Ripley City Council is proceeding with plans to address downtown parking.

A part-time position for a Parking Enforcement Attendant was approved at a rate of $10 per hour. This person, who will be under the supervision of the City Police Chief, will be trained in any new parking payment options and will be authorized to issue warnings and citations.

The first reading of Article 303 Overtime Parking Penalty was conducted at the Jan. 21 meeting. If approved, the fine for overtime parking would be raised to $5. The current fine is $3. Any public comment can be made at the next two council meetings where the article will get its required second and third readings.

City Policy Chief Brad Anderson, when first suggesting raising the fine, said that Ripley’s has one of the lowest fees in the area. The neighboring town of Spencer charges $3 for parking fines, but if there is a violation of the two-hour limit on free parking, the fine is $5. Ravenswood does not issue tickets, while Charleston’s fine is $10.

At its last meeting, Council heard a presentation by PayByPhone to allow an option for paying parking meters with an app. The contract is under review and will be acted upon at the next regular meeting.

Council members Rick Buckley, John McGinley, Carolyn Waybright, Bryan Thompson, Danny Martin, and City Recorder David Casto also heard a presentation from Main Street Ripley.

Marsha Humphrey, Main Street Ripley board president, shared that the organization is inaugurating a “Four Season Race” which will feature events in January, March, July, and October.

“We’re very excited and have a great team working on this,” Humphrey said. “These types of races can attract hundreds of racers. Our biggest hurdle will be getting sponsors to cover the cost which is $2,500 per race.”

Mayor Carolyn Rader enthusiastically supported this upcoming race series saying she could see great benefit to the city and to local businesses.

“I was impressed in the meeting we had,” Rader said. “It was obvious that great thought had gone into this. I think it’s a super idea.”

Council approved sponsoring the first race, “Spring it Forward,” on March 7.

Council then went into a closed-door executive session for 19-minutes for a personnel issue. No action was taken.

In other business:

• Council recognized Morgan Pursley (Jackson County Fair Queen), Courtney Winter (WV Chocolate Festival Queen), and Kelsey Hill (Ripley Fourth of July Queen).

• Mayor Rader was authorized to sign a resolution to apply for a $1 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Council for the city’s sewer project.

• Construction on the dam by the water plant will begin Feb. 3, with completion scheduled for March 31, weather permitting.

• Council set date for a work meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 30, to discuss projects for the calendar year 2020.

The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. Feb. 4 at the Municipal Building.