Stepped Up Parking Enforcement to Start July 20

Enforcement was scaled back due to stay-at-home/safer-at-home orders

Elkins, W. Va., July 13, 2020: Enforcement of city parking laws will return to normal on Monday, July 20, Elkins officials have announced. After the governor’s declaration of a statewide state of emergency in March, city officials deemphasized and even suspended issuing citations for street sweeper parking restrictions and certain other parking rules in Elkins. With many businesses having reopened, officials say there is a need to return to normal enforcement of street sweeper parking restrictions and all other parking laws in the city.

“Our city, along with the rest of the nation, has experienced extraordinary challenges this year resulting in modifications to business and personal schedules for many,” said Elkins Mayor Van Broughton in a notification letter sent last week to many city businesses and residents. “As many businesses and residents return to modified or normal operating procedures, so shall parking enforcement.”

The mayor’s letter listed violations about which the city hears the most frequent complaints and which may have been receiving reduced enforcement in recent months. These and all other parking violations will now be cited when encountered by enforcement personnel:

  • Parallel parking facing in the wrong direction
  • Street sweeper parking restrictions (please note: vehicles may be parked on the sidewalk temporarily during your designated sweeping time)
  • 3-hour parking limits downtown and in Seneca Mall lot
  • Parking on and other obstructions of sidewalks in all residential and business districts (except during street sweeping)
  • Obstruction of alleyways
  • Parking on Railroad Avenue except in lined spaces near the Delmonte and the Depot (the rest of the street is a no parking zone)

If businesses wish to seek exceptions to these or other parking rules, they should apply to the city clerk by submitting the following information:

  • Contact name, phone number, and email address
  • Name and address of business
  • Description of requested exception and its location
  • The reason for the request

Although not all such requests can be granted, a response will be provided within 14 days.

Residents, business owners, and visitors are reminded that free, unlimited parking is available in the unpaved sections of the lot behind city hall. The street sweeper parking schedule may be found here: www.bit.ly/ElkinsStreetSweeper.

Elkins City Hall Reopening Monday, July 13, 2020

Elkins, W. Va., July 12, 2020: Elkins City Hall, which closed on Thursday and Friday because an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, will reopen Monday morning at 8 a.m. for normal hours of operation.

The purpose of the closure was to prevent any additional virus transmission while the extent of current spread within city hall staff was evaluated. On Thursday, city employees identified as having been in contact with the first affected employee were swabbed for the COVID-19 virus. As per DHHR and CDC guidelines, these employees then self-isolated while awaiting the results of their tests. During the closure, city hall maintenance staff performed deep cleaning of the first affected employee’s workspace and other nearby areas.

Although not all pending test results have been received yet, enough employees have tested negative for the virus to enable resumption of normal city hall operations. So far, no additional employees have tested positive. Employees who have not yet received test results by Monday morning will continue self-isolating at home until their results are received.

Everyone entering city hall is asked to adhere to the following West Virginia Governor’s Office safety guidelines and requirements.

  • Please visit city hall only if there is no other option. Remember that utility bills and municipal court fines can be paid by mail, online, phone, or via the dropbox behind city hall. Questions can be answered by phone or email. See cityofelkinswv.com for more details, including departmental contact information.
  • Wait your turn to enter. As ordered by the W. Va. DHHR, only two people may be admitted to the building’s lobby at a time.
  • Maintain the 6-foot social distancing requirement.
  • Wear a mask and sanitize your hands upon entering. As of July 6, 2020, the governor has ordered that all people wear face coverings inside public buildings. Sanitizer will be available at the counter.
  • Make an appointment to meet with non-Treasurer’s Department personnel. If you require a face-to-face meeting with a city hall employee located on the second floor, please contact that employee in advance, via phone or email, to arrange a time. This meeting will occur on the first floor, in the municipal courtroom, pending availability of that space.

City Hall News: July 13-17, 2020

Elkins, W. Va., July 11, 2020: Elkins City Hall closed Thursday because an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Reopening could occur as soon as Monday, July 13, but we cannot announce a firm reopening date until test results are received by employees who were in contact with that original employee.

Council’s Personnel Committee meets virtually on Monday, at 2 p.m., on an agenda that includes “consideration of Human Resources services” and a personnel issue in the municipal court department.

At Wednesday’s 5 p.m. meeting of the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission, the commission will review its ongoing pandemic response. Commissioners will also hear reports on the Phil Gainer Community Center, parks and recreation, and its overall budget. The commission meets at the Phil Gainer Community Center.

The Elkins Planning Commission continues work on its update to the city’s zoning laws in a virtual meeting on Thursday, at 10:30 a.m. Commissioners will continue work on the language of the new ordinance, review a draft zoning map, and consider proposed updates to the comprehensive plan’s future land use map. The agenda also includes consideration of the zoning ordinance’s enactment process and schedule.

