MORGANTOWN — Will there be trick-or-treaters making the rounds in the city of Morgantown this Halloween?
If so, what will Beggars Night look like in light of COVID-19?
Morgantown City Council and city administration will provide answers to those questions when council meets on Oct. 6.
During Tuesday’s regular meeting, Interim City Manager Emily Muzzarelli recommended approval of a plan to move forward with trick-or-treating on Oct. 31, with a number of suggested safety precautions.
Those precautions included:
- Staying in your own neighborhood
- Keeping groups small
- Staying outside and giving others plenty of space
- Wearing cloth masks and sanitizing hands before eating candy
- For residents, instead of using a bowl, spread candy out on a table and keep your lights off if you don’t wish to participate.
Muzzarelli explained the recommendation came after consultation with County Health Officer Lee Smith of the Monongalia County Health Department.
While the general consensus from council seemed to support allowing trick-or-treating, there was a push to provide additional time to allow for community feedback and the creation of specific safety guidelines.
Councilor Bill Kawecki pointed to concerns voiced by leadership of the South Park Neighborhood Association, explaining the wider community should get an opportunity to weigh in before kids go door-to-door.
“South Park has always been a place where numbers of people, our neighbors and guests, have come to share in the celebration,” Kawecki said. “Given the current circumstances of the pandemic, is that something of a problem?”
The topic will likely be up for discussion when council convenes a committee of the whole session on Sept. 29, though no formal action can be taken during those meetings.
In other city news, three members of council — Jenny Selin, Barry Wendell and Deputy Mayor Rachel Fetty — will form a special committee to look into inconsistencies with the trash and recycling service being provided by Republic Services, the city’s exclusive contractor.
Selin has raised the topic on a number of occasions. On Tuesday, she said things have gotten worse than they’ve ever been and urged the city to explore exercising the monetary penalties spelled out in Republic’s contract.
She said Republic is regularly telling people service will be caught up on specific days, but not showing up.
“Don’t say you’re going to come back and then not come back,” Selin said, adding “It’s gotten to be worse than it’s ever been and it’s just ridiculous … It’s to the point where they need to do their jobs, and we need to be in there somewhere because otherwise it’s not getting done.”
Lastly, council adopted ordinances approving the annexation of the Suncrest Elementary School, on Collins Ferry Road, and the former Ramada Inn property, on Scott Avenue.
Both are being annexed by petition, meaning at the request of the property owners — the board of education and Morgantown Community Resources.
A signature from the Monongalia County Commission will finalize the process.