|For the Committee of the Whole meeting on September 27, 2022
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Committee of the Whole Meeting Highlights:
IMPORTANT NOTE: This meeting is being held in the Conference Room at the West Virginia Botanic Garden located at 1061 Tyrone Road. Committee of the Whole meetings of the Morgantown City Council are intended to provide an opportunity for the Council to receive information, ask questions, and identify policy options in an informal setting. No official action is taken at these meetings.
Items For Discussion:
- IMPROVING COORDINATION, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND COMMUNICATION BETWEEN MUB AND THE CITY
Council will discuss moving an ordinance
amending Article 169, relating to Utility Systems, to a future regular meeting agenda. The ordinance proposes five amendments which include:
- Adding a council member to the board to ensure coordination and the free flow of information.
- The board will have 1 Morgantown City Council member and 4 residential customer members.
- The second amendment to the article would add the Morgantown City Manager as a nonvoting member to ensure project coordination and plans at the operational level.
- The third amendment to the Article would give specific authority to the Board to acquire real estate and, consistent with current practice, the real estate will be acquired for “The City of Morgantown, acting by and through the Morgantown Utility Board".
- The fourth amendment to the Article would add a State law requirement for the city to approve rate increases.
- City Council now has the obligation to and does approve rates for Morgantown’s utility system and ensure they are equitable. The ordinance recites the state law requirements for rate setting.
- The fifth amendment to the Article would add a State law requirement for the city to approve construction projects.
- Recent changes to state law removed Public Service Commission jurisdiction to issue a certificate of convenience and necessity for any utility project outside the ordinary course of business for certain municipally owned water and sewer utilities, but the state law added that these projects must be noticed in customer bills and in the newspaper, then approved by resolution or ordinance of City Council. The amendment recites that state law authority.
- It also adds three definitions of projects outside the ordinary course of business:
- (1) projects that cost more than $1 million
- (2) projects that use public parks
- (3) other projects designated by Council as outside the ordinary course of business (if Council does so before construction).
- UPDATING THE CITY'S VACANT STRUCTURE CODE
At the recommendation of the Development Services Director, council will discuss moving an ordinance
amending the city's Vacant Structure Code to a future regular meeting agenda. Amendments to the Article include changing the escalating fee schedule to a flat $100 fee for structures that are not dilapidated. New penalties for failing to allow for inspections.