Ransom named police chief
A new Shepherdstown police chief was named at this week’s town council meeting, and the council discussed requests for upcoming events and as well as old business regarding the riverfront revitalization project.
At the first council meeting held in the new Town Hall, the council kicked off its meeting Tuesday night with the swearing in of the new chief of police, former acting Chief David Ransom.
Ransom said he wants to thank all the residents of Shepherdstown for all their support.
“I look forward to serving the citizens of Shepherdstown to the best of my ability,” he said Wednesday.
The new chief announced the addition of officer Matt Harper to the force and in another short pinning ceremony, officer James Cummings was promoted to corporal.
The council also approved requests made for the annual Freedom’s Run event in October and well as a request made by Friends of the Shepherdstown Library for their “Summer Friday Night Films” series being held in July and August.
The council heard from residents Ed Zahniser and Nathaniel Hitt of Sustainable Shepherdstown Tuesday evening about the possibility of a collaboration between the sustainability group and the council on various projects in the future.
Mayor Jim Auxer suggested revitalizing a former subcommittee of the council that was previously chaired by Keith Alexander but has since been disbanded due to lack of projects.
Hitt explained that he foresees forming a partnership that unites the council, Sustainable Shepherdstown and local arts organizations, like the Contemporary American Theater Festival, behind a “consensus goal.”
He suggested the group could work to reduce Shepherdstown’s carbon emission by 50 percent in the next five to 10 years as an example.
A visitor from the Catholic Diocese of Arlington Office of Youth Ministry WorkCamp also gave a presentation before the council in hopes of getting applications fees waived for the six projects the group is currently seeking approval for from town government.
Terry Simons said the fees would cost $120 total.
Council member David Springer cautioned against the council setting a precedent by agreeing to waive application fees, though he lauded the nature of the WorkCamp project which would provide maintenance to area homeowners’ houses.
Spurring applause form the members of the public in attendance at the meeting, resident Tom Shantz volunteered to write a check to the program to cover the fees.
During Mayor Auxer’s report he addressed the progress of the 250th celebration, and gave an update on the new Town Hall, which is currently being furnished and fully outfitted before an open house will held later this summer.
The Mayor also gave an update on the Riverfront Revitalization Partnership which has been working since its last public meeting in April to prepare an final report for the town council.
In a statement that he prepared and presented at Tuesday’s meeting, the Mayor charged the council with the task of taking the suggestions made by the riverfront partnership and taking the lead on them.
“As members of the town council we have a legal and moral responsibility to be stewards of all town-owned property and assets,” he said.
The mayor pointed to specific projects highlighted in the report that he believes can be accomplished by the town in the short term.
The Mayor and council went on to thank the members of the partnership for the work they’ve done.
Read next week’s Chronicle for a full story on the report.