Ripley receives substantial Cares Act Funding

Suzette Lowe
Jackson Newspapers

The Ripley City Council had to delay its meeting by a day because of the general election, but for Mayor Rader it was worth the wait.

City treasurer Tom Armstead informed the mayor and council members that Ripley had received $389,822 in Cares Act money from the state. The garbage account received $126,322 for reimbursement of labor and extra expenses incurred in the last six months. The remainder was designated for the general fund with a major portion to reimburse police expenses.

“It was hard keeping this information secret for the past three days while I waited for the council meeting,” Armstead said.

A possible new addition, which could be called “the wave of the future,” is under consideration by City Council.

A representative from Blink, an automotive charging company, presented information about the Clean Cities Block Grant that would enable Ripley to add charging stations for electric cars.

Andrew Hillman informed the Council that the grant from the federal government and the state of Virginia, in cooperation with West Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C., has 200 charging stations available. The focus is to add infrastructure to underserved municipalities.

With Ripley’s location between Charleston and Parkersburg, Hillman said chargers would be valuable to travelers with electric cars. The grant would pay for two chargers, up to $7,000 for additional electrical or other work needed, and warranty for five years.

“While charging their cars, people would be shopping and visiting different venues in the town,” Hillman said. “Having these would draw new people to town. Electric car owners often book their trips based on the location of chargers.”

Council member Danny Martin asked for clarification on the city’s responsibility for the grant. Hillman said that site locations were all that would be required. The city would be required to oversee installation, but the grant would pay for all expenses.

A possible grant application will be the topic at a future council meeting.

Armstead also reported that in the first quarter of this fiscal year, the Home Rule tax has brought in approximately $209,000. This additional one percent tax is levied on any item sold within city limits that is not exempted by the state.

In other business, Carolyn Waybright, Rick Buckley, and Danny Martin:

• Learned city police officers are supporting the Shop with a Cop program by paying $50 each to not shave in November

• Learned the water loss was eight percent, but expected to go down as leaks are discovered and fixed

• Learned the policy and procedure manual for the Board of Zoning Appeals is almost complete

• Heard that several representatives met with Toni Tiano, whose firm has been hired to write grants, resulting in a substantial list

• Approved the mayor’s authority to sign the contract for the new steer cutter approved at the Oct. 20 council meeting

• Learned about various fall and winter activities planned for the city

Council members John McGinley, Bryan Thompson, and Recorder David Casto were absent.

The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the municipal building.