12, Martoni’s Oven Baked Pizza on May 19 and Revival Chili on May 26.

Velegol added Lou Casini’s jazz quartet will perform around noon on May 12 and the Hot Bunz food truck will offer breakfast food at the site from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. May 25.

In other business:

• McIntosh asked council to consider streets that may be added, as a change order, to the city’s paving contract with Carl Kelley Paving of Rayland.

Council previously approved the paving, at a cost of about $200,000, of Kilkenny, Heather Moor, Tartan and Woodlawn drives; the west sides of Mark and Gilbert avenues, the parking area at Parkview Park, Alley H and the 700 to 1000 blocks of Virginia Avenue.

The work was postponed from the fall due to the contractor’s availability.

• McIntosh said steps are being taken to correct a leak in the city swimming pool that had resulted in two to three inches of water escaping it each day.

He said plans call for the pool to reopen on the Friday before Memorial Day.

City crews employed various measures to keep the pool open last year under COVID-19 restrictions.

• Fifth Ward Councilwoman requested a speed limit sign on Highland Hills Drive to remind motorists of the 15 mile per hour speed limit there.

Plans call for the sign to replace a “Slow” sign on the street.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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