The Ripley City Council recently accepted the resignation of councilman Ray Anderson who left his position to become the new Public Relations Officer (PRO) at Ripley Middle School. With big shoes to fill, the council discussed Anderson’s replacement and nominated Rick Buckley for the empty seat.

Buckley is no stranger to Ripley or the ways of the council. Having grown up in Parkersburg he has always been familiar with the town. When his work with the United States Department of Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) took him to Charleston in 1992, he and his wife decided to make Ripley their permanent home.

“Being from Parkersburg, I was familiar with Ripley and I liked the area here,” Buckley said.

Buckley and his wife Ruth have raised two twin boys, Aaron and Adam, now 34-years-old, in the Ripley school system. Buckley has been a coach of basketball, baseball, and soccer teams on which his sons played while Ruth was a stay-at-home mom and volunteer member of the PTO.

In 1994, Buckley was asked by Bill McGinley to be on the City of Ripley’s Solid Waste Authority, to which he accepted. He has now been the chairman of the Solid Waste Authority for over 20 years as well as the chairman of the county’s recycling program.

About nine years ago, Buckley received a call from Mayor Carolyn Rader’s office indicating she wished to speak with him.

“One day I was coming through town around a quarter to seven on a Tuesday night and I noticed council was getting ready to meet,” Buckley said. “I stopped and thought I would check with her real quick. She was in council chambers, saw me come in and pointed to the back door. I followed her to her office and she shut the door behind her, I thought I was in trouble.”

It was at that time that Rader presented him with a paper from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection regarding the city’s sewer issues. She then asked Buckley to be on the Sanitary Board.

Since that time he has been working on the Sanitary Board and has assisted with the sewer project for the City of Ripley.

Since moving to Ripley in 1992, he has been a very active part of not only school and city issues, but also as treasurer of his church, West Ripley Church of Christ.

Buckley was sworn in and took his place on the council during the bi-monthly council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 20.

In other business:

• Council approved the reading of the minutes as presented by recorder David Casto.

• Financial statements were approved for payment.

• Chief of Police Brad Anderson reported that patrolman Skurupey received a score of 98.7 while at the West Virginia State Police Academy.

• City Attorney Kevin Harris brought an issues to the council on behalf of Amy Haskins with the County Health Department regarding emotional support animals being allowed in local restaurants. Harris suggested a meeting with himself, Rader, and Haskins to determine what jurisdiction the issue fell under.

• Jim Mitchem reported the dam is still leaking no more or less than it has been. Council is hoping the issue will be resolved on Sept. 5.

• Council discussed the possibility of a Ripley Developmental Authority which would be a conduit to the city. Additional discussion will be needed to complete the determination.

• With the assistance of Coplin Health Insurance, the Ripley City Park will be getting an exercise area. The area will be 25 feet by 30 feet and will include exercise machines.

• Council approved the third reading of the WDA Design loan.

• A paving project is underway in Ripley for several streets that are needing attention. Bids were recently accepted by the city and council accepted WV Paving’s bid at $119,788.

• The city has received a grant from the USDA to build a new dam at the water treatment facility. Bids were placed for the dam and with FAMCO winning the bid.

• Doug Skeen updated the council on Home Rule. Four possible ordinances were discussed: the first being on the spot code enforcement for litter, weeds, trash, or unkept property, the second – development of a foreclosure registry, where the lender would need to notify the city thus opening up the communication lines with housing in the community, third – shortening the time for forfeiture of property, and fourth – imposition of the one percent sales tax. The tax would be collected by the state tax department and begin July 2020. This tax would not effect groceries, pharmaceuticals, or gasoline purchases. It would benefit the city on items such as sidewalks, parks and recreation, fairs and festivals, etc.

• Rader recommended the council make a donation to the WE CARE program to purchase door stops that would assist in slowing down possible tragedies in Jackson County schools. Council agreed and approved a donation of $2,500 which will purchase stops for 25 doors.

“I challenge the Ravenswood City Council to do the same,” Rader said smiling.