Council meets virtually in regular session Thursday at 7 p.m. The agenda has not yet been finalized but, so far, includes the first reading of the ordinance issuing bonds to fund the Phase 2 Sewer Project, the second reading of the municipal court fee ordinance approved on first reading at the previous council meeting, and budget revisions recommended by council’s Finance Committee. For information about the Phase 2 Sewer Project, please see: www.bit.ly/Phase2Sewer.

The above meetings are open to the public. Login information and agendas for virtual meetings can be found at: www. cityofelkinswv.com/login.

Update Concerning Elkins City Hall COVID-19 Closure

Reopening Date Depends on Pending Test Results

Elkins, W. Va., July 10, 2020: Elkins City Hall remains closed today after one city hall employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus on Wednesday. Reopening could occur as soon as Monday, July 13, but it is not yet possible to announce a firm reopening date.

This closure was ordered because, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, it is possible to carry the virus for as long as two weeks before showing symptoms, and city officials wanted to prevent additional cases being transmitted among other city staff members while the situation was being evaluated.

After learning of the first employee’s positive test and closing the building, city officials followed W. Va. DHHR and Randolph-Elkins Health Department (REHD) guidance to identify and document all known contacts with that first employee during the window of time when transmission might have occurred. City hall maintenance staff also commenced a deep cleaning of the indicated workspaces.

On Thursday, the identified individuals were swabbed for the COVID-19 virus. As per DHHR and CDC guidelines, these employees are required to self-isolate until test results are received.

“Employees whose tests come back negative are permitted to return to work immediately under strict precautions, such as distancing, masks, gloves as needed, and frequent sanitization measures,” said Elkins City Clerk Jessica Sutton. “The original employee who tested positive and any others who may test positive will have to follow individual guidance from the health department as to when and how they can return.”

After analyzing the layout of the building, the testing efforts that are underway, and the extent and nature of city hall employees’ interaction with customers, REHD officials have approved the reopening of city hall to the public once the testing process is complete. City officials are waiting to announce a firm reopening date until test results are received. City hall could reopen as early as Monday if a sufficient number of employees test negative for the COVID-19 virus.

“Of course, if we learn about any new positive cases, we will have to reevaluate additional potential employee exposures and any risk to the public before determining next steps,” said Sutton.

City Hall Closed Starting Thursday

An Employee has Tested Positive for Coronavirus

Elkins City Hall will be closed starting Thursday, July 9 because an employee has tested positive for coronavirus.

We are not able to provide an estimated reopening date at this time. We will update this announcement as soon as possible after further evaluation of this complex and fluid situation.

Please expect delayed responses to any emails or phone messages directed at city staff.

Utilities customers and those needing to pay court costs are reminded that it is possible to do so online.

* To pay utility bills: https://bit.ly/ElkinsBills
* To pay court costs: www.municipalonlinepayments.com/elkinswv

Governor: Face Coverings Required Indoors

At today’s coronavirus briefing, Governor Jim Justice announced an order requiring that “face coverings” be worn “in all public indoor places where social distancing cannot be maintained.”

The order is effective as of 12:01 a.m. on July 7, 2020.

The order does not apply to children under the age of 9 or anyone with a medical condition that counter-indicates wearing a face covering. The governor emphasized that medical-grade masks are not required and that any sort of face covering would be acceptable. (Click here for sew/no-sew mask-making instructions.

In remarks explaining the order and why he has issued it, the governor offered the following examples of when masks should be worn:

  • While entering and exiting your workplace (once inside, you may remove it if an appropriate distance can be maintained from coworkers)
  • At all times while in any retail establishment
  • When entering or exiting a restaurant or bar and otherwise when not actively engaged in the consumption of food or beverages

Click here to read the governor’s order.

City Hall News: July 6-10, 2020

Happy Fourth of July, Elkins! As you celebrate Independence Day today, remember that it is illegal to use “consumer” fireworks inside Elkins city limits. Consumer fireworks include bottle rockets, firecrackers, Roman candles, and other fireworks that explode or launch into the air. Handheld sparklers and ground-based fountains, worms, and smoke bombs are allowed. When using allowed fireworks, please also be considerate of neighbors (and neighbors’ pets).

Council’s Finance Committee convenes virtually on Monday at 10 a.m. to consider various budget adjustments and a request for additional street paving funds. The committee will also hear a report on the city’s current financial position, as well as an update on the city’s application for reimbursement of pandemic-related expenses under the federal CARES Act. Login information for this meeting is here: www.cityofelkinswv.com.

