Westover City councilmember resigns

The next city council meeting will be at 6 p.m. June 4, at the Westover city building.

WESTOVER — Westover councilmember-at-large James Elvis Austen resigned midterm Monday night, citing personal reasons.

After all business had been concluded at Monday evening’s regular city council meeting, Austen asked to read a statement to the council confirming his resignation.

“Mayor Johnson and council members,” he said, “it was a hard decision to make, but I submit my resignation as councilmember-at-large of the city of Westover. My resignation will take affect May 22, 2018.”

“I want to say I am grateful to the great citizens of Westover who elected me to do the job before you, but due to my circumstances outside of my control, I could not longer serve to the best of my ability. I want to thank everybody once again.”

Mayor David Johnson thanked him for his service and adjourned the meeting.

Austen said he hoped to be able to come back as a councilmember at another time.

“I hope to be able to come back to the city council one more time, but at this time I need to resign my position,” he said. “I have to concentrate on my family and on my own health. At this point, I am no longer going to be a councilmember for the city of Westover.”

City officials could not be reached for comment on how Austen will be replaced in time for this report.

Other business

  • Police Chief Richard Panico said the department had responded to 451 calls over the last two weeks, and had 27 people call in with tips in conjunction with the department’s Facebook tip page efforts.
  • Panico said a state audit for the department’s evidence room had done very good results. He said they would be implementing some new measures  in compliance with state regulations. He said there would be an auction of about 60 weapons from the room.
  • Panico said the police department is stopping vehicles to educate people about taking garbage to the Solid Waste Transfer station uncovered. They have been stopping people and asking them to provide a cover of some kind, so the city does not have to pick up or worry about debris flying off.
  • City Clerk Sandra Weis said early voting would begin on May 30. She said polls would also be open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 2 and June 9. Election day is June 12, and the polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. She said the election will be a ward election and those who needed to know what ward they are in could call city hall for information.
  • Weis said she had found a sound system for the city to purchase for council meetings. She asked the council for approval to move forward with the proposal because the cost would be less than $4,000 and would not need to be an agenda item.
  • Mayor Johnson said the city has been working on patching potholes and is working with the state Division of Highways on how to fix the infrastructure of Holland Avenue to keep the sewer system from running over. He said Holland Avenue is not on the list of roads to be fixed under the road bond, but they are working on a solution.
  • City council members voted unanimously for the first reading of a 50 cent per hour raise for city employees for the fiscal year of 2018-2019.
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