Mayor Andy Lang Swears in Trio of Bridgeport Police Officers at Quick and Busy Session of City Council

By Jeff Toquinto on May 15, 2018 via

Bridgeport Police Chief John Walker said there was a time, several years ago, when the thought was if you worked for the city’s law enforcement branch that the worst you may have to deal with is a shoplifting crime. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case.
“Things have changed,” said Walker.
On Monday, Bridgeport City Council made sure the department can keep up with those changes. Mayor Andy Lang officially swore in three of the department’s newest members with family members by their side. Lang administered the oath for new officers Kristopher Burgess, Justin Manson, and Derek Stallman.
“These are the best and brightest the (Police) Academy has,” said Walker. “They will be a tremendous asset to our community.”
The trio have already begun working for the city. Recently, Bridgeport Community Development Director Andrea said that along with completing their time at the academy, the three officers have been working in a “shadowing” role with veteran officers.
The issue was the highlight among several new business items in a meeting where the work session prior to the meeting lasted longer than the actual meeting.
Other new business saw Council unanimously approve a business sustainability incentive for Johnstone Supply. The HVAC supplier plans on building a new facility on Platinum Drive as is looking to take advantage of the incentive for a 90-40-40 tax incentive, which provided  a tax credit of 90 percent in the first year of operation followed by 40 percent in each  of the next two years.
Kerr told Council the company met all the requirements to receive the incentive. The Bridgeport Development Authority previously signed off on the plan.
Council gave a unanimous endorsement to the appointment of Frank Sutton to the Development Authority. Sutton will serve for three years.
During the regular session, residents Robert Marra and Roy Patrick Hall addressed the city’s governing body. The pair were concerned with the recent resignation of Parks and Recreation employee Donnie Tate who has handled the preparation and upkeep of the Bridgeport Recreation Complex as field supervisor.
The pair were hoping something could be done to bring Tate back to the employment of the city.  City Manager Kim Haws, in line with long-time city policy, did not offer any comment on matters involving personnel.
Prior to the meeting, Wendy Moeller of Compass Point Planning had a 45-minute give and take with Council and members of the Bridgeport Planning Commission on a the five-year update of the city’s comprehensive plan. The plan serves as a blueprint for development in the city. More on Moeller’s exchange with those in attendance and future community involvement in the days ahead on Connect-Bridgeport.
The only other issue addressed during the work session was on the Tax Increment Finance District being proposed for the North Central West Virginia Airport.  Bond Counsel Tom Aman of Steptoe & Johnson addressed concerns regarding parts of the TIF District being outside the city limits by saying the revised district will now only be located within Bridgeport’s municipal boundary.
For several years, the TIF district at the airport has been discussed and planned and finally took a big step forward Monday. Once back in the regular session, Council unanimously approved to give consent to approve the TIF district. The Harrison County Commission will have final say over the matter.
If approved, the property values within the TIF district would be frozen and tax dollars from that would continue to go to the city. Any incremental increases in the value of that property would then be used to pay for infrastructure and other items allowed in state TIF districts.
Prior to the regular session, there will be a 6 p.m. work session. One of the key items will be talk on the update of Bridgeport’s Comprehensive Plan, which serves as a development guidance tool. The city typically updates the plan every five years.
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Mayor Andy Lang administering the oath to serve as a Bridgeport Police Officer to Derek Stallman and followed by the oath being given to Kristopher Burgess and Justin Manson, respectively.

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