On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., the Elkins Tree Board will hold an in-person meeting in the garden next to the Darden House, adjacent to city hall. The board’s agenda includes budget planning for fiscal year 2021, a report on 2020 grant expenditures, and ongoing tree inventory work.

The city’s glass and yard-waste recycling drop-off location will be closed through Monday. The location will reopen Tuesday at 6:30 a.m.

Reminders About Fireworks Safety and Laws in Elkins

Elkins, W. Va., June 29, 2020: As Independence Day draws closer, Elkins Mayor Van Broughton and city public safety officials are reminding area residents about important precautions and legal restrictions to keep in mind when using fireworks.

“The Chamber has postponed their annual fireworks show until at least Labor Day,” said Mayor Broughton. “In case people are thinking about doing their own fireworks, we just want to make sure everyone’s following the law and staying as safe as possible.”

Although state laws concerning fireworks were loosened in 2016, Elkins city code states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to use, shoot, or discharge consumer fireworks within the City limits.” Violators of the city fireworks ordinance may be fined as much as $500.

“Consumer fireworks—which include firecrackers, rockets, Roman candles, and that sort of thing—are illegal inside city limits,” said Elkins Police Department Chief Travis Bennett. “Basically, if it’s a handheld device like a sparkler, or if it’s a ground-based device like fountains, snakes, or smoke bombs, it’s allowed. If it fires something into the air or explodes, it’s against the law in Elkins.”

Regardless of whether fireworks are being used inside or outside of city limits, Elkins Fire Department Chief Tom Meader hopes everyone will follow certain important safety precautions.

“Don’t let kids use fireworks, don’t use fireworks when you’ve been drinking, and never try to relight fireworks that didn’t go off,” says Chief Meader. “Also, please make sure you have a bucket of water or a garden hose ready just in case you accidentally start something on fire.”

Mayor Broughton hopes residents will consider their neighbors when using fireworks.

“I would ask everybody to stop and think about how their fireworks displays might be affecting others in our community,” says Broughton. “Especially when people use fireworks on days other than the fourth of July, it can cause a lot of anxiety for people with PTSD, like some of our veterans. And no matter what day you do it on, it’s going to be really frightening for a lot of people’s pets. I know people just want to have fun and celebrate America’s birthday, but let’s all try to be as considerate as possible.”

City Hall News, June 29-July 3, 2020

The Elkins Planning Commission meets virtually Wednesday at 1 p.m. to continue drafting a new zoning ordinance. Login information: www.cityofelkinswv.com/login.

Business license renewals are due to the Treasurer’s Department by Tuesday. (If mailed, they must be postmarked June 30.) If you have not yet received a license renewal form in the mail, or if you are applying for your first license, you must first submit a copy of your state business license to the Treasurer’s Department. If you have questions, please call (304) 636-1414, ext. 1318 or ext. 1721.

Council meets virtually Thursday at 7 p.m. The agenda, which is not yet finalized, includes consideration of changes to municipal court fees and penalties as required by House Bill 4958.

Business and occupation (B&O) tax forms for the second-quarter filing period will be mailed this week. Returns are due July 31.

City hall will be closed on Friday, July 3. Trash will be collected on the normal schedule.

City Hall News: June 22-26, 2020

Elkins, W. Va., June 20, 2020: On Monday, city officials will swear in the newest member of the Elkins Police Department, filling one of three current vacancies. In the next fiscal year, which commences July 1, an additional sworn officer position will be created as a result of the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Hiring Program grant award that the department recently received. Candidates on the current Elkins Police Civil Service Commission list are being evaluated to fill these vacancies.

Summer is certification season at the Elkins Fire Department (EFD). Over the next several months, the department will be testing and recertifying its pumps, aerial ladder and related apparatus, and hoses.

In the fall, EFD will be testing for a new Elkins Firefighters Civil Service Commission hiring list. The department’s seven current civil service positions are fully staffed. However, any future vacancies may only be filled with candidates from a civil service list, so anyone interested in a paid firefighter position in Elkins should plan to test this fall.

EFD’s strength and agility test is strenuous and includes running, stair climbing while carrying a hose, dummy dragging, and moving an I-beam with blows from a sledgehammer. Prospective candidates are encouraged to start training now; you may contact the fire department to learn specifics about these requirements: (304) 636-3433.

For several years, the City of Elkins has partnered with the Randolph County Humane Society (RCHS) by hosting adoptable cats in the Elkins City Hall Treasurer’s Department offices. If you are stopping by to pay bills or transact other business at the front counter, please say hello to Penelope, the fourteenth cat we have hosted. For more information about Penelope or other adoptable pets, please contact RCHS: (304) 636-7844.

Council will meet in special session Thursday at 7 p.m. to discuss wording of a consensus statement on current nationwide events. This meeting is public but will be held virtually. Login information is available here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/login.

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