CAPON BRIDGE — The Capon Bridge Town Council gave initial approval to new water and sewer ordinances at last week’s meeting, and discussed changing the timing of municipal elections to coincide with the national election schedule, combining town with state and national elections. 

Town Clerk Penny Feather reported that County Clerk Eric Strite said that since the town of Capon Bridge is a separate precinct, voting on municipal offices could be handled by the county’s election system. 

This would greatly increase the total number of voters in municipal elections — a total which has sometimes failed to reach double digits. 

The change would require regularizing the intervals at which town officials are elected. Currently, town elections take place in consecutive years, followed by 2 years without an election, and the Town Council expressed a strong interest in changing this to a regular 2-year election cycle. 

The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office oversees elections in the state, and will be consulted to see if this can be done. 

Feather reported that Strite also thinks the Capon Bridge Town Hall should be used as the polling place for municipal elections, rather than the Ruritan Community Center. Town Hall is where early voting takes place and where the town government does business. 

The Town Council is just beginning the process of passing new water and sewer ordinances. If passed, Capon Bridge’s new sewer rates will not go into effect until fall — and there will be no change in water rates at all. 

On the bills mailed out Oct. 6, the minimum charge for sewer system customers will go up to $51.33 a month from $33.10 — covering processing of up to 3,000 gallons. The cost for each 1,000 gallons of sewage processed will go up to $17.11, from $13.28. 

Mayor Laura Turner pointed out that the town does not want to raise sewer rates, but has no choice. The sewer system must take in enough money to cover its expenses, and currently it is operating in the red. 

Water rates will not change because the only changes being made in the water system ordinance will bring the town’s leak adjustment policy into compliance with regulations of the state Public Service Commission. 

The leak adjustment policy allows for reductions in unusually high bills received by water system customers due to leaks. A customer’s water bill must be at least double the normal amount to qualify for leak adjustments, and under the revised policy, charges for the excess usage will be billed at 89 cents per 1,000 gallons, rather than being completely forgiven. 

Public hearings will be held on both ordinances at Town Hall on July 12, with the sewer system ordinance hearing scheduled at 7 p.m., and the water system ordinance hearing at 7:45 p.m. 

The Town Council is also working on a “nuisance lot” ordinance imposing fines where conditions on private property endanger public health and safety. The ordinance covers numerous problems, from junk cars and trash to water pollution and noxious odors. 

Though they had planned to have the nuisance lot ordinance ready for a public hearing on July 12, council members instead tabled it for further discussion at the July meeting. They are also working on revisions to the town building code to be discussed at the July meeting. 

In other business, Mayor Turner reported that Bridge Brothers has dropped their demand for additional payment for installing the bridge on Duff Lane, and the town’s final payment has been mailed to them. 

Police Chief Miles Spence reported the police department is considering installing cameras at several points along U.S. 50, noting that this would help with investigations. He assured council members that there are no privacy issues involved with taking photos along state roads. 

Mayor Turner reported that the latest tests of Cacapon River water done by Friends of the Cacapon rate the Capon Bridge sewer plant’s performance as excellent, even though the town is still using the old sewer plant while a new one is constructed. 

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