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Nitro council accepts building inspector lawsuit settlement

By Kristin Ledford

NITRO, W.Va. -- The Nitro City Council voted Tuesday night to accept the terms to settle a lawsuit between the city and building inspector Sandra Saunders. 

Saunders filed a complaint alleging pay disparity and sexual harassment in 2011 with the West Virginia Human Rights Commission.

The council went into executive session to discuss the terms of the settlement before voting to accept them.

At the meeting, Mayor Dave Casebolt declined comment.

Later, Casebolt called the Gazette and said the pay disparity compaint was settled. He declined to comment on the status of the sexual harassment complaint.

Under a 1986 state Supreme Court ruling, government bodies in West Virginia are required to maintain a record of settlements of all lawsuits filed against them and make that record available to the public.

The council also approved the first reading of a proposed ordinance to increase sewage rates. The ordinance calls for two increases, which could take effect as early as February 2013 and February 2014.

The first increase is for 11.5 percent, which would raise the average bill by $3.91 a month. The increase would cover operating costs.

The second increase is for 7 percent, which would be an additional $2.66 on average. The second increase would pay for an $8.35 million sewer system upgrade.

Upgrades include adding service to Blakes Creek and Eastwood Acres, replacing Pump Station 6, relocating a 100-year old line that runs under Nitro High School and purchasing equipment.

The ordinance also calls for a $70 security deposit for new customers. The deposit would either be applied to the account or returned to the customer after a year.

A public hearing will be held at the next City Council meeting, on Dec. 18.

In other business, the council accepted a bid from Camel Technologies to purchase and install five security cameras at Ridenour Lake.

The cameras will cost about $9,300 and be paid for with a grant.

Police Chief Brian Oxley said officers would have remote access to the cameras, so they can watch them at the station, in their cars or even on mobile devices.

"I think this will be a big deterrent and help us solve a lot of vandalism," Oxley said.


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