At its Jan. 7 meeting, Ripley City Council heard proposals for two projects that will greatly impact both the city and county.

A representative from a parking management software company presented a detailed plan that would enable parking meter payments to be completed through a cellular phone app.

Teresa Trussell from Pay by Phone, explained that this app will be one alternative to paying the meters with coins. Another option to pay would be to call a toll-free number that will be provided. When the meter is about to expire, an alert will be sent to enable the person to extend the time.

Council members John McGinley, Danny Martin, Bryan Thompson, Rick Buckley, and Carolyn Waybright, along with Mayor Carolyn Rader, learned that the setup fee of $1,500 would be waived if Pay by Phone would be the exclusive parking vendor for the city.

Council will act upon this proposal at its Jan. 21 meeting.

Ripley City Police Chief Brad Anderson reported that a Special Response Team is being formed. Comprised of select members of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and police departments from both the cities of Ripley and Ravenswood, this team will be trained to deal with emergency and high-risk situations that may arise.

“We live in a dangerous world,” Anderson said. “We need officers who are trained to deal with situations that are threats to our community.”

The officers will receive specialized training and equipment.

“Right now, we rely on Kanawha County to send their response team,” Anderson explained. “That can take up to an hour for them to get here. We can’t wait that long so we need to train our officers to respond.”

The start-up cost to the city would be around $7,000 with the annual cost estimated at $2,000.

In other business:

• Mike Ruben, Director of the Ripley Convention and Vistiors Bureau, gave an update on the activities and events that brought business and visitors to Ripley in 2019. He then presented the annual “Admiral in the Mill Creek Navy” award to Suzette Lowe for her efforts to promote Ripley. (see photo on page A5)

• Council approved the third and final reading of the resolution to refinance the water bonds.

• Tom Armstead, Chief Finance Officer, reported that the 1982 Water Bond will be paid off as part of the resolution to refinance the water bonds.

• Council approved to accept a resolution for conditions for the City of Ripley Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant (ECWAG).

• Chief Water Operator Jim Mitchem reported that work has started on the dam.

• Council voted to approve the resignation of Anthony Gaskins, Ripley City Police, effective immediately.

• The retirement of Larry Winter, City of Ripley Maintenance Department, was approved effective Jan. 9.

The next Ripley City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Jan. 21 at the Municipal Building located at 203 South Church Street.