WHEELING — After an atypical three-week break since their last regular meeting, members of Wheeling City Council are heading into Tuesday’s meeting with a full slate of new business that includes spending of American Rescue Plan Act funds.
The first Wheeling City Council meeting of June will take place at noon on Tuesday at the City-County Building on Chapline Street.
New ordinances are expected to receive first readings for the expenditure of big chucks from the city’s pool of federal pandemic relief funds through the ARPA allocation, which originally totaled around $29.5 million. The city must spend the money by the end of 2024 on community investments that meet strict eligibility requirements as outlined by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Ordinances set to be introduced on Tuesday include a $1,185,110 allocation to the Wheeling Park Commission for various improvements to facilities at Wheeling Park and a $1,495,400 allocation to the Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority for improvements to WesBanco Arena and the Capitol Theatre.
City leaders described these projects as investments into key entities in the city that are not only utilized by the citizens of Wheeling but also draw visitors from outside of the city and generate tourism dollars.
Also on Tuesday’s agenda are several items related to routine chemical purchases for the city’s Water Treatment Plant, a handful of traffic rule amendments and several resolutions related to applications by property owners for participation in the city’s popular Facade Grant program.
Prior to Tuesday’s city council meeting, the Wheeling Municipal Building Commission is scheduled to meet once again to discuss the city’s proposed $69.5 million Pension Bond. A Zoom meeting with a legal team of legal, public finance and pension funding experts from across the state and around the nation is set to take place beginning at 11 a.m. Tuesday in both of the third-floor city of Wheeling conference rooms at the City-County Building on Chapline Street.
Wheeling is the first city in West Virginia to be eligible to take advantage of a new financing option to cover the cost of its outstanding police and fire department pension liabilities. A new bill that was signed into law earlier this year made the new pension financing approach possible. The venture is expected to save the city a significant amount of money in the long run, officials have said.
Wheeling City Council had originally scheduled a public hearing on the public nuisance action against the Wheeling Inn. The hearing had been slated to take place on Thursday, June 9. However, the City Clerk’s office announced on Friday that the public hearing had been postponed and will likely be rescheduled for sometime in July.
In early May, a majority of city council members voted to accept City Manager Robert Herron’s recommendation to declare the Wheeling Inn a public nuisance in light of a detailed report from the Wheeling Police Department outlining several calls to service and criminal activity reports that were logged in recent years on and around the downtown property.
Operation of the Wheeling Inn reportedly ceased following the city’s vote on May 3, and a number of individuals who had been living at the property were relocated with the help of local homeless advocates and community leaders.