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Town Council approves MARC train funding, Ghosh Engineers, Inc., agreement

By Staff | Nov 22, 2019

Officer Michael "Doc" Moats, photo by Toni Milbourne

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The monthly Town Council meeting on Nov. 12 addressed a number of issues immediately facing the Corporation of Shepherdstown, beginning with a Sick Leave Bank Policy revision for the Corporation of Shepherdstown’s employees.

The decision to allow sick leave to be donated to a bank, similar to how the federal government’s employees can donate leave to a bank for other employees in need to use, was unanimously passed with little discussion.

“We have long-term employees, and sometimes they have long-term stuff come up, so I think it’s high time we establish the Sick Leave Bank Policy revision,” said Mayor Jim Auxer as he introduced the matter.

Auxer also announced that the town will have free metered parking from Dec. 16 to Jan. 6.

Chief of Police Mike King was given the floor, to praise the work of Officer Michael “Doc” Moats, who received the Shepherdstown Police Department’s Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer award at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’s 19th Annual Public Service Banquet on Oct. 29. Although King said all of the department’s staff deserved to receive the award, Moats was nominated because of his dedication to the department.

“It’s kind of hard to pick out who deserved the award, but in this case, we chose Doc because he procured grants to purchase radio equipment costing $3,500 a piece,” King said, mentioning Moats is also the officer who volunteers to give tours of the department. “If any of your kids have come in to see the police department, he was the one who showed them around.”

The meeting’s most polarizing moment then came up, as the Town Council had to decide whether or not to agree to help fund the MARC agreement. Although the town had previously agreed to leave the funding up to the state to provide, the town since realized that was not going to happen, after all of the other towns in Berkeley County and Jefferson County agreed to help fund the agreement.

Councilmembers first made a motion to stand by the town’s previous decision, but after further discussion, a second motion was made, to round up the $2,700 funding request and give $3,000 to fund the MARC train. The second motion passed, with two votes in opposition and one council member abstaining from the vote.

“I think it’s important that we go on record as being for the MARC train,” said councilwoman Deb Tucker, who also said the town should ask the state to add to that number the $28,000 the town spent, buying lights for the James Rumsey Bridge, the cost of which was never refunded by the Department of Highways.

The Town Council approved a recommendation from the Water and Sanitary Board for the town to finalize an agreement with Ghosh Engineers, Inc. Following the recommendation’s unanimous approval by the Town Council, the mayor signed the agreement, identifying Ghosh Engineers, Inc., as the town’s engineering firm.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s Eastern Panhandle representative, Richard Dennis, attended the meeting, which he said was part of his plan “to get around to all of the city and town councils, to keep my fingers on the pulse of this area.”