New Morgantown council members sworn in

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Five of six members of Morgantown city council were sworn in Thursday afternoon in a city hall ceremony. A write-in candidate who ran for Morgantown City Council representing the Third Ward, is ready to put her best foot forward. Third Ward representative Ixya Vega was unable to attend and will be sworn in at the July 6 council meeting.

A priority for the incoming council will be fill the vacant seat in First Ward. Patrick Hathaway won the election but vacated the seat due to an out-of-state employment opportunity.

Daniell Trumble will serve Fifth Ward residents for the next two years and one of her first priorities is to fill that seat in the First Ward. “I look forward to working with the rest of council to find a good representative for the First Ward,” Trumble said,” Whether that’s through appointment or election we need to decide that as soon as possible.”

On the MUB rate increase, Trumble cited a recent previous increase and wants more information about the current proposed increase.

The previous council maintained virtual meetings, and will continue virtually on July 6. The new council is expected could make a decision to return to in-person meetings at that meeting. Trumble told the previous council during public comment that she felt the meetings should be in-person.

“I hope that after this first virtual meeting we are back to in-person,” Trumble said,” I’m ready to be in chambers, I think this is where meetings are supposed to be held.”

For the next two years, Brian Butcher will represent the Seventh Ward. In addition to filling the seat in First Ward, Butcher wants to focus on getting public input regarding how coronavirus relief money is spent.

“Figuring out a good way to incorporate community involvement in what our citizens think is the best way to spend that money,” Butcher said,” I think it’s an unprecedented opportunity and we have to make sure we do it correctly.”

Butcher has considered the proposed MUB rate increase and would like more information before making a nod in either direction.

“It would be unfortunate if we had to go through with it,” Butcher said,” I need to have more insight and data on it before I could give a full honest answer.”

Two-term councilor in the Sixth Ward, Dave Harshbarger could be a candidate for mayor but said he’s not ready to make that step at this point in his public service. Additionally, Harshbarger is excited to work with the four new council members.

Harshbarger also serves on the board of directors for the Mon River Trails Conservancy. Trail improvements and bringing activities and the back to places like the newly renovated Hazel Ruby McQuain Park and the Ruby Amphitheater.

“It has such the opportunity to be a focal point for our community, for people to have a fun time downtown,” Harshbarger said,” Bring people back downtown to do things, have shows and events- I’m excited about that.”

Bill Kawecki from the Second Ward and Jenny Selin from the Fourth Ward will be the first members to serve four year terms under a recent change approved by voters to the city charter. Both will serve until June 30, 2025.