Chamber venue offers forum for Shepherdstown concerns and successes
On Jan. 28, at the Bavarian Inn, Shepherdstown Mayor Jim Auxer addressed the Chamber of Commerce at their monthly meeting to discuss recent happenings within Shepherdstown as well as some public concerns voiced by its denizens.
After a brief introduction, Auxer addressed the Chamber by reviewing the recent developments and difficulties faced by Shepherdstown over the preceding year. He began by lauding the snow removal efforts on behalf of residents and town workers.
Budgetary concerns were also discussed, in which the mayor emphasized frugality and his efforts to prevent the town from incurring debt, which to date has been successful as Shepherdstown has no debts at present.
Auxer commented that nearby-community annexation efforts are underway. Though contested by some, he hopes that the project will expand Shepherdstown and create a beneficial situation for all involved while generating revenue for the town.
He addressed environmental concerns related to snow removal, stating that-to protect local ecosystems-the snow was not simply being dumped into nearby rivers.
Additionally, the mayor discussed plans to create a bio-solid renewal plant that would allow sludge-which is typically shipped to landfills, a process he says is costly and inefficient-to be distributed for use in local farms. He laments that the process, though long underway, has only reached three percent completion over a two-year period.
Efforts to initiate Home Rule, the mayor said, are also underway and would grant Shepherdstown increased autonomy while saving money for the town’s budget.
In a question and answer session following his speech, the mayor addressed qualms over the lack of parking in Shepherdstown. Though he said that little can be done to mitigate the circumstances-given that Shepherdstown was initially designed for horses and not automobiles-he did go over plans to turn Sarah Cree Hall into a parking garage though he said that the procedure would be quite costly and is not a top priority.
In a related side-note, the mayor discussed the possibility of initiating a “passport system,” in lieu of traditional parking meters, which would enable online or phone-enabled payment for parking services as has been instituted elsewhere.
Mayor Auxer thanked the audience and, when discussing some of the problems faced by Shepherdstown, said, “People in Shepherdstown believe in the common good.” This belief is to what Auxer credits the continued success of the town.