Ravenswood City Council authorized the purchase of a new zero-turn mower and will accept bids for a new Ventrac-style mower to help maintain city-owned grassy areas.

Council discussed the purchase during a 7 p.m. meeting last Wednesday at city hall.

The city currently has three mowers, two zero-turn mowers and a Ventrac that is used for hilly areas. The Ventrac is 17 years old, one of the zero-turn mowers is 16 years old, and the other is 6 years old.

The two older mowers are beginning to exhibit mechanical problems and their unreliability is causing the newer mower to be overused.

City maintenance supervisor Bob Huffman said the newer zero-turn mower is being used so much there is only 1,000 miles difference between it and the one that is 16 years old.

“We’re basically wearing the new one out,” he said.

Council approved the purchase of a new zero-turn mower for $12,409.27. However, because the Ventrac-style mower will cost more than $15,000, the city will have to accept competing bids, Mayor Josh Miller said.

In other business:

• Council approved the first reading of a

housekeeping ordinance to allow municipal court clerk Heath Bloxton to act in the capacity of municipal court judge in the absence if Judge Alvin Lawson.

Bloxton already is certified to do perform the various functions and handles the day-to-day operation of the court, including preparing complaints, collecting fines, and interacting with attorneys, Miller said.

The ordinance approved on first reading Wednesday simply updates the city code to reflect the procedure.

• Council tabled an ordinance that would require residents who own homes located in the flood plain to install back-flow prevention devices or sign a waiver relieving the city of liability.

City attorney Steve Cogar said the ordinance might help protect the city from litigation when back-flow events occur.

The city has installed the devices at multiple city-owned locations with good results, Miller said.

However, council wanted more time to review the ordinance because it would affect about 100 residences located in the flood plain. Additionally, the back-flow prevention devices can be expensive to install. While the ordinance would not require it and would provide a liability waiver as an alternative, the council thought it best to consider all options.

• Huffman announced a vacancy in the maintenance department due to the retirement of an employee. Council granted him authorization to fill the spot.

• Miller reported that he has contacted the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources about a dock at Washington’s River Front Park that detached during recent flooding and washed downriver.

Miller noted the city typically takes them out of the water annually but receives request to leave them in place.

“They’re not supposed to detach like that. It shouldn’t have happened,” Miller said. “We’re not going to have this happen again. If we have to, we’ll set dates every year to put them in and take them out. I don’t care who complains.”

• Parks and recreation superintendent Katrena Ramsey reported that work is progressing on the space below the Washington Museum. The city is renovating the former storage space into an area that can be rented out by citizens wanting to host events.

• Ramsey also reported the city has received $51,000 in grant funding since July 2018, a number that does not include volunteer hours. she said she was pleased with the amount.