Rockhold, Wilcox elected council president, vice president

PARKERSBURG – Parkersburg City Council elected a new president and vice president, accepted a donation to help the Downtown Farmers’ Market and said goodbye to an old friend.

Council held its last meeting of 2013 on Tuesday night at the Parkersburg Municipal Building.

Councilman John Rockhold gave a brief report on the Christmas parade that was held along Market Street on Dec. 14.

“It started 18 minutes late in freezing rain,” he said. “People who were tossing out candy, if it didn’t hit the sidewalk, it went into the gutter and the kids were unable to catch it as the water was going so fast.”

Council members, Mayor Bob Newell and their spouses who were present got off the fire truck they were riding and walked from 13th Street to the City Building in the rain to greet people, Rockhold said.

All council members were present for Tuesday’s meeting, except Councilwoman Nancy Wilcox who attended via conference call.

Rockhold was elected unanimously by council to be council president in 2014. He told council members to let him know if they want to change any of their committee assignments, appointments and they would address any concerns in time for the first meeting of the new year.

“We will take all of that under consideration so we can hit the ground running at the first meeting of the new year on Jan. 14 with the new assignments,” he said.

Wilcox was elected vice president in a 5-4 vote against Councilman Mike Reynolds.

Council approved a resolution requesting approval from the State Tax Commissioner for a budget revision for a $50,000 contribution to be expended out of the Development Department for supplies for the Downtown Farmers’ Market. Wilcox’s phone connection was lost and she did not vote on this resolution.

Councilman John Kelly wondered why the resolution did not go through the finance committee.

Newell said the money is a contribution from the Ross Foundation to the city. The city has already received the money and council just needed to vote to move it. The mayor compared it to receiving a grant.

Rockhold said the money was specified for the Farmers’ Market.

The Ross Foundation is a local organization that has been involved in downtown revitalization work.

“They have taken an interest in downtown,” Newell said. “They wanted to grant $50,000 for improvements to the Farmers’ Market.

“It is anything we need to get the Farmers’ Market up and running this spring. There are still some building improvements that need to be made and a fire suppression system that needs to be purchased. They were kind enough to grant us the money for that,” he said.

Before adjournment, city officials wished Ann Conageski, outgoing development director for the city of Parkersburg, good luck in her upcoming retirement which will go into effect in five days. Tuesday was her last city council meeting as the development director.

After the meeting ended, Conageski met individually with a number of city officials, exchanged hugs, handshakes and good wishes.

In other business:

* Council approved the re-appointments of Shawn Andrews, James Green, Eddie Staats and Sherry Dugan to the Municipal Planning Commission for terms to expire March 31, 2016.

* Council approved the reappointments of Lewis Emrick and Judy Ball to the Juliana Square Architectural Review Board through Dec. 31, 2015; and Tom Eagle through March 31, 2016.

* Council approved a resolution reappointing C. Blaine Myers as an Administrative Law Judge for the City of Parkersburg.