Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 16, 2013

Princeton receives flooding funds; Doom officially takes office

By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — The city of Princeton is now closer to eradicating flooding on Stafford Drive following a $250,000 donation from the Hugh I. Shott Jr. Foundation.

R.W. “Buzz” Wilkinson, president of the Shott Foundation, presented the funds to Mayor Patricia “Pat” Wilson at the Princeton City Council meeting this evening.

“We hope you can raise other moneys to match this and have this project done in the spring,” Wilkinson said. “We are glad to be a part of this and wish you well. Mr. Shott wanted to give back to this area and the people who helped him. We are very pleased to help you.”

Wilson expressed appreciation for the funds on behalf of the city.

“I will be in touch with Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox to see where we can go from here,” Wilson said. “This was a pleasant surprise for all of us. We do so appreciate you all, your interest in your town and everything you have done for us. When Delegate John Shott called me on the phone and told me they were going to give us this money and it was already a done deal, you can imagine my surprise. We had not applied for a grant. They just called and said they would do it for our city. I think it is wonderful we have foundations in this area who are willing to come to our cities and help us when we need it. The city of Princeton has a bright future, and we are moving forward with a lot of bright things.”

Four new city employees also took the oath of office during the meeting. New City Manager Elke Doom, Fire Chief Chad Bailey, and new Princeton City Police Officers Diana Aitken and Justin Farris all sworn in by City Clerk Ken Clay.

Doom thanked city employees for welcoming her to the area.

“I don’t have a lot to say since this is only my first day here, but everyone has been very kind and welcoming,” Doom said. “I am really looking forward to working with all of you.”

In other business, Mike Saffel, executive director of the Princeton Sanitary Board, reported to the board that the majority of the upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plant had been completed.

“We have 98 percent of the project completed on plant, and are waiting on programmers to finish off-site operations facilities,” Saffell said. “The project has met its goals and will continue to get better as we keep going. The project was a very wise investment. Princeton should be set up for the next 30 years and will not have to look at any industry wanting to come to Princeton to tell them they have to take the money out of their pocket to upgrade our water plant so you can locate here or out on Exit 9. This will accommodate all future growth.”

Also, Councilman Chris Stanley said City Recreation Director Amanda McKay reported all of the light fixtures at the recreation center had been replaced.

“Patrons  have commented on how nice it looks,” Stanley said. “The project cost $13,512, most of which was from the Governor’s Community Participation Grant for $10,000. New doors were also installed to make sure the building is air tight through a $1,000 donation.”

In addition, the council voted 7-0 with member John Wilborn absent for the fire department to erect a sign reflecting the current fire danger level to the public. The sign will be financed by the West Virginia Forestry Department at no cost to the city, according to Councilman Jimm Norman.

The board also approved 7-0 the city’s financial report for December 2012 as well as an authorization to allow City Manager Elke Doom to sign and act upon any issues relating to the city’s wastewater facility on behalf of the city.  The board also voted to approve a B&O tax incentive to two new businesses: Stitch Upholstery on Thorn Street and Asylum Tattoo and Fine Art on Straley Avenue.

The county also voted 7-0 to appoint Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor George Sitler as a special prosecutor for the city so City Attorney Paul Castle could focus more on his job as city attorney.

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com´┐Ż